The History of the Estate Villa Stabbia.

In the heart of Tuscany, halfway between Florence and Pisa, just outside the famous and well-equipped spa resort of Montecatini Terme, the family run farm Villa Stabbia is located. It is situated on the fringe of the Pistoia hills, wherefrom the Villa and its 3 adjacent farmhouses have an impressive view of the valley of Valdinievole.

The actual origin of the Villa is unknown, though the estate has been built in stages. The oldest map available, dated 1784, shows a much smaller villa, the chapel and only one farmhouse. Though there are clear indications that the farm has a much older origin.

On the façade of the Villa hangs three crests. The largest of the three is split with the Medici characteristic 6 balls, supposedly pointing out a marriage between a Medici lady and another noble family. This indicates early 1500, which in addition to the design of the villa and its quadrangular building with the square pietra serena windows being in the classic style of Florentine architecture supports origin of the 1500's.

Most likely it started out as a hunting lodge, where the owners lived in the big city and only stayed for a short while in the countryside, hunting wild boar, deers, pheasants, foxes etc. For animals still be found in the grounds of the farm - please click here.

Through the centuries several additions have been made, though few official documents are available. Many signs of change are evident throughout the buildings. One thing is certain though; that the chapel was built in May 1700 and the big camphor tree in front was planted at the same time as it is stated on the façade of the chapel.

As the villa grew in size and become more important, the owners started to spend most of the summer here, enjoying the large cool rooms. There were considerably more trees in the big garden then, so they ladies and gents could always find shade wherever they went. The large and lofty rooms in the villa makes all heating impossible, and no doubt the family packed the suitcases again when autumn approached. Throughout the winter, the villa remained deserted, waiting for warmer days to reappear.

The second crest in the villa façade belongs to the Barli family, an established line already mentioned in the local history around 1500. They presided over the property for many generations, as indicated by the portraiture in the main entrance. Several Barli members have been laid to rest in the chapel of Villa Stabbia.

The last Barli heir was forced to sell the Villa Stabbia estate after dissipating the whole family fortune (partly on the gambling tables). He was rather lucky though, as a relative was searching for a country estate and hence, Alcide Nucci, a businessman from the nearby village of Pescia, bought Villa Stabbia.

Even though Alcide Nucci only owned the estate for about 30 years and mainly lived in Rome, he and his wife Mathilde left a very strong imprint on Villa Stabbia. The inside of the ancient villa was restructured to take it's current shape, whilst the estate expanded as more land was acquired in the valley. As with the Barli family; the villa's main production was of olive oil and red wine.

A small interesting story concerns the size of Alcide Nucci. He was a very tall man (and also round), however for some reason, he found the dining chairs at Villa Stabbia most uncomfortable. Might have been the lack of space for the long legs. He subsequently had all the legs of the chairs shortened. So today, the chairs around the dining table are perfect for those with long legs.

Alcide's business had several ups and downs. During one of the more difficult times his wife's sister, Caterina Bartolozzi and her husband Mario Marchi, helped him and his family back on his feet. As Alcide and his wife Mathilde didn't have any children of their own, they adopted Caterina's son, Francesco. He kept his fathers surname Marchi and gained his new mothers surname, which together became Marchi Bartolozzi.

When Alcide passed away, he left part of his fortune to the Pescia hospital, including a large wine producing farm less than 10 km away from Villa Stabbia. Alcide had throughout his life supported the hospital, and even build a new section when the hospital needed to be expanded. Today a large statue of Alcide Nucci is placed in the central area of the hospital in appreciation for his continued support. In addition he left a building in Rome to his brothers and Villa Stabbia to his nephew and adopted son, Francesco Marchi Bartolozzi.

Francesco still owns the estate, and it was with him that the third crest was added to the façade. He combined the crest from his father with the one of his adopted mother and it became the Marchi Bartolozzi crest.

Francesco Marchi Bartolozzi, lived and worked in Rome as a civil engineer and never directly managed the estate until around 1990 when the last farmers abandoned the fields.

In 1993, Francesco and his wife Raffaela decided to restore one of the three farmhouses and open an Agriturismo. The house was divided into three apartments, which were rented for the holiday season by tourists. Since they were still living in Rome, the fields were kept at minimum maintenance with reduced production of olive oil, red wine, Vin Santo and white wine in respect to earlier times.

A couple of years later, their daughter Michela Marchi Bartolozzi and her husband Malcolm Edwards managed the farm, but in 1996 they left for the UK. So after having spent most of their life in Rome, Francesco and Raffaela finally moved permanently to Villa Stabbia. They were the first owners of the farm to live in the Villa the whole year.

During the summer of 2002, Francesco's son took over the management of the estate. Mario Marchi Bartolozzi (geologist) and his wife Tine Pedersen (geophysicist) had decided for a radical change in lifestyle, after many years working as expatriates in the Oil & Gas Industry. Together they have given a strong push both to the farming activity and the Agriturismo by introducing new modern methods and unite all the estates activities.

Today the Villa Stabbia estate is a certified organic farm producing award winning extra virgin olive oil, infused olive oil and Vin Santo. With the restoration of the second farmhouse and a stable (finished in May 2006), followed by yet another apartment adjacent to the Villa (finished 2011), the Agriturismo can now offer six apartments; and there are already plans for converting the third and last farmhouse into long term rental apartments.

In addition, a riding centre has been established with stable, a dressage arena and a round-pen and eight horses now graze the fields under the olive trees, together with the first foal born here on the farm.

In August 2006, Tine's mother Jonna and brother Jan decided to move to Italy and they now have an apartment each on the farm. Hence today, there are three generations from two families living and working at Villa Stabbia, Francesco, Jonna and Jan, Mario and Tine and their son, Lau (born 1998).

Our dearest little Loke, Lau's younger brother, who was born in 2000, suddenly passed away December the 13th 2006 and was laid to rest in the family chapel. Raffaella passed away in November 2013 and joined Loke in the chapel.

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