“The only true voyage of discovery would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes.” (Marcel Proust)
Beyond hills that lean on one another at the horizon, sleepy national roads, harmonic rows of vines and iridescent olive trees, home vegetable-gardens and fallow fields. Beyond woods bordering between the slopes, where nature got the better of it, beyond friendly squares in tiny villages, and millenarian strongholds hanging on the highest rises, Renate often waits under the pergola for a Japanese musician, a Polish chef, or a London family to arrive. Rakish haircut, sapphire eyes, translucent complexion, Nordic stature. She takes care of Villa Tereze with the motherly dedication one saves for one’s own house – definitely classical at times, and necessarily modern at other times – which results in the point of contact between our lives and our mothers’. Hence, in the morning there will be pieces of pottery by a famous maker, Latvian linen tablecloths, the latest issue of a travel magazine, no rush, bells ringing, and a basket full of preserves, wood-baked bread, organic yogurt, and the delicacies of the confectioner’s Lella from San Lorenzo. Since she was a girl, at night Lella has been kneading dough and baking homemade cakes, huge croissants called paste, snack-sized pizzas and rustici, following secret recipes, while during the day she sells them to her fellow villagers, whose tastes and habits she knows by heart. She is always impeccable in her white and pink apron that matches the furniture. At Villa Tereze, each story leads to another. Tereze is the name of the property owner, who came to Italy from Colorado with her husband in order to buy a farm in Tuscany, and went back with the pictures of a Marche farmhouse set in a rougher and more authentic land, all to be revealed. Then, the fate of the Villa got tangled with Renate’s, who moved to San Lorenzo in Campo from Latvia for love. The Villa that housed for centuries the rituals of a modest rural life today displays the value of a cosmopolitan dwelling where Colorado, Northern Europe and smaller Italy cohabit. The main building is a holiday house, and the annex an artist retreat where chefs, musicians and designers are invited in turn, to follow an idea, a trend, or a dream. Any day, any time, Renate will guide you up and down that genuine rural landscape that has become her ‘home’, too. She will take you to enjoy a village festival, or to look for truffles with Alessandro. He, in turn, will lead you to the woods with his trustworthies Frida and Viola and will cook tagliatelle and omelettes with the precious harvest of the day. She will take you to Valentino’s shop, where you can buy your season’s favourites (fruit and red fruits, piadine sfogliate, homemade cheese and the products of the in-house farm). You will walk together – and have dinner in summer – among the rows of vines in Terracruda, a visionary winery in Fratterosa. There, you will taste DOC and IGT wines of the Marche from autochthonous vines only – sometimes ancient kinds of grapes – in front of a glass wall that displays the country. If every house is somehow a love declaration, Villa Tereze is a generous and experimental one. A house that nourishes and complies with all your senses. A house to go back to.
Words and pictures Laura Taccari. Translation Alessia Andriolo