A renovated Umbrian farmhouse
Maria Giulia Zunino
« The teachings of St. Francis » might be a good slogan for La Dimora di Francesco, a B&B that was recently opened just outside the central Italian town of Assisi.
Assisi is famous for St. Francis – or San Francesco in Italian – one of the world’s best-known saints, revered not just by Catholics or those who want to grow closer to God by following a spartan lifestyle, but also by art lovers who are fascinated by the story of the saint and his constant references to the harmony of creation. Just think of the Canticle of the Creatures, his sermon to the birds and meeting with the wolf, which were all painted by Cimabue and even more famously by Giotto.
It was St. Francis who taught the people in the Umbria region to respect rather than violate nature. In keeping with this tradition, they now promote the typical characteristics of their region – from food to vegetation, art and architecture – to the many Italian and foreign tourists who are no longer content to visit Italy’s most famous locations but prefer to discover places off the beaten track and create their own personal itineraries.
But Francesco is also the name of the grandfather of the B&B’s owner, who decided to open La Dimora di Francesco as a way of thanking him for having skilfully rebuilt this eighteenth century house with its sober lines and harmonious proportions.
The various elements – the facing bricks which create a kind of pattern on the walls, the arrangement of the windows with their wooden shutters, the ground-floor fenestration with wrought iron gratings, the narrow external staircase which separates the upper-floor rooms from those on the ground floor, the play of heights of the various volumes, the sections of roof of different sizes and slopes coordinated by the constant presence of roof tiles – all contribute to the compositional dignity of the building, which despite its simplicity was designed with great care both during initial construction and during the renovation project.
The same attention to detail can be seen inside. Each room has its own personality created through the sparse furnishings and ornaments (such as the famous majolica plates from Deruta which enjoy pride of place in the common area), the colours of the walls and the lighting.
Spatial continuity is achieved by the floor covering, which was chosen not just for its aesthetics (it is inspired by wood, a living, timeless material that plays a vital role in domestic and agricultural architecture) and functionality (it is tough and durable, easy to maintain and water-repellent), but also for its sustainability (made from natural raw materials) and health benefits.
The floor tiles consist of Reisa wood-effect porcelain planks from Panaria Ceramica’s North Cape collection, chosen in a 20×90.5 cm size and 10 mm thickness. They are also part of the Protect antibacterial line, the range of exclusive products with a silver-based antibacterial shield developed in collaboration with world-leading specialists Microban® International and integrated during firing to achieve almost complete long-term elimination of bacteria from the surface.
This innovative technology has further contributed to the success of Panaria Group. Originally set up in 1974 as a family-run company in the Sassuolo ceramic area, it expanded over the years to become a major international group driven by its leaders’ entrepreneurial vision and the ability to combine quality of raw materials and the production process with research and cutting-edge technology. The Group was listed on the Milan stock market in 2004.
Panaria Ceramica, North Cape collection
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05 %
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): ULA-UHA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 145 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R 9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant