Malatesta Maison is a blissfully beautiful contemporary villa rental with 6 bedrooms in midst of the rolling hills of Le Marche.
How would you describe Casale Tre Gelsi in a nutshell?
A cosy yet luxurious, family-run home away from home in Italy’s Marche region.
What is the story behind Casale Tre Gelsi, what was your inspiration to create it?
Before we started this project in Italy, we travelled a lot and always felt happiest when we found small, family-run hotels, particularly in countries like Mexico, Cambodia and Burma. It was while staying with a family on a cattle farm in Argentina and spending time with the gauchos on horseback that we thought this would be something that we would like to do. My husband is an art director and I’m in communications but we had a young son who we wanted to spend more time with.
So we thought about moving to Argentina and buying a cattle farm but it felt too far away. Then we started thinking about other countries and Italy came to mind — my husband’s family is from Italy (although he was born in Switzerland) and Italian is his second mother tongue. Originally, we began looking in northern Italy where his family is from but then someone told us about the Marche region and we loved it immediately.
Over the course of two years, we looked at around 40 houses, then ended up buying the first one we saw. It used to be part of a large winery estate but they began selling off the houses as they only needed the land. Working with a local architect and builders from the nearby village who are experts at renovating old stone buildings, we completely redid the house.
How would you describe the atmosphere and interior design of Casale Tre Gelsi?
In designing the interiors, we wanted a really cosy, relaxing atmosphere with lots of natural colours. Depending on the time of year, the surrounding fields have a very earthy colour to them and that’s what we wanted to capture in the house. The view is amazing, so there is not a lot of interior decoration to distract from it and we avoided using any bright colours. Most of the materials are natural — wood, stone and linen — so it all blends into one another.
We have tried to make things as environmentally friendly as possible, with good insulation, efficient heat pumps and water-saving bathtubs, rainwater collection, as well as no plastic where possible. It was something that was very important to us. The garden is also very natural with plants that don’t need a lot of water, such as lavender, rosemary and olive trees (we make our own olive oil).
Most of our clients are coming from cities and are stressed out from work, so they want to relax. We have invested in very good beds and lots of guests say they sleep better at Casale Tre Gelsi than they do at home. People also comment on the view and how they feel they are not part of the world anymore. We are on a little hill, so you feel quite high up as you look down the valley, with no other houses near us. Particularly at the moment when the world feels a bit hostile, Casale Tre Gelsi is an island of relaxation.