The village without a past
Francesco Luparelli e Mauro Latino
Lazzarini & Pickering
CASA DOLCE CASA
Portopiccolo, a village without a past clinging to the white cliffs of the bay of Sistiana, was built as part of a territorial redevelopment plan drawn up by architect Francesco Luparelli in collaboration with engineer Mauro Latino. The project, which involved redeveloping an Aurisina limestone and marble quarry that had been abandoned in the 1970s, took about twenty years to complete after overcoming opposition and a series of delays. In the pre-executive phase, the 35-hectare area was remodelled to reduce the slope of the high, almost vertical walls. Tunnels were dug into the rock to create an underground car park and road system to enable the village to be kept free from traffic. The housing consists of 465 residential units arranged in the form of an amphitheatre sloping down towards the sea. The buildings facing onto the harbour stand out for their red tiled roofs and the typical colours of old fishing villages, while those located higher up the hillside feature large terraces, spots of green and exposed stone. Glass and steel have been used extensively in combination with wood and local materials to create a warmer overall feel.
The Aurisina limestone and the sandstone originating from the quarry were reused to build the retaining walls, to prepare concrete and to clad the exterior facades. The tourist services offered by Portopiccolo are based on the “albergo diffuso” or “scattered hotel” model and integrate with the high-level residential housing. The Marina itself was built by digging out the old quarry yard to a depth of six metres and knocking down the wall that separated it from the sea. The result is a 30,000 square metre harbour complete with ancillary services which offers 121 berths for yachts up to 24 metres in length. The village’s exclusive, international appeal is further enhanced by the presence of Falisia Resort & Spa The Luxury Collection, a prestigious five-star hotel run by Rilke (the company responsible for promoting and marketing the village) in partnership with The Luxury Collection brand of the US group Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. The Falisia is located on the beachfront right in the centre of the village. Its 65 rooms with Habsburg-style four-poster beds were designed by Lazzarini & Pickering and are inspired by the interiors of cruise ships from the early decades of the twentieth century. Facilities available to guests include the Cliff and Slim restaurants serving gourmet and spa cuisine, the La Piazzetta lounge bar, the Business Center with meeting rooms, an infinity pool and a private beach in the exclusive Beach Club. There is also a Fitness & Wellness area featuring a gym, sauna, hammam, jacuzzi, emotional showers, ice-cold waterfalls and a relaxation area with dedicated tea corner. The intimate and sophisticated atmosphere of the venue is enhanced by the architectural plays of light, colours and materials, including the large-format porcelain tiles from the Stones&More Pietre/2 collection from Casa Dolce Casa (Florim) chosen for the floors and walls. Facilities soon to be opened at the time of writing include the Medical Spa with aesthetic medicine treatments, the 3,000 square metre sea-view Beauty SPA, and the Congress Centre with modular rooms for meetings and events. Portopiccolo is an eco-sustainable village with zero atmospheric emissions which instead uses renewable energy such as the sun and sea currents. All buildings are Class A and A+ and feature geothermal air conditioning systems.