Perched atop a sunny hill just outside Camaiore in Tuscany, the Locanda al Colle guesthouse is a renovated farmhouse that now boasts 12 tastefully designed rooms and suites. But that’s not all: it also has its very own art collection. We spoke to owner Riccardo Barsottelli about the importance of sharing these pieces with his guests.
Lifestylehotels: Why did you start collecting art and sculptures, and what was your first piece?
Riccardo Barsottelli: When I bought my first apartment in London, I needed to furnish it so I started visiting the galleries in Fulham, Soho and Mayfair. My first buy was three black and white female nudes by Robert Mapplethorpe – I was very impressed by the beauty of his work.
LH: Why did you decide to share your collection with the guests at the hotel?
RB: I always wanted to have a home that was open to paying guests – a step up from a B&B but more relaxed than staying at a big hotel. So because this is a home, it had to be furnished and decorated with my own personal items.
LH: What role does the history of the region play in the growth of your collection?
RB: Having grown up in this area of Tuscany, I had been mainly exposed to classical art, and from cities around the world I filled in the modern and contemporary. I only realised the importance of this area when I saw it from abroad, and that’s what made me decide to come back and open a guesthouse here rather than somewhere else. This area is one of the major international sculpting centres, with Carrara’s marble quarries providing the raw material and Pietrasanta being home to skilled artisans.
LH: Carrara’s marble quarries providing the raw material and Pietrasanta being home to skilled artisans.
RB: One of the main features of the guesthouse is giving local artists exposure. The sculptures here are on loan from artists working in the area, offering them the opportunity to show their work in situ and outside an art gallery. It’s also a chance for people to get an idea of how something could look in their home, and that’s what inspires them to make a purchase. Furthermore, it creates a pleasant and ever-changing energy throughout the property. It’s a very different experience to visiting a gallery.
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