The Journal

Recipes from Villa Lena | Sage & Butter Ravioli

Published: March 25, 2020

Our chef Enrico’s sage and butter ravioli is a firm favourite at Villa Lena. Try making it yourself for a little taste of Italy at home!

Makes 24 ravioli


For the dough:

250g 00 flour 

2 eggs 

1 yolk


For the filling:

Spinach 250g

Ricotta cheese 125g

Parmigiano Reggiano 50g

Nutmeg to taste


Black pepper


For the sauce:

Butter 40 gr 

Sage 5 leaves 


Clean the spinach leaves and put them in a large pot. Boil them on a moderate heat for 10 minutes. When cooked, place them in a colander and crush them with a spoon in order to remove the water. Put the spinach, ricotta, grated Parmesan cheese, eggs and a pinch of fine salt in a bowl. Mix everything well. 

Collect the sifted flour on a pastry board and create a well in the middle. Shell the eggs one at a time in a bowl, then pour them in the centre of the flour well and beat them with a fork very carefully. When the egg is combined, begin to incorporate the flour, starting from the centre of the well to prevent it from breaking and the eggs from spreading on the board. When all the flour has been mixed, a loose and grainy mixture will be obtained. Shape it into a compact ball, and leave it to rest for 15 minutes wrapped in clingfilm. 

Take some of the dough and roll it in a thin sheet using a rolling pin, or a pasta machine. Once the first sheet is ready, distribute the filling in small piles. Cover the sheet with a second sheet of dough, pressing all around the filling. Trim the ravioli with a cutter. 

Melt the butter in a pan with the sage leaves. Turn off as soon as the butter is melted and cover. Boil the ravioli in plenty of salted water, for a couple of minutes at the most. Drain them gently with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the saucepan with the butter and sage over a high heat, moving and turning them very gently.

Serve warm with grated parmesan cheese, and enjoy!

Creative Workshops at Villa Lena this Spring

Published: March 6, 2020

This Spring we have not one, but TWO, collaborative duos joining us as creative contributors this Spring! These artists will be living in the villa with the artists-in-residence and working in the artist studios during their stay with us in Spring. We’re very excited to welcome creative collaborations at Villa Lena so we can offer offer multifaceted creative workshops for our guests.

1st April – 1st May

Sophia Kaplan & Tara Burke 

Whether it’s picking wildflowers from the mountainside or discovering beautiful seasonal produce at market, Sophia Kaplan loves capturing little snapshots of the weird, wonderful and enduringly romantic natural world around her. Using flowers, grasses, fruit, vegetables, and custom vessels, she encourages viewers to find beauty in the details and develop a more thoughtful connection to nature. Sophia was born in Melbourne in 1987 and now lives in Sydney. She is the co-author of indoor plant books Leaf Supply and Indoor Jungle and has hosted workshops at the Sydney Opera House and Carriageworks.

Sophia will be teaching a variety of flower related workshops:
Flower Crowns
Make your own beautiful one-of-a-kind floral crown using fresh flowers and other greeneries from the surrounding nature.
Flower Pressing
Forage and preserve flora from the Villa Lena estate and take home the perfect momento of your holiday.
Flower Arranging
Forage for materials to create an arrangement that reflects your style.

Hand Building with Clay with Tara Burke
Tara Burke is a Melbourne-born ceramicist currently based in London. Working with various materials ranging from terracotta to porcelain, Tara uses hand-building techniques to create vessels with a focus on accommodating floral forms.

Learn the basic skills of hand building with clay and incorporate foraged flowers from the estate in your designs. 

Friends from their home country Australia, Tara and Sophia often collaborate on projects. Together they can help you practice your new found flower arranging knowledge in your very own ceramic vessel!

4th May – 12th June

Cecilia Charlton and Goia Mujalli 

Cecilia Charlton grew up in Corning, NY to a family of seamstresses and engineers. After working within ceramics and jewelry making, and travelling across the USA and Central America, she finally arrived at art school.  She now resides in London, where she continues her studio practice as well as curation with her curatorial collective, Pinch Project.
Goia Mujalli grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where she started studying painting at the school Parque Lage. Later she moved to London to study at the Slade School of Fine Art where she did her BFA in Painting and then her MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art.

Cecilia and Goia will be teaching two different workshops during their time at Villa Lena:

Embroidery Sewing Circle
Sewing circles have historically been places where women can share skills and ideas while creating community through conversation. In this workshop, we will use the backdrop of embroidery to provide an opportunity for participants to create a space for conversation and sharing, speaking about anything from their daily lives to larger topics that are impacting contemporary society.

Musical Chairs – Collaborative Embroidery
Gather around one large piece of fabric to create a collective embroidered piece. Every 10 minutes the fabric is rotate and participants can share and respond to each others approach to embroidery.


For the full events schedule please see our online events calendar

Time Together at Villa Lena

Published: February 4, 2020

Families are always looking for more ways to spend time together, and taking part in one of our creative workshops or learning to make your very own pasta is the perfect way to reconnect.

Join us this April half-term for some genuine family time in a beautiful setting.

There’s something for all ages – whilst the kids are making flower crowns or enjoying the daily kids club, parents can enjoy a stretch on the yoga deck and the grandparents can settle into a wine tasting.

Villa Lena is surrounded by 500 hectares of woodland, olive groves and vineyards, with dramatic views over the Tuscan hills and plenty of areas to explore together and discover what nature has to offer. And there’s always the pool to jump into at the end of a long, hot day!

Creative Workshops

This year we have an exciting, jam-packed programme of workshops to suit all ages and stages. First up, this spring we are going to be joined by Tara Burke who will be teaching pottery techniques in the ceramics studio & Sophia Kaplan who will show you how to forage Tuscan flora for pressing or to make a splendid flower crown.

Family-friendly Food Workshops 

Pizza Making: Great for pizza lovers! Get involved with rolling the dough and assembling your own crazy combination of toppings with our in-house Pizzaiolo.

Pasta Making: Get creative in our kitchen! Delicious, fresh and totally-yours homemade pasta from scratch, cooked to perfection by our chef, and share the meal together.

Forage and Cook: Join our chef-in-residence  to pick what’s best in season in our vegetable ortos, crunch on some fresh greens, cook a new recipe and then share the meal together.

Day Trips

If Villa Lena’s 500 hectare estate doesn’t satisfy your exploring needs, there is plenty to see within driving vicinity of Villa Lena! Explore bustling Florence with it’s galleries and duomo’s and piazza’s, historic Pisa (there’s so much more to it than just the leaning tower!) and the medieval hilltop towns of Volterra, San Miniato and San Gimignano.

Pool Time 

Prefer a pool day? We don’t blame you! Day trips aren’t always the easiest when there’s kids about. There is a choice of 3 pools on the Villa Lena estate:

San Michele

This  is a pool with a view! Float above the clouds in our main pool, situated at the hub of the Villa Lena estate, it boats a pool bar, terrace and kids pool. Switch between swims and sips of spritz, and maybe a snooze on the side.


San Michele Kids Pool

Just over from the San Michele pool is the paddling pool. Shallow enough for little ones to splash around in, and in close proximity to the main pool, bar and terrace, so you can always keep an eye on the kids from the deckchairs, spritz in hand of course.




The Renacchi pool is situated just down the hill from the Renacchi farmhouse apartments. It is secluded in woodland and often quieter than the pool at San Michele. There is also a mini playground for kids on the large grassy field next to it. Ideal for kids to run around!


Special Offers Fit for Families 

Early bird

Be quick to book your stay, and enjoy your early bird discount! Whether it’s for the Spring half-term or your Summer holiday, you can save 20% off on all Fattoria bookings, and 15% off all other bookings.

Tuscan Summer Family Special

If you book 7 nights in July or August you can get one of these nights for free! Perfect for your summer family getaway.



The Perfect Easter Holiday | Spring Activities at Villa Lena

Published: January 24, 2020

The Easter and Half-term holidays are on the horizon! We’ve been busy here at Villa Lena preparing a jam-packed schedule of varied activities and workshops for the whole family to enjoy…



Pasta & Pizza Workshops
Get creative in our kitchen! Create delicious, fresh and totally-yours homemade pasta from scratch, cooked to perfection by our chef, and share the meal together. Or join our in-house Pizzaiolo and get involved with rolling the dough and assembling your own crazy combination of toppings. Enjoy your creation together with a delicious salad and glass of wine. Great for pizza lovers!


Forage and cook | What’s in the garden
Pick what’s best in season in our vegetable orto, crunch on some fresh greens, cook a new recipe and share the meal together.



Nature Walk and Sunset Picnic
Join our Agricultural team on a special evening trip deep into the forests to see what wildlife live in the land surrounding Villa Lena. Hope to see some deer, wild boars and maybe even muflons during the sunset hour together with a picnic basket and a bottle of wine in a secluded setting.


Join a Guided Hike or Get Your Hands Dirty
Explore the area surrounding Villa Lena during a guided 1.5 hrs hike. Secret corners and breathtaking panoramas are waiting to be discovered. Wear appropriate attire and comfortable and closed shoes. Or if you’d prefer a more intimate experience with the surroundings, join everybody’s favourite gardener Donato in the Villa’s vegetable garden. Get to know the land, see how he cultivates our organic orto and help pick veggies for tonight’s meal!



Kids Club
Drop the children off at the daily kids club so you can make the most of your holiday. There will be supervised games, workshops and a movie screening in Fattoria’s cosy screening room.



Wine & Olive Oil Tasting Tasting
At Villa Lena we produce our own wine on site. Start your masterclass off with a tour of our vineyard and then sample both our own products, plus some from the local region, and delve into the world of organic, biodynamic and natural wines. Tuscany also produces some of the best olive oil in the world, known for its spicy and flavourful taste. Learn about the traditional and organic techniques used to harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the 2,000 olive trees on the Villa Lena estate and sample the distinctive product we create here in the olive oil tasting workshop.


Italian & Botanical Cocktail Workshops
Learn the secrets and techniques behind traditional Italian cocktails such as Spritz and Negroni, with our barman. Or experiment with the flavours of Tuscany, picked directly from our organic orto and inventively worked into your spirit of choice. 


Floral & Clay Workshops with artists-in-residence Sophia Kaplan & Tara Burke
Sophia will be running a variety of floral workshops during her time at Villa Lena, including flower arranging, flower pressing, and fresh flower crowns using foraged flora. Then learn the basic skills of hand building with clay with Tara and incorporate foraged flowers from the estate in your designs.



Open Studios & Artists Aperitivo
Pop down to the artists’ studios to see what our current group of residents have been thinking about and creating, and take the chance to enjoy an aperitivo with them in the garden of the 19th century Villa.

To see the full schedule for April see our events calendar.


Villa Lena announces pop-up shop in London

Published: November 14, 2019

Tuscany’s Villa Lena comes to London on Thursday 28th November for a 2-day pop-up at 180 The Strand featuring a product shop, aperitivos, and talk by previous artist in residence Amelia Abraham.

• What: Villa Lena pop-up shop
• When: 28th – 29th November 2019
• Where: 180 The Strand, WC2R 1EA

Villa Lena, the unique agriturismo hotel in wild Tuscany, is set bring a taste of Italy to London this November with a pop-up shop at 180 The Strand from 28th – 29th November. The 2-day pop-up will feature a product shop perfect for unique Christmas gifts, complimentary aperitivo for visitors and a talk by previous Villa Lena artist in residence, Dazed writer and author, Amelia Abraham.

Taking place in the café at 180 The Strand from 4 – 6pm, Villa Lena will invite the public to come and taste test delights including their olive oil, red wine and sparkling rosé. Visitors will also be invited to take part in a traditional Italian aperitivo, alongside canapés created by Villa Lena’s head chef including grilled polenta with courgette, tomato bruschetta and crudo ham and pecorino Toscano. In addition, on Friday 29th November at 3pm, previous Villa Lena artist in residence and Dazed Magazine’s Features Editor, Amelia Abraham, will give a talk on the importance of art residencies in fostering creativity.

Villa Lena will launch its new range of products at the event, currently available to buy exclusively from the pop-up. The new products have been created and inspired by Villa Lena’s expansive 500-hectare estate, including olive oil, two variations of red wine, candles, limited edition prints, olive picks and napkins. In addition to the home-grown products, Villa Lena is also launching an authentically Tuscan sparkling rosé in collaboration with Mazzei wines, a family run business that has been making wine in Tuscany for over 600 years.

In addition, there will be a selection of artisanal products on sale, created by past artists in residence and local Tuscan craftsmen. Villa Lena candles are created by Graziani, Tuscan wax chandlers since 1805; olive picks designed by Danish-Australian artist Emma Montague during her artist residency at Villa Lena in 2016; printed napkins by Berlin-based past resident Nadine Goepfert and a selection of limited-edition prints donated and created by past Villa Lena resident artists.


The Villa Lena pop-up will take place in the café at 180 The Strand, 2 Arundel Street, from 4 – 6pm on 28th and 29th November 2019. Admission to Amelia Abraham’s talk at 3pm on Friday 29th November will be on a first come first served basis.

New Year’s Eve at Villa Lena

Published: October 31, 2019

Villa Lena opens it’s doors for the festive season

Join us for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve and enjoy a specially curated winter extravaganza. We will be opening our doors from 27th December – 5th January to families and friends for a festive Tuscan experience for the first time!

Join a truffle hunt around the estate, tastings of Villa Lena’s own olive oil and wines, creative workshops and much much more.
Whether you want to be exploring the wild Tuscan hills in mid-winter or snuggled up by a warming fire enjoying freshly made pasta, we’ve got you covered.

It’s not all cosy fire side afternoons and long wintry walks though. Bring in the new year with our first ever NYE party, Glow Up 2020. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will host a local, seasonal Aperitivo and spectacular dinner followed by music including from guest DJ Qendresa who will take us into the New Year.

This festive season, come together at Villa Lena with family and friends, old and new, for a specially curated winter experience. As well as plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful interiors at Villa Lena, the outdoors beckons.

Enjoy a truffle hunt with our knowledgable agricultural team and their trusty dogs, or simply wander grounds and explore the rich natural beauty of Italy in winter. Have a peek at what’s on offer…

Truffle Hunting & Truffle Pasta
Spend a couple of hours scouring the Villa Lena ground for the famous tartufo bianco. This unique, seasonal experience is not to be missed on your Tuscan trip. Follow it with a pasta workshop where you will learn how to make your own and then enjoy it with freshly grated truffles that you have found that very same day, all washed down with a glass of Villa Lena sparkling rose.

Animal Watching
Join our Agricultural team on a special evening trip deep into the forests to see what wildlife live in the land surrounding Villa Lena. Hope to see some deer, wild boars and maybe even muflons during the sunset hour together with a picnic basket and a bottle of wine in a secluded setting.

Wine & Olive Oil Tasting
At Villa Lena we produce our own wine and olive oil on site. Wander our vineyard, sample our products and learn about the traditional and organic techniques we use to harvest our products. Delve into the world of organic, biodynamic and natural wines, and some of the best olive oil in the world!

Creative Workshops by artist-in-residence Charlotte Trounce
Draw inspiration from the surrounding landscape with guest artist-in-residence Charlotte in the Postcards from Villa Lena workshop,  bundle up and head outside to sketch the local flora and fauna, or get the kids involved making decorations for the New Year’s Eve party!

Villa Lena will reopen for the Christmas Holiday 27th December 2019 – 5th January 2020.
Rates for doubles at Villa Lena start from €149.

Introductory offers of a 20% reduction are currently available for New Years Eve bookings for 2019.
Please enquire with


27th December 2019– 4th January 2020

Stay – View Rooms & Apartments

Drawing as meditation

Published: October 15, 2019

Ultimately, in its purest form, drawing is a meditation. It requires your trust and the engagement of your instincts. It could be said that the moment you try to control the outcome, like anything in life, it ceases to evolve.

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October Half-Term at Villa Lena

Published: September 10, 2019

Autumn is just around the corner and the change of the season brings much to be excited about. Whilst the sun continues to shine in Tuscany throughout the season, the fall brings fresh bounty, milder temperatures and less crowds. What more could you ask for?

Read more

Foraging the Villa Garden – Greens and Joy Straight to the Table

Published: September 5, 2019

Entering the beautiful Saint Michele Terrace, I admire the view over the Tuscan countryside valleys. The Chef in Residence, Katzie Guy-Hamilton, is happily greeting me and welcoming me to the workshop. We enjoy a glass of Villa Lena sparkling before strolling to the orto gardens of the villa. Katzie gives us a tour of the vegetable garden, which is rich in colours with various types of tomatoes, zucchini flowers and watermelons ripening.

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Pop Up Experience: Bindful Movement Workshop with Eleanor Bauer This September

Published: August 29, 2019

Based on the assumption that mind and body are inseparable as long as we are alive, the word “bind” is intended to replace both “mind” and “body” and thereby refer to their mutual bond. Bindful Movement-workshop connects your mind and body and let’s you explore the bindful motion for the rest of the day. Come and join us at Villa Lena this September and tune into bindfulness with Eleanor Bauer!

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