The Torre di Belloguardo
The Count of Torre di Belloguardo
My mother, aunt, sister and I decided to sign up for an Italian cooking class in the heart of Tuscany. Upon our arrival into Firenze (Florence, Italy), we found an enchanting villa to stay for a night before heading into Tuscany the next day to acquire some Italian culinary skills. Tall cyprus trees line the entrance and guard the grand villa estate of Torre di Bellosguardo, We were greeted by a well-dressed gentlemen who registered us and gave us our room keys. I had heard that the Count of the Villa lives on the estate and imagined it would be wonderful to become the Countess of Torre di Bellosguardo. So I asked this elderly gentlemen if it was true, “does the Count live on the estate?”, and the Man said “Yes, he does”. Then I asked, “Does he have a Countess?”, and the Man said, “No he doesn’t.” So naturally I proceeded to ask, “Would it be possible to meet the Count during our stay?” The Man said, “You are meeting him now. I am the Count!” I was humiliated but felt honored to meet him.
The History of the 5-star Hotel Estate
This villa has been owned by the family of Counts Barbolani di Montauto. The estate is as ancient as Dante, but has been well-kept to live up to 5-star ratings. This estate pampered our tired bodies with luxurious accomodations and a jawdropping view from the Bellosguardo hillsides of Florence. From the hotel’s website, you can read about its’ ancient and noble history: Guido Cavalcanti Dante’s dear friend recalled in the famous verses “Guido, i’ vorrei che tu e Lapo ed io / fossimo presi per incantamento…” (Guido, I wish that you, Lapo and I/were taken by enchantment…) and also an excellent poet, had the Torre di Bellosguardo built in 1200 and a hunting lodge and family home; then, in 1500, the Marquises Roti Michelozzi wanted a larger, more noble residence and summoned artists to decorate it, including the painter Bernardino Poccetti, the artist of the frescoes in the entry hall and the sculptor Pietro Francavilla who sculpted the splendid Charity that is still at the entrance, welcoming the hotel’s guests. During the 1920s and 1930s, the Baroness Marion von Hornstein-Franchetti turned the Torre di Bellosguardo into a salon for nobles and intellectuals from all over Europe. Today, Torre di Bellosguardo is still surrounded by the silence of the garden and the hills, a haven of ancient and noble history that it shares with its guests everyday as a hotel of rare comfort and atmosphere.