Casa Frattini, Italy

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Looking out onto the delightful Tuscan coast of the Argentario peninsula between Florence and Rome is this splendidly elegant seaside villa designed by the renowned architect Michele Bonan. Its style is based on the colonial villa designs of with a colonnaded façade, louvred shuttered doors, bright colours and decorated wrought iron balconies, and it also benefits from a luxurious garden sloping down to the sea, with eucalyptus, olive, cypress, lemon and palm trees. Gloria and Marcello, the Florentine owners of this impressive house, wanted to keep to a traditional island style, and the interior decoration very much follows what is established by the exterior, and all the art objects, prints, furnishings and furniture and every last small detail are all of maritime or naval subjects. In the entrance hallway there is a wrought iron framework on which to hang coats, hats and to store the collection of English-style walking canes, along with a small model of a sailing boat. Once beyond this hallway which leads into the two lounges on the ground floor, one is immediately astonished by the radiant style and refined elegance of the harmonious interiors, which are always in a colonial style and maritime themes. The two lounges are decorated with large wickerwork chests with leather clasps and handles – as used for storing tea or spices on 18th century clippers, as well as maritime prints, books and boat models. The dining room has a strikingly lavish and refined appearance. The pale blue colour of the walls recall the sea of the Antilles, the mahogany floor is also the preferred material of luxurious boats, and the large silver conch shells on the table and the silver candelabra above based on the forms of pineapples and tropical foliage all hint at ocean themes, as do the white porcelain urns, and the pale prints in white frames and the mirrors on either side of the staircase. Upstairs is the private area of the house, with three elegant bedrooms and a further lounge with a spacious terrace which offers a spectacular views of the bay and the sea. Writer Adam Butler

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