Villa Lena is a unique agriturismo located in the heart of rural Tuscany combining holiday accommodation, a farm-to-table restaurant and a not-for-profit art foundation. Guests are invited to stay with Villa Lena’s creative family celebrating local Tuscan history, culture and food within an environment that offers international artists, writers, designers, filmmakers, musicians, chefs and agricultural experts space to explore and hone their respective crafts.
The estate is located in the Province of Pisa, secluded amongst 500 hectares of woodland, vineyards, olive groves and organic vegetable gardens. A 19th-century villa sits at the heart of the property, originally built for an Italian aristocratic family. It now houses the Villa Lena Foundation and artist-in-residence programme. Surrounding the villa, converted historic agricultural buildings—former farmhouses, stables and hunting lodges—house self-contained guest apartments and shared facilities.
Creativity and collaboration underscores life at Villa Lena with a programme of events ranging from artists’ talks to children’s activities; al fresco film screenings to cooking workshops and candlelit concerts to poolside DJ sets. Guests can spend their days exploring the woodlands, visiting nearby, legendary towns and cities such as Lucca, San Gimignano, Siena or Florence. They can also learn to make fresh pasta, forage for truffles, socialise over cocktails or simply relax poolside. Each evening guests and artists gather in the terrace restaurant for a communal dining experience based in a seasonal organic menu that is rooted in Italian cuisine and prepared by the visiting chef-in-residence.
Villa Lena cultivates both nature and culture, exemplifying a new way of living.
The Villa Lena property dates back to the late 19th century, when an Italian aristocratic family, Augusto and Tereza Del Frate, purchased the estate and moved from the nearby town of Palaia. A member of the Del Frate family completed the ceiling frescoes and some of the portraits in the villa are of family members.
The area of land on which the villa is situated is named San Michele, after the archangel Michael, to whom the chapel inside the villa is also devoted. The villa soon became a favoured spot for parties and meetings and a major centre for hunting on the outskirts of Palaia. The family cultivated olives, grapes and wheat on the land.
The villa experienced its heyday in the early 20th century, until the original owner died in 1931. Eventually a bank repossessed the whole property after the son of the owner fell into substantial debt. The property was then purchased by San Giorgio di Roma Bank and redeemed by Mr. Luisi a few years later. Numerous property transfers followed throughout the decades and the villa underwent extreme architectural changes and renovations.
The current owners bought the San Michele estate in 2007, in a state of extensive disrepair. Art world professional Lena Evstafieva, musician and producer Jérôme Hadey and Parisian restaurateur and nightclub owner Lionel Bensemoun combined their respective skills and knowledge to redevelop the property and found Villa Lena Agriturismo and Art Foundation. The project started with an idea to bring their experiences in music, art, entertainment, film, fashion and other creative fields together in one place and create a unique kind of Tuscan retreat.
In 2013 the property was re-opened as Villa Lena Agriturismo, with a soft opening that offered guest apartments and creative residencies to their family and circle of friends. The concept and the estate continues to develop over the seasons, creating an environment where guests and artists from different backgrounds can come together to relax, create and be inspired.
How to reach us
ADDRESS: Via comunale di Toiano, 42 56036 Palaia PI (view map)
45 km from Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport (approx 45 min by road).
63 km from Florence International Airport (approx 65min by road).