It’s February 19, 2017 and we had just finished spending more than 8 hours removing the contents Marco and his wife (the previous owners) left behind. Standing there seeing Fonte Martino empty for the first time was like seeing a blank canvas. We began to feel overwhelming excitement of all the endless possibilities to paint a picture and capture our dream.
We officially hired an architect to begin planning the renovations. Our architect’s name is Maurizio. He is a very kind, tall, and talented man with charming curly hair! Thanks to our Piccola Scimmia Cristina, she introduced us to Maurizio in September 2016 when we first saw Fonte Martino. We have seen his impressive portfolio, which included renovated castles, museums, villas, churches, and other buildings. We were pleased that he would consider taking on our project and we had great hopes in what he could do for us. We also learned a key difference between an architect in the US versus Italy. In Italy, the architect is also the general contractor, which as we would soon learn is a nice advantage during renovations.
Maurizio promptly arrived at Fonte Martino and to our surprise he brought a geologist with him. The geologist was needed because we will be moving a lot of earth to build our guest suites, add a pool and spa, and create a luxurious apartment in the main house. Maurizio asked us to explain our vision…cautiously informing us along the way that what we ultimately see may differ from our vision. There are many rules in Italy and one of them, thankfully, is preserving the beauty of the Tuscan landscape, especially in the direct countryside visible from Montepulciano, which is where we are. You see, Fonte Martino is surrounded by the Val d’Orcia and Valdichiana UNESCO World Heritage sites and preserving the beauty of the landscape is non-negotiable.
We began to explain our grand vision for Fonte Martino. Our words started to paint a picture of a quiet haven to relax and re-energize. We envisioned four spacious and elegant guest suites with inviting interiors complete with private fireplaces and walk-in closets. Each guest suite fully opens to its own private terrace, allowing the warm Mediterranean breeze to fill the space. The main house would also have a well-appointed apartment complete with lounge, kitchenette, walk-in wardrobe, half bath, and expansive master bath. The guest suites and apartment would be carefully placed to take advantage of the panoramic views of Montepulciano and the breathtaking valley and mountains in the distance. We continued to describe our vision to Maurizio for the pool and spa area that would take advantage of these magnificent views. Next to the pool would be an outdoor lounge complete with a wood-fired pizza oven. The scent of jasmine and lavender would fill the air from the meticulously landscaped grounds, sending one into a relaxing euphoria of lazy days past.
Smack! Ok, back to reality…The geologist gathered all the information he needed and departed. We then undertook the task of going from room to room and floor to floor in the main house to discuss what we wanted for our private space. Much to our delight, Maurizio seemed to have very similar tastes to us and understood our vision of having an elegant and modern guest house that stayed true to its rustic Tuscan roots. This is Tuscany after all, so there should be a rustic element, but with all the modern comforts and conveniences. It was very important to us and Maurizio to honor the history of the house, but as Maurizio gently put it in his charming broken English – “this is 2017, not 1800 and updating the house is a must!” As we went through the house, Maurizio listened to all of our ideas, adding a few of his own along the way. The conversation flowed nicely and good ideas soon became great ideas…
After spending a few hours with Maurizio, he had most of the information needed to begin working on the plan that will be submitted to the city comune of Montepulciano for the necessary formal permissions. We were hoping to see the plan very soon and had high hopes that renovations will begin within a month or two in the main house. Fingers crossed!