When Count and Countess Antonio Bolza bought a property in rural Umbria, Italy in 1984 they were looking for a peaceful holiday retreat, a 1,500-hectare pastoral estate of idyllic natural beauty, scattered with centuries-old abandoned farmhouses and a millennium-old castle. The family fell in love with the overgrown Reschio estate which they bought ten years later embarking on a colossal restoration endeavour with the help of Count Antonio’s son, London-trained architect, Count Benedikt Bolza. Twenty-six years later, half of the estate’s 50 derelict farmhouses have been meticulously restored into private residences, 10 of which are available to rent, while last summer saw the opening of Ristorante Alle Scuderie. Though the culmination of the decades-long project and the most ambitious chapter to date is the transformation of the ancient Castello di Reschio into a unique 36-bedroom hotel, complete with a farm-to-table restaurant and an ethereal subterranean spa, which will open its doors to the public in June 2020.
More than a commercial project, for the Bolzas, an aristocratic Austro-Hungarian family of Italian origin, the restoration of the Reschio estate was motivated by a desire to share their love for this unspoiled corner of the Italian countryside with like-minded travellers. The family’s passion and commitment is encapsulated by Count Benedikt’s decision in 1999 to move with his wife, Donna Nencia Corsini into the ancient castle. Dating back to 1050, this historical edifice may have been filled with stories of mystery and intrigue but it was also in a state disrepair with leaking roofs and crumbling plaster ceilings. Unfazed, the couple made it a home for themselves and their five children, all of which were born there, dedicating themselves to the restoration of the estate.
Working with local carpenters, stonemasons, tile makers, blacksmiths and other artisans in accordance with Umbria’s long tradition of craftsmanship, the Bolzas have been meticulously restoring the estate’s buildings ever since.
Leading the project, Count Benedikt’s architectural background and intimate knowledge of the estate allowed him to get involved with every aspect of the project, from the restoration of the crumbling structures, to interior design and landscaping, even prompting him to create his own bespoke interior line.
The interior design of both the refurbished castle and houses combines a modern sense of sophistication with historic panache and vernacular authenticity.