After first encountering the property in 1993, Luisa Beccaria has been restoring her 18th-century home in the southeast of Sicily—nestled between the Hyblaean Mountains and the sea—for over three decades. “It’s really big—it’s huge,” she says of the space, which sleeps at least 40 people. “The whole thing is in the middle of nowhere, so it was quite brave in the beginning to start a project like this.”
When she began, the sprawling ruins were totally empty, abandoned, and lacking life, color, and care. Fast forward to 2023, and the designer has transformed the property into a palatial yet quaint home where she brings friends and family together to appreciate a vision of old-world Italian culture. “It’s about the traditions,” she says. “Making our own cheese, baking our own bread in the wood oven, and doing all these things that were so enchanting to me about the old traditions of the land.” As for the aesthetic? It matches the vision Beccaria created for her own fashion line. The space easily looks like something straight from one of the brand’s editorials. Think: lots of white, ancient-looking walls, with a focus on natural color palettes and simplicity–just the kind of place you’d want to wear Beccaria’s dreamy sequined maxi dresses or floral chiffon gowns.
With windows overlooking the rolling countryside and storybook landscapes, Beccaria wanted interiors that didn’t compete, but could still hold a candle to the history of the space. “I wanted interiors that didn’t interfere too much with all this story of light coming in and flowers coming in and very strong nature, which is particular to Sicily,” she says. “I wanted something really fresh and harmonious and not with overpowering decorations.” For the entire first floor, she installed big tiles made of white stone–the kind that neighboring castles were built with. She lace curtains that seem to float through the air custom made, inspired by the time she first walked through the doors in 1993. “When I first entered the house, which had no roofs, everything was really quite decayed,” she says. “But there were still pieces of lace curtains on the windows.”
The first floor is complete with romantic terraces overlooking the countryside, and for Beccaria’s bedroom, she added her own sitting area so she can stare out at the view for hours. She often hosts her family, including her five children, who are in their twenties and thirties. Originally structured as one main palace with a string of buildings connected (complete with a church and school), the home has so many rooms the designer has never really counted them. Each room opens to another, and Beccaria chose barely-there, slightly different pastel colors for each one. “Those colors are also some of the same colors we use a lot in our fashion,” she says. “It’s all these powder colors, sort of a transparent feeling.”
For the occasion, Beccaria brought a lot of furniture from her other home, bringing together pieces with a very baroque sort of spirit. “It’s very light in the whites with some touches of gold,” she says. “And we covered the sofas with this very rustic type of thick cotton.” Left behind were some iron bed frames which they painted in colors to match the walls. As for the rest of the furniture, much of it was made by a local carpenter, while her husband also helped with the construction of the space.
The fact that Beccaria worked on the property for decades means that the home is filled with intention. “Because I love gardening a lot and I have a sense of landscape, it’s also a part of our fashion,” she says. “Our thing we are known for is that our designs are also very much about lifestyle. So, this was the place where I practiced my vision regarding lifestyle, and everything was done in a way that then would match our lifestyle, which was very different from the one our ancestors used to have.” A raw and true sort of feeling radiates throughout the space. It’s not over-decorated, as Beccaria says, but somehow all the same, it has a strong core and soul that’s so unique to Beccaria.
“It’s about the harmony that was created between interiors and exteriors,” Beccaria adds. “So, a lot of inside rooms are rooms outside also.” In this quaint and ancient place, the garden itself sprawls through the rooms—and the natural, wild world of Sicily has become intrinsic to it all.