Up Close With Casa di Lusso – An Agriturismo Villa
We recently had the chance to get inside the mind of one of our villa owners, Irene Sanesi of Casa di Lusso, located just 16 miles from Florence and 19 miles from Siena. She runs this family owner agriturismo estate alongside her mother and father. She shares with us the best and toughest part of running a family business, being a young mother and her favorite, don’t miss aspects of her stunning villa nestled into the Italian countryside.
Do you enjoy working with your family?
Yes, I do but…..Family business can be challenging and a pleasure.
Would you be willing to share any fun stories of working hand in hand with other family members?
As you say, it is good but sometime it is also difficult; mixing up business and family relationships can be hard and you need a lot of patience. My father and I always “fight” concerning everything, but at the end we agree concerning everything …but we have to discuss everything!!!!
If you could take a walk around or off the property, where would you go and why?
Probably I would go to Capella di Semifonte, about 5 minutes by car from the property. It is a magical place: there is just a small chapel and vineyards all around. I think that 500 and more years ago the place was the same…the same chapel, the same panorama. It seems to be in another dimension with a sense of the divine all around you.
What is your favorite restaurant in town?
My favourite restaurant is Antica Trattoria in Colle Val d’Elsa…just WOW!!! The typical Tuscan cuisine is blended with new ideas and the service is excellent! It is not a fancy restaurant (so you can easily bring your kids) but you can feel that the owner used to work at the restaurant of the Ritz in Paris.
And what is your favorite dish they serve?
Mmmhhhh…difficult to say, probably lasagnette al sugo bianco which is green home made pasta with a delicate meat sauce (but you can ask also for the vegetarian version!)
You brought a baby girl into the world a few years ago…how much has life changed with her in your life and do you think you would want her to work as an heir to Casa di Lusso?
Well, my life has a HUGE change as every mother can very well understand. The arrival of Olimpia, the name of my little girl and the name of our new red wine dedicated to her, gave me another prospective on my life and also on my job and made it better. Now I can understand better than before the needs of a family traveling in Tuscany, especially if they don’t come from Europe. Sometime even little amenities for babies can change the quality of the holiday for a family traveling with babies or tots. I am more sensitive and this is always a plus working with the people…so Casa di Lusso has become more and more family friendly and I LOVE this!
I hope Olimpia make good choices in life; I will try to communicate her my love for my job. By the way, if she wants to work in our family business I will encourage her to do an internship in another place. This is always very useful.
What are you most proud of when you think about Casa di Lusso?
I am proud when our clients came back, when they send us Christmas cards, when they say that staying with us was the trip of their life, when they let us know about a good event in their life…I am happy that they think about us as a part of their lives.
You are a member of Le Donne Del Vino (Women of Wine) in Italy, how long have you been a member and what is the most inspirational aspect of your affiliation to this organization?
It has been almost 7 years that I am part of this organization: it is interesting to know that in Tuscany about the 60% of the wineries are run by women….I can share with other wine women producers ideas, impressions, contacts and women have always a different touch in producing wine.
As an agriturismo property, you produce Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Chianti DOCG wine, Grappa and Vin Santa dessert wine. Do you have a favorite product or a favorite vintage of any of your wines?
I am very proud of our extra virgin Olive Oil (just made!!). Every year, we are mentioned among the best Italian olive oil producers by Gambero Rosso, which is one of the most important food and wine guides in Italy. Probably my favorite product is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, so precious, such a small quantity from each plant, so full of good energy. Really, our Tuscan liquid gold, as I usually say to our guests.
Concerning the wine, every vintage is a new adventure: 2014 was a difficult year, but we realize the first vintage of OLIMPIA (Syrah, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignons aged one year in barriques) was a nice addition. My wine consultant said I was crazy trying to produce a top quality wine in this vintage …but the result was really good, couldn’t be better; it is the year my daughter was born.
Which is your favorite unit at Casa di Lusso and why?
It depends what a client is looking for …for honeymooners, I would suggest Rosmarino, small but cozy and private, with the small lovely fireplace and a stunning view on the Tuscan countryside. For guest looking for a “fancy” apartment, I would suggest Gelsomino, it is very modern and stylish. For families, I usually suggest ground floor apartments, although we can add stair gate anywhere
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you live?
Difficult…New York, London, Paris, Napa, Provence, Argentina..….there are so many beautiful places around the world. But I know that I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and I feel very lucky.
What is your favorite meal you make at Casa di Lusso in your cooking classes?
TAGLIATELLE!!!!!!! And fried zucchini flowers filled with mozzarella…and our chocolate cake…and the Arista (meat) cooked in the oven with Tuscan aromas….ok, so many I can not choose…and I am so hungry now!! Visit us and you will love it…trust me!!!