Vocabolo Moscatelli, a restoration journey of soulful proportions, is sheltered inside a 12th-century monastery-turned design hotel. Here’s why the hotel is a tribute to consecrated heritage and contemporary Italian design…
Vocabolo Moscatelli – a member of The Aficonados and Design Hotels – is found in a land of rich Umbrian history and rural tradition. The hotel is settled in an unassuming location for a luxury hotel – nestled in between ancient oak forests, gnarled vineyards and Mediterranean landscape. But what sets the 12-key boutique hotel aside from other luxury hotels is its design and architecture narrative. Vocabolo Moscatelli is, put simply, a monastic reclamation of style.
With sensory solace, the hotel’s evocative surrounds resonate with sun-warmed lavender, pine and rosemary, colliding with the grace and sacral beauty of the chunky, 800 year-old monastery walls. Many of its original features remain, such as the flagship bell tower that still stands, whose peal once rang out to announce prayer across the nearby hamlet of Calzolaro.
The greenery enclosed, reclaimed-by-nature monastery was discovered by Frederik Kubierschky, a chief concierge from Switzerland who was looking for a patch of his own and a heartfelt project. This unspoilt corner of wild Umbria called to him alongside the enchanting monastery and with his partner, Catharina Lütjens, their restoration story began.
Employing the modern eye of architect Jacopo Venerosi Pesciolini of studio Archiloop in Florence was the first step. He allowed the authentic gravitas of the stone-clad monastery patina to be woven with a multifaceted design manifesto, which keeps original floors wooden, terracotta brick work exposed, ceilings beamed and natural materials in their element: brass, iron and stone.
On top of this is a steadfast respect for local craft and the part they play in Umbrian design – Vocabolo Moscatelli brings together the authentic traditions of the stone mason, blacksmith and wood worker with the skills and talents of the Italian artisan makers: ceramicists, tile makers and painters creating a style canvas that plays homage to the past while bringing in the design references of the now.
It feels liveable – a travertine swimming pool colour matched with the surrounding forests and the brass and terracotla bar in particular. and everywhere enhanced by Italian design credentials, following in the great design traditions of Italy.
Glazed terracotta tiles by Cotto Etrusco swathe bathrooms, fusing modern design with ancient ceramic heritage using clay from Etruscan pits. Other Italian icons include outdoor furniture by Paola Lenti known for its bold use of colour paired with traditional weaving lechniques and the modern hand of Flos for lighting.
David Groppi lends some stylish pools of light with his unique table lamps. Outside, Mediterranean garden landscape designer Fobiano Crocioni artfully tames the tendrils including adding patches of wild lavender, helds of swaying alliums, olive trees in vast terracotta pots and pebbled pathways which allow the guests to wander and explore. The spacious suites have a distinct design presence, based on a fusion of Italian heritage, mid-century furnishings and commissioned artwork.
Creating a remarkable sense of exclusivity for luxury travellers, Vocabolo Moscatellis is a soulful tapestry, threaded together with ease, a smooth template of rustic simplicity and, most importantly, heart.
> Since you’re here, why not read about SALT of Palmer, another Design Hotels member?
Main image credit: Vocabolo Moscatelli, a member of The Aficionados