The thing that strikes one the most when arriving at the Foresteria di Borgogelsi is the other dimension one is entering. There is a gate that opens and marks the transition. And then four red brick houses from the Fifteenth century that live alongside a super-modern building containing 6 apartments and a large service room.
Our choice to build apartments in which technology and respect for the environment are combined is incredible to behold.
The typical question is: but why didn’t you just refurbish the four old red brick houses? Why did you build “something new”? It is a legitimate question. The surprise is understandable.
In my husband Enrico’s vision, which I am slowly making my own, the four beautiful red brick houses form a unit with the new part.
They date back to the Fifteenth century, when some friars lived here. Growing up, he always saw them that way, first inhabited and then permanently deprived of the company of voices and sounds.
Just think of the extraordinary stories they could tell, you might be thinking.
And I would answer that these houses really do tell extraordinary stories, every day: because we consolidated them and protected them against the rain and against time which, precise and unmerciful, does not spare people or things.
They are there, under the sun and the dew, day after day, and for hundreds of years they have never stopped talking.
We take care of them, and we love them, and they are a part of the project that we are gradually bringing to life.
It is a dialogue that they establish with the new part, which is entirely the fruit of Enrico’s vision.
Enrico immediately decided that restoring the red houses with the latest technology would not have met his – our – need to consider respect for the environment.
How do you insulate a house with walls that are metres thick? How do you heat rooms with really high ceilings without an impact on the territory and without wasting energy and resources?
Our legacy is therefore a legacy for all: we want to leave a place that has been respected, and fully experienced.
Therefore, the apartments that we have built testify that, in response to the beauty that history brings, we need to be brave and give a functional answer. Because, as Enrico always tells me, anything that is functional and respectful is also beautiful.