Nearly 40 years ago, Dede Pratesi moved into Villa Lunardi: a 17th-century stone manor north of Florence. She and her late husband, Athos, then head of his family’s fine linens firm, had fallen in love with the estate. At the time, the home was in a state of disrepair, with cracked walls, collapsing roofs, and damaged floors. But Dede saw opportunity amidst the ruins and devoted the next several years of her life to restoring the property, supervising projects such as the refurbishment of the house’s marble tiles and frescoes. “Tradition is everything to my mother,” says her son, Federico, current chair of the family company. “It would probably have been easiest to start fresh with the place, but that’s not her style.”
The elaborate frills of Dede’s draperies help to counterbalance the rustic charms of the home’s provincial architecture.
A coat of sage green paint widens and brightens a narrow walkway at the Pratesi villa.
An 18th-century Venetian chandelier graces the home’s formal parlor.
Organic elements help to create a cheery landing. The kitchen’s hearth is original and made of pietra serena, a stone frequently used in traditional Tuscan architecture.