A village rich in history
The name of the village originates with the Roman legionary Bato. Most of the 17 buildings in the village date back to the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. After centuries of agriculture and viticulture, the ensemble of buildings has remained uninhabited since the 1960s. A few years later, a couple of collectors from Viareggio discovered it during an excursion and immediately fell in love with it. Little by little, they carefully restored it, with the idea of turning it into an extended family residence.
The jewel of the village is 'Villa Barsotti', a typical Lucchese villa dating back to the 16th century. The ancient residence has been restored with great care and sensitivity and is enriched with valuable regional antiques. A park-like garden with citrus trees, camellias, roses and olive trees surrounds the villa. From the swimming pool one has a splendid view of the Tuscan mountains and the neighbouring villages. The villa with garden will become a stage, reception, common area, dining room - thus the heart of the village.
How should one imagine the use? Borgo Batone is conceived as a kind of albergo diffuso. One buys shares in the village and, depending on the amount of these shares, so-called credits. These credits can be used for a longer or shorter stay in Borgo Batone. Depending on the number of people travelling with you and your mood, you can stay in a suite, a secluded chapel or a shared hotel room. No matter where, you can be sure to find an enchanting atmosphere everywhere!
Can unused nights be given to friends or relatives? Yes, it is absolutely possible! They are either given away, exchanged or sold.
How much community and privacy will there be in the Borgo? We envisage a healthy mix of retreat and community, of tranquillity and liveliness, of tête-à-tête and conviviality. The central meeting place will be Villa Barsotti with its Fratino Table, a long table where people eat and celebrate together. Our ideal scenario: people are happy to meet, sit together at the Tavolo Fratino or do yoga by the pool. But you can also enjoy peace and quiet on your veranda. Even during the preparation phase everyone can participate, but no one is obliged to do so.
How big is the plot and how much space is usable? The property measures 25 hectares of land, consisting of vineyards, olive groves, woods, meadows, farmland, a mineral water spring and 17 buildings with a total area of 3600 sqm. The centrepiece is the 16th century Villa Barsotti, lovingly restored and furnished true to the original.
Is the village completely empty? Yes, the village is currently completely empty. Villa Barsotti and Casa Gabriello have been rented so far.
Who were the previous owners of the village? The village was in the hands of Mrs Ricci and Mr Gattai, a couple of art collectors from Viareggio. The couple gradually bought the individual buildings with the original aim of completely restoring them to their original state and using them as family residences.
Who currently owns the village? On the 13th of December 2022, we bought the village from signora Ricci and signor Gattai and are now the proud owners of Borgo Batone. We are a community of shareholders from various cities and regions in Germany and Europe. Some are also from Italy. We hope to win even more of them from now on :-)!
How long will the renovation take? We will restore the village piece by piece. This means that the loveliest months of the year can be spent undisturbed on holiday and in the winter months construction will take place. Consequently, the completion of all the work will take a long time. We currently anticipate that it will take five to eight years.
Will some people live in the Borgo all year round? The idea is for people who have a 'role in the village' to live there (cook, gardener, caretaker, winegrower, administrator...).
Is it possible to reach the Borgo by public transport? Yes, from Bologna for example there is a perfect train connection with a change in Florence. From Lucca a bus takes you almost to the gates of the Borgo. Or you can have a motorised guest pick you up. In the future, this role should also be taken over by the on-site administrator.
In what legal framework does the Borgo fit? In December 2021 the Borgo Batone S.R.L. was founded, company through which the project account is also managed. The managing director of this limited liability company is Massimo Fiorito. In future, Borgo Batone will be run as a cooperative, or more precisely, slip under the legal mantle of Vielleben eG.
How much does a share cost and how many shares are required to participate? One share is worth 10,000 euros. The ideal number of shares with which to participate is 10. However, it is possible to participate with a minimum of 5 shares.
How much time can you spend in the village?The amount of time one can spend at Borgo Batone depends on the number of credits (which we call 'Batonis') one obtains by purchasing shares. The cost in credits of each room or flat varies depending on the time of year, the quality of the flat and the number of people that can be accommodated. With the same number of credits you can therefore spend a longer or shorter period at BB, depending on when and where you book.
Are overnight stays completely free? No, because obviously the village must also be maintained. For each reservation there is a flat-rate management fee (10-20 euro per night and room per person). However, the aim is to cover these costs in the future by renting out to external guests.
Does one become the owner of a particular unit in the village? No, but you become the owner of a part of an entire village ;-). For a small investment (compared to an independent holiday property), you become a co-owner for life and beyond. Because shares can also be inherited.
Are there differences between members with different amounts of shares? No, there are not. Everyone has the same opportunity to express themselves and participate, regardless of whether you have 5 or 50 shares.
How are decisions made? For decisions affecting the community, we seek consensus. If this is not possible, the decision taken by the majority applies.
How big is the right of co-determination in design issues? The BB team provides proposals to the community. So the final decision lies with the community itself. But it is important to us that nobody feels forced to express their opinion.
Is Borgo Batone a German enclave in Tuscany? Although the majority of members currently come from Germany, that is not our goal. We already have people on board from France, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Afghanistan and Romania. Our wish is to win even more Italians for the project.
What do the neighbourhood and the municipality of Pescaglia think of the project? Since we presented our project in March 2022, we know that the neighbours are very enthusiastic about the rebirth of Borgo Batone. The project has been very well received. The mayor and the municipality also fully support the project.
Are there financing programmes for renovation/repair? Yes, there are. As part of the current feasibility study we are looking at various programmes.
Is Borgo Batone a real estate investment? Yes and no ;-)! We are convinced that the design of the Albergo Diffuso will create an added value that can also be quantified in euros in the future. In five or ten years time the shares will certainly have a higher value than at present and can be sold accordingly. At least as important: the added value we see in creating a healthy community and a sustainable place.
What is the condition of the buildings? The state of preservation varies greatly from building to building: from critical to excellent. Villa Barsotti with its 456 square metres is perfectly restored and furnished, 2 other houses are in great condition and ready for occupation. As far as we can judge at this moment, none of the buildings are so dilapidated that they cannot be restored.
Who is the BB team? Behind the project is the architectural firm agmm Architekten + Stadtplaner, which specialises in village planning and community projects, and an interdisciplinary team consisting of a historian, two artists, an entrepreneur and an IT specialist. They are Patric F.C. Meier (architect), Katrin Frische (historian), Narcisa Fluturel (artist), Massimo Fiorito (photographer), Nina Nisar (moderator and host), Mahmood Nisar (entrepreneur), Oliver Fuhrmann (IT engineer) and Ilaria Manetta (architect).
What is the role of the initiators? We see ourselves as facilitators. And because we have fallen in love with the place, we are also involved as partners. In this respect we wear different hats: some as visionaries and promoters, others as service providers and all of us as users of Borgo Batone.
Are dogs allowed in the village? Yes, they are :-)
What has happened so far
In June 2021, we discovered Borgo Batone and immediately fell in love with this enchanting place. This led to the idea of collectively revitalising the abandoned Tuscan village in the form of an Albergo Diffuso. By the end of 2021, we managed to get enough people excited about Borgo Batone that we were able to make the first down payment on the village. We then founded the Borgo Batone SRL (the Italian equivalent of a German GmbH).
In March 2022, we presented the project to the community and neighbours who enthusiastically encouraged us - a good feeling and the best prerequisite for the success of our project!
The first 'Make-up Camp' took place in June 2022, during which the number of beds increased from 16 to 33 thanks to the commitment of the shareholders.
On the 13th December 2022 we bought the village with the financial means and the power of the community. We are now the proud owners of Borgo Batone and a group of almost 80 members participate in the project :-)