Ilaria Miani worked side by side with Michael L. Cioffi during the restoration of the village of Castiglioncello del Trinoro. Much of her design inspiration came from the Val d’Orcia area’s rolling hills, dusty roads, and forests of oaks. Ilaria understood Castiglioncello’s history and its panoramic strengths. Together with Michael, she helped bring back the colors and scents of the region with landscaping expert, Enzo Margheriti. They rebuilt walls according to centuries-old practices using stones collected on site. They discovered old terraces where they created hanging gardens of rosemary and lavender.
Monteverdi Tuscany grew over time and was very much an organic undertaking. With each new project, Ilaria looked for traces of a building’s fabric. Strict avoidance of the folkloristic approach to restoration, which has turned many historic Italian villages into tourist clichés, was essential in Ilaria’s practice. For Ilaria, historic construction techniques are not only employed for maintaining authenticity, but also a part of a sympathetic method for the revival and conservation of the village. The villas and rooms at Monteverdi Tuscany retained their original layouts, and great care was exercised to ensure that function and design were combined.
Ilaria Miani studied ancient methods of construction. She consulted archives and records on customs and traditions, and the rationale behind primitive dwellings. She created spaces that intertwine elegance and functional rooms that respect each structure’s historical bones. When it came time to restoring a building, like the main hotel at Monteverdi Tuscany, the task seemed to her almost intuitive. For over 30 years, she has renovated her own houses in Italy with her husband, Giorgio Miani.
The village has thus been brought back to life, and is re-invented by its own history. Chiesa Sant’ Andrea, the 14th century church at the heart of the village, now is host to concerts and events. Borrowing inspiration from paintings by Giotto and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Ilaria chose textiles in fine linen and filled each building with natural wood beds with slender brass or metal structures that she designed. While preserving the village’s tradition of privacy, narrow windows from another era offer glimpses of the Tuscan countryside. Ilaria’s work at Castiglioncello del Trinoro is art, and is exemplary of her superior renovation techniques and vision.