There is a particular resonance with certain words. Like when you rub your finger around a delicate wine glass. There is a gentle, almost imperceptible hum. The Italian word “monteverdi” is one of those words. In English it translates to “green mountain.” When you say it, you can almost see a beautiful Italian landscape.
Additionally, Monteverdi was the name of an inspired 16th century Italian artist and humanist. Claudio Monteverdi had an extraordinary talent for collecting and blending together affect and passion in his music. His L’incoronazione di Poppea: Pur ti miro is delicate and playful, but lush and deeply mystical.
When Cincinnati-based lawyer-turned-hotel maven, Michael Cioffi, fell in love with the 900-year-old village of Castiglioncello while on a birthday trip to the Italian countryside, he decided to purchase and renovate a group of properties in town. Since 2003 it has been his passion to design and construct a boutique hotel and world class performing art venue. When coming up with a name for the estate, he looked out at the quintessential Tuscan landscape— rolling fields of golden grain, poppies, cypress trees and vineyards, set against a backdrop of green mountains— and was inspired by its beauty and his love for art.
Like hearing the hum from a glass of wine, he suddenly knew this beautiful gem of land, rest and luxury would be called Monteverdi.
Today, Monteverdi Tuscany is in its tenth year, and has been ranted and raved about by publications like Conde Nast Traveller, The Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair. The property boasts 23 rooms, a full service fine dining ristorante called Oreade, a spa, cocktail bar, swimming pool and a 14th Century Romanesque Church which has seen performances by a veritable “Who’s Who” of classic Italian musicians.
When renovating the property Michael was fascinated by the small town’s history and sought to share it with the world. “I found her beauty deep, rich and a bit mystical. I wanted to connect people to this beauty and knew that preserving and restoring her would be the only way to accomplish this,” he says.
Not wanting to come in and make a ruckus of the enduring town, he had to first win over the townspeople. “Initial skepticism evolved into enthusiastic support as the residents in the village and entire region realized that I was interested in authentic and accurate restoration as opposed to commercialism,” explains Michael.
In recreating the property he had goals to make it economically viable and self-sustaining. He teamed up with the architect and designer Ilaria Miani, and together they were able to make the timelessness of Tuscany palpable and real by integrating the past and present. They chose materials that were both authentic and historic— stones and wooden beams, centuries-old door and window frames. Michael says, “The recycling of this material is not only environmentally sound; our philosophy produces a unique aesthetic that is stunning to see.”
No detail went ignored, making the final product a masterpiece to be proud of. Michael shares, “I love the fact that the entire place provides our guests with the intoxicating feeling of being immersed in a living, working, beautiful Tuscan village.”
Wanting to give back to the community that has so kindly welcomed him, and also paying homage to his love of art and the estate’s namesake, Michael created the Artists and Scholars in Residence program which hosts talented men and women from around the world to come stay and share their artistry with guests. Additionally, Monteverdi Tuscany hosts an annual concert series and an international art gallery.
“I believe and have written into the Monteverdi philosophy and mission statement that beauty is transformative. Engaging with beauty— whether it’s seeing a great work of art or hearing a great concert— enriches us as human beings,” says Michael. “These experiences remind us of humanity’s amazing potential. Great art makes us better and happier people. It elevates us above the trivialities and difficulties of everyday life, and draws us to our better angles.”
And if it’s angles we’re speaking of, we can assure you whole heartedly, every angle is a good one at Monteverdi Tuscany. So please, when you visit, order a glass of wine, rub your fingers around the rim, and enjoy the beauty and resonance of being in Italian paradise— of being in, Monteverdi.
Lindsay DeLong is the Managing Editor of The Fullest. All this Italy, wine and countryside talk has her about two seconds away from eloping with herself. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media via @lindizzaster.