La Foce – Historical & Charming Tuscan Villa

In the south-west of the Tuscan province of Siena, the Val D’Orcia—meaning the valley of Orcia—is home to some of the region’s most beautiful landscapes. From the north-east of Monte Amiata, a once volcanic cone, this wide valley is a painting composed of the simple colors of olive, clay, wheat, and the grey-blue sky that blankets the prodigious horizon.

Should one be fortunate enough to witness this landscape, there cannot be a greater place to stand than between the column of cypress trees, upon the ridge of a world famous garden where wisteria, rose, lavender, and lemon were the building blocks for the renowned landscape architect Cecil Pinsent in the 1930s. This is Villa la Foce.

La Foce, an historical Tuscan villa

Originally a tavern and hostel built in the 15th century, La Foce was purchased by Anglo-Saxon writer Iris Origo in 1927. However, the state of the land and region was virtually in ruins at that time. The villagers were poor and illiterate and the land was essentially barren, being mostly clay.

La Foce, an historical Tuscan villa

When the Origos came to this land all of that changed. Crop rotations were set up, crumbling farms were revived, schools and hospitals were built. Life was turned over like the stagnant soil that would soon be home to a bounty of olive, apricot, and fig trees, fields of wheat and corn, green pastures for sheep and other livestock, and the subsequent milk and cheese that came with that essential luxury.

La Foce, an historical Tuscan villa

While the land thrived in the 1930s, happiness was shortly lived, for war would soon ravage the Val d’Orcia. An extensive, heartbreaking account of this is within one of Iris’ most well-known books, War in Val d’Orcia.

During the years of 1943 and 1944, the villa acted as a shelter for over 20 orphaned children, while bombs destroyed the new-born land and the Nazis occupied most of the area, reaping the harvest of what was left after the destruction.

La Foce, an historical Tuscan villa

With Italy unsure of which face belonged to the enemy, the thin red line seemed to have vanished, leaving only the individual with his basic sense of survival. In her book, Iris recalls a scene that tells of this.

“I remember a British prisoner of war in the Val d’Orcia helping the peasant’s wife to draw water from the well, with a ragged, beaming small child at his heels. I remember the peasant’s wife mending his socks, knitting him a sweater, and baking her best cake for him, in tears, on the day of his departure.”

La Foce, an historical Tuscan villa

Today, La Foce is a triumph. A living mark of history, a place where the authentic and the real are united under the Tuscan sun, and the finer aspects of life like cuisine, art, and music succeed in simplifying life to a more manageable, but above all, appreciated state. To stay here is a treat, but what is even more exciting is that villa La Foce is just the beginning.

The world famous chamber music festival—Incontri in Terra di Siena—is run through La Foce during the summer. There are art exhibitions that stimulate the senses, restaurants that boast the true Tuscan taste, the wineries of Montepulciano and Montalcino, and the fashion and beauty of Florence. With authenticity and simplicity in perfect harmony, this place is the real thing.

La Foce, an historical Tuscan villa

La Foce, an historical Tuscan villa

Blog by Justin Darroch

Roxanne Genier
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Roxanne Genier

Luxury Brand Management Consultant at Roxy Genier
Roxanne or Roxy, founder of Luxe In A City, was nominated as one of the Top 5 Luxury Travel Bloggers by the readers of USA Today. Aside from overseeing this luxury travel blog, she spends her time teaching how to perfect the feeling of luxury to authentic niche brands while traveling the world with her family.
Roxanne Genier
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