Bjarne Riis and Anne Dorthe Tanderup’s former residence, Villa Pacini, has been transformed from a classic Tuscan home into an exclusive gastronomy and cycling destination.
A few kilometres from the Renaissance city walls in the northern Italian city of Lucca, Villa Pacini is situated on 2½ hectares of rolling estate surrounded by olive groves and vines. The classic Tuscany villa has stood here for generations, but now appears new and modern after a comprehensive renovation focusing on Nordic design and Italian traditions.
Classic and modern
Multiform has played a leading role in its transformation and is behind the unique kitchen where local chef Giovanni Giusti magically transforms local ingredients into Italian flavours for the house guests. You’re greeted in the kitchen by the same harmonious contrasts between classic and modern that characterise the whole house. There’s the combination of the classic Form 1, designed by Multiform founder Carsten Michelsen in 1982, and the modern Form 45 in black oxidised steel, which has won the internationally recognised Archiproducts Design Award for state-of-the-art design.
The kitchen binds the villa and the world
The villa is equipped with a large open plan Multiform kitchen on the ground floor with direct access to the garden’s large terrace and shady pergola. “Villa Pacini’s heart is this beautiful kitchen that binds the villa together with the local area and local gastronomy. This is where we transform and refine all of the delicious specialities and produce from the region and create gastronomic experiences for visiting companies or private groups so they can really taste what Lucca has to offer,” says Giovanni Giusti, who is the permanent chef and caterer for Villa Pacini. Giovanni is 55 years old and took up the culinary arts at just 17.
“The kitchen binds the villa with the local area and the local gastronomy.”
A piece of Lucca
His starting point is always to look for local ingredients for his cooking and the gastronomic experiences he wishes to offer his guests. He therefore shops as much as possible for his ingredients locally in Lucca, where he was born and raised. When cooking at Villa Pacini, he aims to give the diners “a piece of Lucca”.
Great craftsmanship in focus
You also get a dash of the Nordic kitchen in with the Italian dishes. “The kitchen is not like the classic Tuscan kitchen, but draws on Nordic design traditions with large surfaces and space. In this way, the kitchen is also an encounter between classic Tuscany and Nordic elements, which the house’s former owners represent. Good craftsmanship is also in focus, whether it’s the elements and many features of the kitchen, or my skill in creating food experiences out of the ingredients.”
Villa Pacini has 26 beds and is ideal as a base for seminars, business conferences, cycling arrangements or gastro-tourism/foodies. The villa has a meeting room, living room with fireplace and a TV room – all supplied with exclusive furniture from Nordic design brands. The villa is part of Virtu Cycling Group, which includes Bjarne Riis’ former head mechanic Christophe Desimpelaere, if you would like to cultivate your appetite and network on the routes around Lucca. Find out more at www.villapacini.it