Discover the Rich Heritage of Four of Our Properties...
The Lucchesi-Palli Crest Dating Back to the 1800s
Villas Antica, Paridiso, Cantina, & Valeria
When you stay at any of these four villas, you become one of the many noble visitors who frequented this property, including Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, an Italian diplomat, politician, historian, philosopher, humanist, and writer of the Renaissance period and who has been called the father of modern political science.
Meet Adinolfo Lucchesi-Palli & his Wife Elizabeth
Currently, Conte Don Adinolfo Lucchesi-Palli, his American born wife Elizabeth Gartner, and their son Enrico, reside in the main house on the property that is called Il Palazzo. Elizabeth came to Tuscany on a vacation and decided never to leave. She met Adi, fell in love, got married, and has lived here ever since.
Il Palazzo was constructed sometime in the 1400s. The exact date of construction is unknown. However, the villa was mentioned in a written document dating to around 1450. The home was owned by “Berto Berti,” an important citizen of Certaldo who made his fortune in banking in Florence. He also owned banks in Rome and was the personal banker of the Pope.
Machiavelli May Have Stayed Here
One of Berti's apprentices was “Niccolò Machiavelli” who worked for Berti in Rome. This is confirmed in historical documentation as Machiavelli sued the Berti family heirs for unpaid wages after the death of Berto Berti. Court records that were found in the home refer to the residence of Berto Berti and place him here during the 1450s. The villa may have been constructed by him, or as it is thought, by his father, which would give an approximate construction date of around the early 1400s.
Adi's Maternal Grandmother Acquries Il Palazzo
The estate was acquired by the family of Conte Don Adinolfo Lucchesi-Palli’s maternal grandmother, “Principessa Isabella Ruffo di Calabria.” Her maiden name was Isabella (Zuzza) Francesca Caterina Maria Annunciata dei Marchesi Torrigiani. “Torrigiani” is a part of the influential “Marquis Torrigiani” family of Florence. The property included the current grounds and structures, and extended to and included the hilltop town of “Vico d’Elsa.”
When Isabella's father died, his estate was passed on to his sons, which was the normal procedure during this time period to exclude all female heirs from property inheritance rights. Principessa Isabella fought a legal battle to obtain “la legittima” or her “legitimate” inheritance rights, thus obtaining the current estate, as well as other property in the 1930s. Back then the property was used as a summer residence as the family lived the remainder of the year in Austria in a 100-room estate.
The Estate Served as Nazi Headquarters
During World War II, the estate was taken over by the Nazis and used as a command center. Adi's parents heard from informants that the Germans were invading and fled the area before they arrived. During the war, his family was able to hide what were thought to be enemies of the state from the Nazis in dugouts around the property. They are still intact and you can view them on a walk around the property. At one point when Adi's mother heard the Germans were arriving she hid all of her jewelry in hollow beams in the ceiling. When she came back after the occupation, they were still where she hid them.
Adi Inherits Il Palazzo
Adinolfo inherited this property in 1972, as he was finishing his degree in architecture in Florence. The estate included the main house, stables, and a winery. He initiated the first renovation of the main villa shortly thereafter. For many years, Adi managed the vineyard and winery, along with working as a world-renowned architect in Florence. He designed the Barbarino outlets not far outside of Florence, and these have become the desired model for shopping outlets in various countries due to the beauty and elegance of his design. He has resided at “Il Palazzo” since 1976.
Take a Step Back in Time...
Creating the Four Villas
Around 2005, Elizabeth and Adi decided they wanted to renovate the property and create high-end vacation rental homes that combined the most modern conveniences with old-world architecture. As an accomplished architect, Adi worked on the design of the property and Elizabeth offered the finishing touches by decorating the villas to create a warmth and level of comfort that is unsurpassed in the area. The following villas were the result of their efforts:
They began the project by taking over a portion of the main house and creating their first villa, called Villa Antica. This two-story villa has two bedrooms upstairs, one bedroom downstairs, an eat-in kitchen, living room, dining room, and terrace that overlooks the beautiful Tuscan countryside.
Next, they began renovations on the stables to create the next villa called Villa Paradiso. It also has two floors with one bedroom downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs and offers amazing views of the Tuscan hillside landscape. In addition, it includes a large living area, kitchen and covered patio with beautiful views. It is decorated in an equestrian theme and includes its own private pool.
A few years ago, the last two villas were completed. The winery was transformed into two villas, each on one floor. The bottom floor is what remains of the winery. Villa Cantina is on the top floor and has three bedrooms, full kitchen, dining area, and outside covered patio with outside eating area.
Villa Valeria is under Villa Cantina and is also on one floor. It is almost identical to Villa Cantina but the main bedroom has two double beds to accommodate additional people. It has three bedrooms, a full kitchen, dining area, and outside covered patio with eating area.
All the villas share a common parking area and guests can use the covered gazebo that offers a comfortable seating area. In addition, guests can also relax around the main pool in front of the main house.
Sp. Elizabeth Gartner
XXVII. LUIGI ROBERTO
Sp. Stefania Ruffo di Calabria
Sp. Beatrice di Borbone Parma
1870 - 1936
Sp. Lucrezia Ruffo di S. Antimo
1840 - 1911
Sp. Maria Carolina di Borbone
Napoli 1806 - 1864
Sp. Francesca Pignatelli
Picccolomini 1784 - 1837
Elizabeth Gartner and her husband Adinolfo Lucchesi-Palli
Don Adinolfo Lucchesi-Palli and his wife Elizabeth Gartner are the current owners of Il Palazzo. He holds the title of Conte di Campofranco and descends from a long line of nobility dating back to 780 AD. His oldest brother holds the title of Principe di Campofranco. Adinolfo's son Enrico will hold the title of Principe de Campofranco on the death of his father and two uncles as he is currently the only male heir in the family.
One of Adi's most notable relatives was Conte Don Ettore Carlo Lucchesi-Palli who was married to Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Sicile, duchess de Berry, and an Italian princess of the House of Bourbon. Her parents were Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Luisa of Spain. Her first husband was Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry and the nephew of Louis XVIII of France. The fourth child from this marriage was Henri, Count of Chambord, the last serious Bourbon pretender to the crown of France. He was born three months after his father was assassinated and he and his mother were exiled to Edinburgh.
In 1831 Marie-Caroline left Edinburgh and returned to her family in Naples. From Naples, with the help of the Vicomte de Saint-Priest, she made a campaign to "restore" Henri to the throne. She also secretly married an Italian nobleman, Ettore Carlo Lucchesi-Palli, 8th Duca della Grazia (1805–1864) on December 14 of that year.
Because of her quest to seize the throne for her son, she was imprisoned by the French government but was released in 1833. Her first child, who was born in prison, died as an infant. After her release, she and her husband Ettore Carlo moved to Sicily where they had four additional children that lived to adulthood. Their son Adinolfo is a direct descendant of the current Adinolfo. Marie-Caroline and Ettore retired to Brunnsee, near Graz in Austria. Her husband died there in 1864, and she died in 1870. Brunnsee is where the remaining descendants settled.
Adinolfo, son of Marie-Caroline and Ettore, married Lucrezia Ruffo di S. Antimo. Their son, Pietro, married Princess Beatrice of Bourbon-Parma, half-sister of Empress Zita, and the last empress of Austria Hungary. Their son, Luigi Roberto, married Stefania Ruffo di Calabria. Her father was Don Umberto Ruffo di Calabria, one of the most prominent families of Italian nobility. His wife, Principessa Isabella Ruffo di Calabria, was the person who acquired the estate of Il Palazzo through a contested inheritance of her family. This property was used as a summer home as the family lived the remainder of the year in Austria.
Luigi Roberto and his wife Stefania had four sons. Adinolfo is the third son and was granted the title of Conte de Campofranco. He married an American woman Elizabeth Gartner and they and their son, Enrico, reside at Il Palazzo. As Adinolfo's oldest brothers have no male heirs, his son Enrico, will one day inherit the title of Principe de Campofrano.
Ettore Carlo Lucchesi-Palli, 8th Duca della Grazia