We are pleased to announce the addition to our Italian Tribune family, Luigi Lanaro, a famed concierge from Milan, Italy, at a 5 Star hotel desk. This column will appear regularly in the Italian Tribune, as well as on our website.
Luigi Lanaro has been a Clefs d’Or Concierge Word Association member since 2013. Living in Milan, he is the life style consultant and referent for the trends and life in Italy. He writes for Milan Concierge Information and In Arte Periodico di Arte e Cultura. Educated at the Hotel College and Art College, he is passionate about cooking, art and tourism.
exploring punta ala
If you require any information regarding Italian food, wine, art, fashion or events, talk to me. Do not forget that Italy has many attractions to share with visitors, whether you are traveling alone, with family or with friends. The entire country is now ready to welcome back guests from the United States and I will offer suggestions regarding the many attractions to discover.
This week we visit Punta Ala, a magnificent territory in the Tuscan Province of Grosseto, located on a promontory on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Italo Balbo, a famous military aviator of the First World War, bought fortifications and villas in the area and gave the name Punta Ala to the whole expanse. He took his cue from its shape and an aeronautical term which means the ‘point of the wing.’
Over the decades, the territory, thanks to investments by well-known entrepreneurs in Italy, especially during the 1970s, has become a very chic and elegant destination. The site of luxury hotels and resorts, it had a tourist port for lovers of the sea and the nautically inclined.
It became very famous for the regattas organized by the Punta Ala Yacht Club, famous for the Luna Rossa, a yacht that participated in the America’s Cup regattas since 2000 and four editions of the Louis Vuitton Cup. It is home to one of the largest golf courses in the province, the Punta Ala Golf Club, founded in 1964 and there are many trails and areas devoted to equestrian pursuits.
An elite tourist destination during the summer, it is particularly admired for its pristine waters, pine woods and lush greenery that Tuscany is known for. With golf, beaches, luxury hotels, as well as its port for well-heeled yacht owners, it offers every amenity imaginable.
Some of the sites to see are the Chapel of Sant Antonio which dates to 1707 and the modern Church of the Lady, an important project of 1961, built with wood and copper. Some of the notable places include the residential complex called Alleluja, the Cala del Pozzo residential complex on the seafront and the elegant Baglioni Resort overlooking the sea.
The Gualdo shopping center was designed by a well-known contemporary architect and you will find fascinating castles, farmhouses and villas in the pine forests.
Villa Allemandi, built between 1959 and 1961, a project by Franco Albini and Franca Helg, is located in the Pozzino district, while Villa Piccioli, dating back to 1961, a project by Walter Di Salvo, is located in an isolated area overlooking the sea called Poggio Rio Palm. Villa Marzocchi, an elegant wooden structure with glass walls overlooking the sea in the Poggio del Barbiere district, was built in 1962 by the architect Di Salvo, inspired by the works of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Villa Nanni, built in the Scoglietto district, is another project by Di Salvo. In 1963, he was set on entirely circular shapes. Villa Alilot, once known as Villa Martinelli, was built in 1963 to a design by Valdemaro Barbetta and Bruno Martini in the Pozzino district and modernized in 2004. There is also a fan-shaped villa built in 1964 in the Poggettone district, which unfolds on different floors that follow the slope of the land. Villa Lorenzini, a house built on the ridge of the promontory that descends from Punta Ala towards Rocchette, was built in 1965, a project by Alfonso Stocchetti
Villa Di Salvo, the architect’s personal villa, was built in 1976 in the Scoglietto district, which explicitly recalls Richard Neutra, inspired by Alvar Aalto for the interior furnishings, which, together with the partitions, are built using white glazed brick.
Villa Rusconi-Quiriconi, built between 1977 and 1980 by Di Salvo in the Poggettone district, overlooks the sea, which develops along the large staircase that connects the two floors of the building.
While presenting itself as a modern, functional and an exclusive seaside resort, Punta Ala originally was the border between the Principality of Piombino to the north and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany to the south. The fear of pirate invasions meant that numerous fortifications were erected to defend this coastal stretch. The remains to be seen include the Hidalgo Tower, which dominates the modern town and was built during the 16th century to defend the southern end of the Principality of Piombino.
The Castle of Punta Ala, also from the 16th century, was built by the Medici on the promontory to the southeast of the town to control the coastal stretch north of Castiglione della Pescaia.
The Torre degli Appiani was built by the Appiani princes of Piombino on the Islet of the Sparrowhawk, to strengthen the defensive system of their principality. Today it stands abandoned in front of the current town.