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posts tagged ‘ luxury villas italy ’

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.

An insider travel guide: travelling with children

posted by Home In Italy on November 24th, 2017

Be it a child-friendly city or a well equipped seaside destination, Italy spoils families with its rich mix of historical sights, wide portfolio of outdoor activities and amazing natural landscapes. An insider suggestion: to get the most out of exploring as a family, do plan ahead!

Best regions for kids:

: ancient Roman ruins and world-class museums make Rome an interesting destination for older children.

Amalfi coast
: a winning choice for every age. Subterranean ruins in Naples, gladiator battlefields in Pompeii and Herculaneum, and natural jewels like volcanoes, thermal pools and coastal caves.

: beautiful seaside towns and an unembellished cuisine most kids love.

: volcano climbing for sporty teens and beachside fun for sand-loving tots, alongside ancient ruins, hilltop castles and traditional 18th-century puppet theatre to inspire and entertain all ages.

: alfresco paradise overflowing with dazzling beaches, water-sports action, horse riding and scenic hikes suitable for all ages and abilities.

Italy for Kids

Family travellers can be divided into urban and rural. Cities in Italy are second to none in extraordinary sights and experiences, and with the aid of smart-phone apps and some inventive guided tours, parents can find kid-appeal in almost every museum and monument.

Away from urban areas, families can enjoy sandcastles, sea swimming and easy beachside ambles in the coastal destinations (beach-rich Puglia, the Amalfi Coast, Sardinia and Sicily sizzle with family fun on and off the sand), while interesting farm tours and outdoor activities will make the countryside an appealing family location (Tuscany and Umbria do offer many options for travellers willing to entertain children).

Villa Ada, a child friendly luxury villa in Umbria can be booked through Home in Italy


Staying in a private countryside villa is perfect for families: think self-catering facilities, mountains of green space to play around in and stacks of outdoor activities (swimming, tennis, horse-riding and mountain biking). In southern Italy, kids enjoy accommodation in circular, whitewashed trulli and quiet and luxurious masserias.

When to Go

Travelling in Italy with children involves little extra pre-departure planning. Your most important decisions will be about which region to pick and when to visit (perhaps timing your Italian holiday with one of the country’s vibrant kid-appealing festivals such as Siena’s famous Palio carnival in Venice or Florence’s Easter-time Scoppio del Carro. Beware July and August when the country broils and gets super crowded!

It’s winter time … and time to explore Italy!

posted by Home In Italy on November 22nd, 2017

For those who do not mind low temperature, winter can be a great time to discover Italy! Fewer tourists, less crowded museums and shorter lines: during this season, opera, symphony and theaters are in full swing, meaning lots of opportunities for visitors. So take a sweater, a rain jacket, wear a scarf and a winter hat and enjoy your holiday!

Why travel to Italy in winter time?
Here are just a few of the reasons why it’s worth making a trip during the tourist low-season in Italy. First of all, it will be much less crowded at some of the most popular and historic spots than it is during summer time. Secondly, you will find good prices on airfares to almost all Italian airport.

Winter weather in Italy ranges from relatively mild along the coasts of Sardinia, Sicily and the southern mainland to very cold and snowy inland, especially in the northern mountains. Even popular tourist destinations like Venice, Florence, and the hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria can get a dusting of snow in winter.

Winter is a good time for cultural events and performances in Italy’s elegant historic theaters. Naples is one of the top cities for Christmas nativities and many people visit Rome for the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Early winter sunsets mean more time to enjoy cities after dark. Many cities light their historic monuments at night so strolling through a city after dark can be beautiful and romantic.

There’s a lot to do on a winter vacation in Italy!
When winter comes around and the crowds die down there are some truly extraordinary things you can see and do.
Spending winter in Italy may not be something you’ve previously considered, but the country is just as spectacular at this time of year as it is over summer. So, take a look at some of the wonderful events and experiences you can attend, making your winter break to Italy unforgettable.

Take a cooking class: Italy is famous for its delicious food and fine wine, and taking an authentic cooking class will open your mind and taste buds to some sensational flavours. Take a cooking class from a local chef and learn how to replicate some of the most exquisite Italian dishes at home. This is a great activity to do if the weather isn’t on your side, as you can escape the harsh weather whilst still enjoying your holiday.

Head to the theatre: purchasing a ticket for the theatre in Italy is one of the smartest moves you can make. You will not only escape the cold but will also get the opportunity to view some of the most unique shows in Europe.

Visit a winery: for the self-proclaimed wine enthusiast, visiting a winery may be the perfect winter activity. The grape harvest would have just finished but the cellars are now full of new-born bottles.

Take your time in a museum: visiting a museum can be an extraordinary experience, even more so when in a country with as much cultural heritage and history as Italy.In winter, crowds are considerably reduced making your visit peaceful and relaxed.

Italy is one place you must visit in your lifetime as it is full of rustic charm, delicious food and a fantastic atmosphere, which can be better enjoyed in the winter months. So, it is definitely time to start planning that last-minute winter break!


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