Reschio, an expansive estate spanning over 3700 acres, captivates visitors with its exquisite blend of old-world charm and modern luxury. Situated in the breathtaking region of Umbria, Italy, Reschio offers a sensory experience where the weight of centuries can be felt in the solid stone ramparts, and contemporary comforts provide the utmost relaxation. At the heart of Reschio’s transformation is Benedikt Bolza, an architect and owner who has meticulously restored and reimagined the estate, creating a destination that celebrates the harmonious integration of history, design sensibilities, and sustainable practices.
Benedikt Bolza, formally known as Count Bolza due to his Austro-Hungarian lineage, grew up on the Reschio property. His parents initially purchased a small parcel of land within the larger estate in the 1980s. Year after year, they sought to expand their ownership, petitioning the family that owned the castle and the surrounding thousands of acres for additional land. Eventually, an agreement was reached, and the Bolza family found themselves as owners of thousands of acres of farmland, 50 farmhouses, a tobacco warehouse, and the majestic castle that would later become the centrepiece of the Reschio experience.
In 1999, Benedikt Bolza officially joined the Reschio endeavour, becoming the chief restorer of the villas scattered throughout the estate. Some of these villas had to be promptly sold to ensure the financial sustainability of the project. The Bolza family needed to sell an idea – a beautiful ruin that would be transformed into a comfortable and well-preserved living space. Step by step, Benedikt took on the challenge of breathing new life into the tumbledown homes. Many of these structures lacked modern amenities until the 1970s, making the restoration process a labour-intensive and meticulous undertaking.
During the restoration phase, Benedikt and his wife, Nencia, temporarily resided in the castle itself. However, the barely renovated castle was ill-equipped for modern living. While they added heating to combat the cold, they still relied on a giant fireplace to keep warm. Despite the challenges, Benedikt looks back on this period with fondness. From the castle’s vantage point, the Bolza family would watch the school bus wind its way up the hill each morning, signalling the children’s imminent arrival at the castle gate for pickup. This unique experience planted a seed in Benedikt’s mind – the idea of transforming the castle into a hotel, where others could share in the Reschio experience.
After a gestation period of approximately five years, Castello di Reschio opened its doors in the spring of 2021. The delayed opening, originally planned for 2020 but affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It allowed lavender and rosemary plantings to mature and breathe life into the landscape, enhancing the overall ambience. With only 36 rooms, the imposing structure manages to create an intimate atmosphere, ensuring that guests feel truly immersed in the Reschio experience.
Upon entering the castle, guests are greeted by a mud room that doubles as a flower-arranging station, an elegant fusion of functionality and aesthetics. The floors are adorned with delicate Queen Anne’s lace and sunflower petals, setting the tone for the attention to detail that characterises the entire estate. As guests explore the castle, they discover surprising grandeur in the architecture, such as the magnificent wrought-iron greenhouse structure enclosing a section of the castle courtyard. This ethereal space is filled with verdant palms, creating a captivating oasis within the ancient walls.
Every room in Castello di Reschio tells a story, with Benedikt Bolza infusing subtle inspirations and personal touches into each space. For instance, the “aviator” room pays homage to Benedikt’s Polish grandfather, who served as a pilot in World War I. The connection to heritage and history is woven seamlessly into the design, adding depth and character to the guest experience. The attention to detail extends beyond the rooms themselves to The Bathhouse, the castle’s transformed wine cellar and now a spa. Here, guests can indulge in unique experiences such as bathing in a tub filled with foraged flowers or lounging in a subterranean tepidarium, reminiscent of Roman saunas. The estate’s stables house Andalusian horses ready for enchanting rides, while manicured tennis courts overlook an elegant oval swimming pool, inviting guests to bask in the golden light of Reschio’s ancient landscape.
What sets Reschio apart is not only its architectural splendour and attention to detail but also its unwavering commitment to sustainability. The estate strives for self-sufficiency, growing its own produce and sourcing materials locally. The culinary experience at Reschio is a celebration of the land, with ingredients such as eggs from on-site chickens and flour made from wheat harvested on the property. The pursuit of sustainability extends even to the smallest details. When the coffee machine that met their standards for eliminating plastic could not be found, the team at Reschio collaborated with the machine’s installers to invent a sleek chrome alternative that ensures the perfect temperature for a doppio espresso, with compostable sachets of ground espresso readily available.
Reschio’s grand vision encompasses not only the restoration of historic structures but also the cultivation of a holistic experience for guests. It is a place where history, luxury, and sustainability converge to create a haven that is both timeless and enchanting. The estate has been crafted with relentless dedication to a particular vision – the harmonious integration of Reschio’s rich past with modern comforts. Count Benedikt Bolza and his family have poured their love, passion, and decades of work into every facet of Reschio, resulting in a destination that offers an authentic and unforgettable experience.
Reschio stands as a testament to the power of restoration, design sensibilities, and sustainable practices. This extraordinary estate, nestled in the picturesque Umbrian countryside, invites visitors to immerse themselves in a world where history comes alive, where old-world charm meets contemporary luxury, and where the commitment to preserving the past is seamlessly integrated with the needs and comforts of today’s discerning travellers. Reschio is a place where the past and the present coexist harmoniously, creating an enchanting destination that captures the imagination and leaves an indelible mark on those fortunate enough to experience its beauty.