In 1950, the Swiss family Moderspeaker discovered this corner of the island, in part a Mediterranean park and in part a vineyard, complete with a farmhouse built in the 1800s where wine was produced.
The head of the family, the Swiss Consul to Florence, a lover of the sea with a passion for sailing, had this villa built for his family, entirely in granite, like the local houses of the period, with bedrooms also for servants and another room for the seaman whose job was to navigate and store the big boat: a 66 foot sail yacht that ran cruises and races in the Mediterranean. The big bollards on the seaside served as moorings.
Though still functioning as a wine cellar and production area, the farmhouse was in part restructured and equipped as an annex for guests, mostly yacht racing and cruise companions.
The huge villa (seven bathrooms and an enormous living room with teak stairs for the upper floor) was designed by Swiss architects, with the cooperation of Italian landscapers who designed the park.
Respecting the existing farm and 16,000 square yard Mediterranean park, they designed the internal foot paths extending more than a thousand yards with four descents to the sea. For the flower essences, they chose native plants.
They focused in particular on harmony with the environment: from the sea and the road, it is almost impossible to distinguish the villa, the farmhouse, and the paths immersed in the park. They also built two slipways for service boats and they restored an existing room on the sea for the service equipment.
The Consul left us the rudder of his boat (hung in the entry lodge going back to 1960), many antique copper lamps for boats, the deck bell, and the big rudder from an 1800s sail boat that was on the entry gate (now on the porch), ably restored by his son Luigi, using the original essences and put to patient work.
In 1960, engineer Eraldo Filocca and his wife Ines came to Elba on their honeymoon and they fell in love with this island that then opened up to tourism, leaving behind a past of mines and blast
furnaces, but continued the agricultural economy. They went back to the island several times, observing with pleasure that it was not being transformed by poured cement, as occurred in other slices of paradise.
In 1983, the company Intur Srl (“Intur” stands for “Tourism Initiatives”) based in Brianza, a region of Lombardia, bought this property, which in the meantime had been transferred to other owners.
Accepting our offer, a Milanese family bought the farmhouse.
Brothers Eraldo and Mario, and engineer and architect by profession, with their staff, managed the restoration and the restructuring of the villa and the farmhouse. The park was divided into 11,000 square yards for the villa and 5,000 for the farmhouse, but no fences were erected to lay borders for the properties, so they still appear as a unit.
It became necessary to execute special and demanding works to defend the area after a mudslide caused a part of the park above the beach to slide 20 yards towards the sea. The constant winter sea storms destroyed the mole barrier which was restored with large rocks from Val di Cornia. The sea dug out caves under the lay-by and stone paths to the sea, secured by underwater castings.
It was soundproofed with lead plates, corks for the floors, and multi-layered, poly-material panels on dividing boards, noticeably lowering sound transmission.
Brothers Eraldo and Mario, also lovers of the sea and sailing enthusiasts, transposed into the construction sailing items and technologies, such as stair parapets and catwalks, with steel cables fastened with screw couplings. All items made of iron were replaced with identical copies in stainless steel, maintaining the original windows and doors and all the items characteristic of the villa and the park.
They took pains to safeguard the environment and in their selection of non-polluting systems to maintain the park’s scent intact: hot water is generated by a zero-emission, energy-saving hot air/water pump system.
To maintain the garden and avoid consuming aqueduct water, very scarce at the time, they bore a well in the rock that produces sweet non-calcareous water for the plants, bathrooms and showers.
By design and materials, the electrical system was installed using specifications, very lax at that time, that became the regulatory standard only many years later. The water system was installed by carefully insulating the hot water network. All but three bathrooms were redone to maintain the country villa look.
After a year of planning and four years of work, the residence opened in 1989. Since then, brothers Eraldo and Mario, with their families, have been managing it in alternative years. Their children participated during the construction and organisation stage and they continue to contribute with their ideas.
There are places, houses, and environments capable of etching themselves on your mind, where to go to with your thoughts when you seek a pleasurable moment of relaxation. There are houses that can create an almost magical relationship between the indoor and outdoor environment and the sea, conducive to tranquillity.
It doesn’t matter if you have lived there for a short time. This is quite likely the strength of our residence, where you can spend pleasant moments of rest to be lived in close contact with nature, rediscovering the luxury of simplicity.
Walking along the paths in the park you will encounter views of the sea that capture reflections from the water, there are glimpses that can stimulate emotion and etch the place’s intrinsic character on your mind. The emotions then build up and multiply, observing from on high and visiting the nearby historical centre of Marciana Marina, a precious jewel set among the rocks.
The great villa, with all its equipment, and the park are available, nor longer to just one family, but to all our guests for a relaxing stay in harmony with the environment.