Travel I by

Peek inside the new restaurant at creative retreat Villa Lena

As pasture becomes woodland, woodland becomes olive groves, and groves open out onto neat rows of planted vegetables, the long dirt track winds its way up the dusty hillside to Villa Lena. Perched amongst 500 hectares of Tuscan hillside, this creative residence, agriturismo, and holiday getaway has been welcoming artists and hotel guests since 2013.

Now, a new chapter has been revealed: a restaurant collaboration between Michael Sager, Joshua Fontaine and Carina Soto Velasquez. Overlooking the original 19th century Villa, restaurant San Michele draws on influences spanning the Mediterranean and beyond, with a focus on local produce and provenance. Simplicity and authenticity find their way into house-made pasta and olive oil – harvest from any of the 2,000 trees on the estate – as well as freshly-made cheeses and locally sourced wines.

Photography: Louise Long (c)

Meanwhile, design is under the personal creative eye of founder & owner Lena Evstafieva. Furnishings are sourced from local flea markets or upcycled; set alongside pieces by local artisans – such as basketry by Giotto in Scandicci, or ceramics by Matteo in Montelupo. In keeping with the Villa’s handful of spaces – from its individual hotel cottages to the central 19th Fattoria building – final flourishes are on the walls: myriad contributions of former artists-in-residents. You’ll find floral designer Kristen Usui’s ‘Il Fantasma’ in the reception of the Fattoria – a 6ft lunaria (honesty plant) ceiling installation, foraged from the hotel’s grounds.

From the kitchen to its panoramic terrace, Villa Lena continues to be a celebration of creativity and views of the Tuscan landscape.

Photography: Louise Long (c)
Photography: Louise Long (c)
Photography: Louise Long (c)

Creative retreats: 9 havens for artists, writers and musicians

Latest

Latest

Share Tweet

Privacy Preference Center

Required Cookies & Technologies

Some of the technologies we use are necessary for critical functions like security and site integrity, account authentication, security and privacy preferences, internal site usage and maintenance data, and to make the site work correctly for browsing and transactions.

gdpr, woocommerce_cart_hash, woocommerce_items_in_cart, _wp_wocommerce_session, sucuri_cloudproxy_uuid_*

Site Customisation

Cookies and similar technologies are used to improve your experience, to do things like:

- remember your login, general, and regional preferences
- personalize content, search, recommendations, and offers

Without these technologies, things like personalised recommendations, your account preferences, or localisation may not work correctly.

wp-settings-*

Personalised Advertising

These technologies are used for things like:

- personalised ads
- to limit how many times you see an ad
- to understand usage via Google Analytics
- to understand how you got to our web properties
- to ensure that we understand the audience and can provide relevant ads

We do this with social media, marketing, and analytics partners (who may have their own information they’ve collected). Saying no will not stop you from seeing our ads, but it may make them less relevant or more repetitive.

_ga, _gid, gat,_gads,_fbp