My name is: Luca Calvani.
I’m known for being: An actor, director and entrepreneur, but still get remembered as the guy who waved a pair of jeweled panties in front of Sarah Jessica Parker 20 years ago and told her, “You are wearing this!”
I'm talking about: Le Gusciane, lovely Tuscan retreat.
You can find it in: Tuscany, nestled in the hills between the town of Lucca and the coast.
Before I launched this space, I was in: A bit of everywhere—NYC, LA, Rome, London, then Florence, but I always felt transient. Now, I feel like I found my place.
What inspired me to create it was: A series of fortunate events. I had launched a fragrance brand, Inspiritu, and Guy Ritchie, whom I had worked with on the movie, Man from UNCLE, asked me to go work with him on some of his creative projects. Guy’s creativity spans from interiors to branding and design and I really liked the vibe of what he was doing. It was a celebration of excellence and heritage, whether he was developing his beer brand or creating a new type of cast iron stove. I loved that warm, old century feeling. I wanted to recreate that back home.
The idea behind the design/vibe is: Well, I didn’t know it until we found the house. Alessandro (my partner) and I were looking for a house in the country to create a bed and breakfast type of place. When we found this tiny estate, my gut immediately brought me back to those evening in the Cotswolds and I thought we really had something—a place that could be a summer house and a cosy cottage in the winter.
Built in 1840 on the the old pilgrim road Via Francigena, the house was then restored and enlarged in 1906. That gave me the idea of making it a bit English. You see, at the turn of the last century with the grand tour and all, Brits and Americans bought a lot properties in Italy and especially in the Tuscan countryside, so that seemed like a great starting point for inspiration. But how would an English family’s summer house in Tuscany have been? In my mind, it would be the perfect fusion of Italian and English style, probably not too fancy cause it was a second home and it would have been fun, so I really wanted incorporate a little bit of camp.
What makes it special is. The attention to detail, I think. As a director, I have a very visual way I look at a room, so it needs to feel organic and warm. I also think of rooms as containers for life, for moments, of family, of loneliness, of conviviality, and, with that in mind, I layer the colors, the materials. Nothing looks too made up or fancy, but everything is unique and chosen for that place.
One thing you can’t miss is: After having breakfast in our greenhouse, you must take a walk in the woods, past our beehives. The path takes you to the top of the hill where, as you walk on the ridge, you can see both the sea and the Apuan Alps.
My favorite secret detail is: The beds—with a soft and luxurious (luxury brand ViSpring) mattress paired with Italian linens. I’ve always had a thing for sheets. And the fragrance that we designed for our body care line, Apuania, is made with aromatic herbs, lavender and pine. It really gives you that feeling of walking in the woods.
For me, what it means to hold space is: Holding space is about presence, being there in the moment, whether it is for the person we are sharing an experience with or for ourselves. No matter what the situation is, I feel that I can reconcile the moment with my heart, then I’m one step closer to peace. So holding space for the heart that feels it, whether it’s pain, fear, loss or even joy.
Our spaces are so important, especially in this time, because: When the pandemic hit, after the avalanche of information became white noise, we discovered that underneath it all was there was a silence, a peaceful place that was comforting.
This space can help you live your process because: Any creative process that forces us to dig deep and express our vision into the world and manifest our ideas into our reality is a virtuous process. I love it when our guests come and experience that vision.
At Le Gusciane, we offer a curated sensorial experience. We supply props and scenery—the food, the drinks (we make an aromatic gin as well), the scents. But the rest is from our guests. They bring their life, their own journey into our rooms, and that creates magic. It’s a symphony, a co-creation at its best.