Bella Vista Villa

Italian Riviera


Our clients, who worked in finance and had lived in Tokyo and London, discovered the Gulf of La Spezia—made famous by the English Romantic poets as the Gulf of Poets—during vacation. They came upon an old house, clinging to the terraces of a hillside olive grove.


The structure had the patina of history to it—meaning it was both charming and not in any condition to live in. We wanted to respect its history and authentic local source material (the world-renown Carrara marble quarries are nearby) while modernizing and expanding it into something that could host a modern family with partners whose careers are global in nature. Seeking to take advantage of the stunning views of not only the Mediterranean but the province of La Spezia across the bay, our clients expressed a desire for a home that embraced an openness that would make the spectacular setting a crucial element in their daily lives (while also introducing an exterior kitchen and swimming pool).


We not only had to achieve an elegant architectural solution but had to do the more mundane structural reinforcement necessary to save a historic structure and meet modern building codes (including earthquake resistance). Solutions included raising the existing building and creating space for bedrooms on the new first floor and extending a substantial pergola to encompass a shared exterior area. Local stone and plaster traditions were used to match the setting and historic elements, while a sleek infinity pool weaves the illusion that this artificial body of water is an extension of the Gulf of Poets that expands below. Whitened wooden beams, customized arched windows that filled existing porticoes, and a garden intrinsically interwoven into the whole create visual echoes of the property’s historic agricultural roots in a home smooth in its modernity.

More about the solution

Inspiration Knowledge

Durable material for coastal homes

Infinity Pool Design potentials

“Architecture is really about well-being. I think that people want to feel good in a space … On the one hand its about shelter, but its also about pleasure.”

— Zaha Hadid

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Architectural Philosophy

The holiday villa located in Lerici in the Parco di Montemarcello Magra area has been renovated and partly rebuilt on the old site. Redesigning the existing arched openings facing the sea and emphasizing the combination of the typical stone of the place and the plaster.

The project wanted to organize the internal spaces on the ground floor by strongly linking them to the external spaces, so that they constitute the extension and functional completion.

The living area and the outdoor viewpoint, designed to host moments of conviviality and relaxation of the occupants, enjoy a unique view of Golfo dei Poeti. The arched windows obtained from the openings of the old portico merge the interior and exterior space in a unique element which is connected through the walkways and terraces to the garden, to the pool area and olive grove.

The internal connection between the different floors is made by a light staircase that balances the “formal cleanliness” of the steel and glass with the wooden cladding of the treads and the stone walls. All this is underlined by the natural light coming from the skyight.

The sleeping area is divided in two levels, one of which is the attic with whitened wooden beams, designed to accommodate family and friends. The rooms in this case take the private dimension, in contrast to the spaces of conviviality on the ground floor, the rooms are characterized by “warm and cosy”.

The external terraces, typical of the area, occupied for the most part by olive trees and rich in vegetation, are a natural setting that enhances the profile of the building and the swimming pool area. The pool has been renovated using the same material as the external flooring, a high-quality ceramic with light tones very similar to those of the local stone and distinguished by high quality finishes and details.