Home in Italy - Luxury villas in Italy
Europe +39 075 505 78 65
UK toll free 0 808 189 0999
US and Canada toll free 1 877 293 7654

you are viewing Architecture design

The house in the rock: an interview with the architect Michel Boucquillon

posted by Home In Italy on January 26th, 2018

Born in Belgium in 1962 from a Belgian father and German mother, Michel Boucquillon graduated in architecture at Saint-Luc in Brussels in 1986. In 1988, aged 26, after two years of working experience in Florence, he won the Architectural competition of the Chamber of the European Parliament in Brussels, signing the beginning of his Architectural and design career. In ‘2000, he opened a second workshop dedicated to industrial design products and experimental architecture in Lucca – Tuscany in his home and office Alibia, where he lives with his wife Donia Maaoui and their two daughters.

Villa Alibia is an extraordinary property, a laboratory and place of experimentation. The villa, the guest house and the swimming pool are real jewels of contemporary architecture and technology immersed in the Tuscan nature. The architecture of the two properties is very bright and transparent.
This is the first house in the world with a hydraulic roof: the two wings of the roof of the villa open at a 30 ° angle like the wings of a butterfly allowing natural ventilation to cool the house and bringing to the villa a very unique magic sensation of literally sleeping under the stars.
Michel is currently working for exclusive clients and for world-known design companies such as Alessi, Artemide, Antoniolupi, Aquamass, Auerhahn, Martinelliluce, Nestle, Serralunga, Tecno, Technolux, Valli Arredobagno, Valli&Valli. He won many international awards and his design creations are exposed in many museums all over the world.
Architect Michel Boucquillon sat down for an interview and touched on an array of topics, from the start of his successful career to his future project.

When did you realize you wanted to be an architect?
All began when I was around 10 or 11 years old. I visited the farm situated close to the house where I lived and it was that bad organized that I returned home and did a little plan sketch called “the ideal farm”. I showed it to the farmer, who thought I was crazy. However, I loved it and it gave me the first sensation of being an architect. At the age of 15 I decided to study architectural drawing at the high school before graduating in Architecture in St Luc, Brussels.

Where does your passion for beauty and art comes from?
All the men of my family, both father and mother side, are Engineers. I am an hybrid: I have always loved drawing and inventing. Architecture made me discover design, and design made me discover art. My wife, Donia, is a sculptor, so we are totally in full immersion with art.

What does villa Alibia represent to you and your career?
When my wife and I decided to move to Italy, we wanted to build our “world of architecture” in one of the most beautiful places in Tuscany: Lucca. We found this extraordinary 10 hectares land in the first hill around Lucca, one of the very rare place where you can perfectly see the hole city and its walls, the middle-aged towers from 200meters high. We wanted to make an innovative but respectful architecture totally opened on the magnificent Mediterranean vegetation by sliding the big windows and opening the roof. The result is a very pleasant place where you have the impression to be outside of the real world, in total harmony with the wonderful surroundings. Who enters in the house is totally emerged in our world and our sensibility. I would say everything you see was drawn by myself, by Donia or by both. The architecture, the furniture, kitchenware, the sculptures, the limited edition furniture …

What can we expect from you in the future? Are you currently working on another magnificent project?
In the future, I will continue creating architectural project worldwide for exclusive clients and industrial design, which is my second passion. At the moment I’m constructing two private houses where the roof will open like in our house. In the design field, I’m drawing with Donia a wide collection of object for Alessi brand, called Bark. I am also drawing high quality furniture, lamps and bathroom products for other world known companies.


posted by Home In Italy on April 18th, 2017

The nuragic complex in Barumini is one of the largest and well preserved nuragic compounds, therefore it is the most important archeological site of Sardinia. Barumini is the name of the village where it is located in the central-south region of Sardinia.
Known as UNESCO World Heritage Site, “Su Nuraxi di Barumini” is the most complete nuragic site and at the same time it features an innovative and creative use of materials and techniques that were available to the prehistoric community.

The village of Barumini with its nuraghe “Su Nuraxi” shows that this territory has been inhabited since the Bronze Age (from 2300 to 700 B.C.).

The nuraghes used to serve as defensive turrets with the shape of a cone trunk, made by large dry stones, and equipped with internal rooms. The nuraghe in the village of Barumini is fenced in and surrounded by smaller towers interconnected by massive walls.

The village was composed by small circular houses, located around these main buildings. Besides, it is possible to find other spaces destined to specific domestic or ritual activities. The huts of the nuragic village date back to the VII-VI centuries B.C., when the territory was under the Punic and Roman rule.

Instead, the external wall curtain is even more ancient and implies the establishment of other populations during the Iron Age (between the ninth and the eighth century B.C.). This curtain is itself an adjustment to a front wall (i.e. a wall of first defense) incorporating the oldest part of the village which dates back to the Bronze Age, between the centuries XI and X B.C..

The peculiarity of Barumini is that you can visit not only a simple watchtower, even if particularly ancient, but you can also take a stroll through the remains of an entire village dating back to thousands of years ago.
The excavations carried out in 2015 have brought to light the foundations of one of the huts that was previously unknown along with the remains of sacrifices and rites involving the killing of animals. In particular, the bones of two small pigs were uncovered together with mussels’ valves, goats’ remains, pottery and charcoal fragments.

Barumini’s site is known throughout the world thanks to the excavations carried out in the 1950s by Giovanni Lilliu, an internationally renowned archaeologist who has discovered the nuragic site. These excavations have brought to the forefront the extraordinary nuragic civilization of the Mediterranean.

For those staying at villa Fenice in Villasimius, Barumini is 110 km far (about 1 hour 50 minutes).

You will find more information on the accommodation in Sardinia here:

Also general information here:


posted by Home In Italy on March 20th, 2017

If music is your first love and you enjoy rocking out to the sounds of musical legends and current chart favourites alike, the Lucca Summer Festival is a must visit! The mediaeval Tuscan city of Lucca comes alive during the month of July and plays host to stellar line up of international stars.
Take in the city’s array of wonderfully intact historical sites, beautiful renaissance architecture and picturesque greenery as you soak up the sounds of intimate open-air performances from the greats of the music scene.

The Lucca Summer Festival first launched in 1998 with the legend that is Bob Dylan headlining. Since then it has grown in popularity and a whole host of musical megastars have visited the city to perform on the historical stages of Piazza Napoleone, Piazza San Martino and Amphitheatre Square. Past performances from esteemed stars include David Bowie, James Brown, Elton John, Eric Clapton and Alicia Keys to name but a few.

This year, the Lucca Summer Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary and the planned line-up certainly befits that milestone. Robbie Williams, Green Day, Kasabian, Rag n’ Bone Man, Imagine Dragons, LP, Macklemore featuring Ryan Lewis and Il Volo will perform across various dates during July, wowing crowds and filling the streets with excited revellers.

Lucca is obviously extremely busy during the festival, particularly around the dates of headline performances. A great tip if you are travelling as part of a group is to use the festival organisers carpooling option – it will save time, mean that you have less hassle during busy festival days and open up your options for accommodation within areas outside of the city. Although this is a great service and used widely by festival goers, it’s important for us to advise a word of safety – always use this service as part of a group, ideally two of you should travel together at all times.

If seeking accommodation outside of the city appeals to you, there are several great villa options that would work well for groups of friends or families. Villas provide a home from home with everything you need to rest, relax and unwind. With the Summer Festival in mind, they are also a perfect base from which to visit Lucca for the day to catch your favourite performances. Some of our villa recommendations include:

Villa Alibia

This unique five star property is just a 10 minute drive from Lucca and offers a design led, contemporary retreat for a group of up to 10 people. Nestled on white marble rocks, this luxury villa offers a spectacular view of Lucca and the surrounding areas, whilst still offering a peaceful haven for complete relaxation.

Borgo Benni

Situated in a hamlet tucked away amid the gently folding hills near the town of Lucca, this villa is a grand Tuscan retreat. Originally a hunting lodge in the early 19th century, its modern restoration has accentuated its unique inner courtyards to offer an enchanted silence.
If you’re looking for a time-forgotten atmosphere then this is the perfect option for you.

Tickets for the Lucca Summer Festival are on sale now at various ticket selling websites. For more information on the Lucca Summer Festival and to purchase tickets visit www.summer-festival.com.

If you’re keen to check out more villa options within the Lucca visit: http://www.homeinitaly.com/search-results.php


posted by Home In Italy on March 10th, 2017

One of the most fascinating areas of Sicily is undoubtedly the famous Valley of the Temples, impressive testimony of the Magna Grecia in Sicily.Since 1997 the Valley of the Temples is on the list of World Heritage.
The park that welcomes it’s the largest archaeological park in the world: about 1300 hectares.
The Valley of the Temples contains ten Doric temples, shrines and three different cemeteries:
Montelusa, Moses, Pezzino, Roman necropolis and the tomb of Theron, Early Christian and Acrosoli.
They are also present in water projects like the garden of Kolymbetra and Hypogeum, fortifications and a part of a Hellenistic-Roman quarter. Among the places of meeting of ancient Greece, the Agora are lower near the temple of Olympian Zeus and the upper Agora in the museum complex. And still a Olympeion and Bouleuterion (boardroom) Roman era of Greek plan.

Temple of Concord
In the wonderful and enchanting Valley of the Temples, there where the story has remained intact and present, is the Temple of Concord.
It is a temple of the ancient Greek city of Akragas and was built in 430. C., has a square shape and covers an area of 843.38 square meters and extends for 13,481 meters high, really imposing measures which hand down the greatness of Greek civilization. The main cell was preceded by an antechamber very spartan with two columns and was followed by another hall, used as a treasurer of votive gifts and the archives of the temple.
The colonnade respects the classic models, with 6 by 13 columns, and each column is made up of 4 drums, with a bundle of 20 channels with a sharp edge.

The name of this temple was chosen by the historian Fazello who found a Latin inscription nearby dedicated to the Concordia of Agrigentini, but that has nothing to do with it. In 597 the Temple of Concord was transformed into a Christian basilica by Bishop Gregory.
Such as the Temple of Hera that of the Concordia was built on a solid base, built in order to limit the unevenness of the rocky terrain.
The excellent condition of this temple is one of the sacred buildings of the most remarkable classical. The interior and the exterior of the temple were covered with a white stucco finish highlighted by polychrome elements, the twelve arches that can be seen were dug in the cell walls and tombs carved into the floor date back to the period when the Temple was transformed in the basilica. Getting to this place is like stepping back in time, the magnificence envelops you and makes you relive the magical ancient atmosphere, makes you feel the pathos of those who in faith and admiration went to these places, once in Agrigento is impossible not to visit the Valley of the Temples and temple of Concordia.
It is highly recommended to visit the Temple of Concord and the entire Valley of the Temples to not miss one of the most beautiful places that Sicily offers.

Temple of Juno (Hera Lacinia)
On the highest point of the Valley of the Temples hill is the temple of Juno, Hera Lacinia, founded in 460 BC, a magnificent temple whose columns had a direct impact on four steps, built with twenty slots and four drums. Inside the temple are the Pronao, the cell or Naos, where the traces of the fire caused by the Carthaginians in 406 BC are still visible, and the opisthodomos.
On the sides of the compartment door were the stairs to the roof while the base with three steps on the bottom was added at a later date.
On the east side of the altar remains are preceded by a staircase of ten steps leading to the floor where they celebrated the sacrifices.

The restorations that this temple has undergone many are from the end of the eighteenth century until the last of 2000/2006. To the west of the temple is located Porta III of which today you can see very little because of the rocky ridge landslide. Originally this door was open in an oblique recess with respect to the line of fortifications and was struck by a still visible roadway. The defensive system, the late sixth century. BC, was reinforced during the fourth century. B.C. with an imposing tower of which today remains part of the collapse of the high. The attribution of this temple to Juno is due to an incorrect interpretation of a piece by a Latin author. How much beauty and charm as it encased in one of the most important temples of the story, where there were once performed sacrifices, there where men came to ask forgiveness or grace, there where time has swept away the small tracks with wind and with the rain but nothing has been against the monumentality of these ancient works.

Just few minutes from Agrigento and The Valley of the Temples is located Villa Concordia: strategically located close to Agrigento and the majestic archeological site Valley of the Temples, Concordia is an exclusive villa with private swimming pool, ideal for those seeking privacy, comfort and relaxation. This luxury villa is set in a pleasant rural area, hidden among the rocks, not too far from the beach and the city. Immersed in a luxuriant garden, the property consists of three buildings overlooking the large pool and a beautiful Jacuzzi.