Tuscany is Excited to Reopen its Doors to Tourists Once Again
By Matt Martella
Villa Lena, Tuscany has announced that it will be re-opening to guests from 15th June 2020. The Villa Lena marks the beginning of Italy’s process towards opening up its borders to tourists in a post-pandemic world.
The Villa Lena is taking many safety precautions to protect travelers in the current climate and to set the standard for many of Italy’s other touristy sites as the country emerges from lockdown.
What is Villa Lena?
Located in the province of Pisa among the beautiful rolling hills in Tuscany, the Villa Lena is a vacation destination for travelers, an agritourism hotel, and a creative residence for artists all in one.
Built-in the 19th century by an Italian aristocratic family, the Villa Lena resides in a secluded amongst 500 hectares of woodland, vineyards, olive groves, and organic vegetable gardens.
Guests are invited to stay with Villa Lena’s creative family celebrating the local Tuscan history, culture, and food within an environment that also offers international artists of all types the space to explore and hone their respective crafts.
How Will the Villa Lena Keep Guests Safe During the Pandemic?
Starting on June 15th, many changes will be made to the Villa Lena’s accommodation options, such as the new option of long term stay at the Villa’s self-catering apartments.
Additionally, A fully flexible cancellation policy has also been introduced to allow guests the freedom to book a visit without any concern about unforeseen circumstances.
The artists’ residency program offered by the Villa will continue its operation through the rest of the year.
The artist’s workshop is free for guests at the Villa Lena, and the programs range from pottery to creative writing. The Villa also offers programs specifically for kids including pasta making.
For the 2020 re-opening, guests can look forward to ceramics workshops led by Eloise White, outdoor sketching lessons with Charlotte Trounce, and collage masterclasses with Katy Kirbach.
In coordination with health and social distancing rules, the timetable will be modified with an emphasis on outdoor experiences, and class sizes will be limited to maintain safe distances between participants.
Farm to Table
Villa Lena’s farm-to-table San Michele restaurant will operate on a limited, weekend-only service. The usual buffet breakfast will be replaced with an a la carte room service offering, takeaway picnic baskets will be available for lunch for guests to enjoy at the many scenic picnic spots within Villa Lena’s 500 hectares of grounds.
For dinner, guests can anticipate new farm-to-table dining options like Wild Dining.
Lena Evstafieva, Founder of Villa Lena, said “Being a hotel in Italy, the first Western country to issue a total lockdown, means that there really hasn’t been a playbook for us to follow over the past few months.”
“We are positive, however, that after months in lockdown there will be a hunger for being amongst nature, for open and beautiful spaces and for that joy of life that Italian sunsets and cocktail hour bring. Through making small changes to our service offering, we are excited now to be in a position where we can safely welcome back guests this year.”
What is on the line?
Currently in 2020, the entire country of Italy is in the process of lessening its lockdown and slowly opening up its borders.
The entire country of Italy has suffered huge financial losses since the lockdown was enforced on March 1oth. Tourism revenue fell 95% in March, and the national tourism is predicting a 20 billion euro ($21,680,400,000.00 USD) drop in tourist spending for this year compared with last.
Suffice to say, Italy is eagerly waiting to reignite the major money-making machine that is its tourism market.
With the Villa Lena being on of the first tourism attractions to welcome tourists in a post-outbreak world, the Villa Lena will undoubtedly have a lot of pressure on it as it attempts to set the precedent as to how to safely host tourists even with the risk of COVID-19.
In line with Villa Lena’s community ethos, 10% of all proceeds from bookings for 2020 will go towards UNICEF who are supporting vulnerable children affected by COVID-19 in Italy.
Villa Lena Foundation
The Villa Lena does more than just offer tourists an authentic and luxurious Tuscan experience, it is also a proud supporter of artists of every craft from all over the world. This is a non-profit organization that supports artists by bringing them together to collaborate and exchange ideas in the hope that it sparks creativity within the participants.
The artist residency co-exists on the Villa Lena Estate with the guest accommodation, farm-to-table restaurant, and agricultural domains. The resident artists a part of the community life as anyone else. They are welcomed to participate in the agricultural activities such as the grape harvest for wine, olive harvest for oil, truffle hunting in the autumn, and foraging in the woods for hidden delicacies.