An Estate in Turmoil?

The Tenuta dello Scompiglio (translation: “turmoil “estate) is located in the hills of Vorno just to the south of Lucca. It includes a park with a beautiful old villa, agricultural lands, some houses to rent, forests and wooded areas and ancient terraces. The estate has been for centuries a self-sufficient farm, cultivated mainly with olive groves, vineyards and orchards. Thanks to the generosity of an American lady the Scompiglio is now at the centre of a very interesting project which has three main focuses: architecture, food and arts. They are all united by the themes of sustainable economy, ecology and conservation – a way to move forwards in a threatened planet using the best of traditional craftsmanship combined with cutting-edge technology.

The architecture at the Scompiglio’s buildings is striking. The use of space and lighting in the performance hall we visited last night filled me both with wonder and easiness. It is what could be described as rural-minimalism – a “traditional” modernism without any jarring edges and placed quite perfectly into the idyllic surroundings of the Vorno hillside.

The Scompiglio’s food is organically-based, zero-kilometred and profoundly delicious. My friends and I agreed that what we were offered in the cucina after the concert was perhaps one of the finest cuisines we have tasted anywhere in Lucca province (and maybe even beyond).

Here is what I chose:

 Filetto di manzo in crosta di pane su letto di porri ed erbi di campo al vapore

(Steamed beef fillet in a crust of bread on a bed of leeks and field herbs)

 The vegetarian alternative to this was:

 Spiedino di pere, formaggio e pane con erbi di campo al vapore

 (Steamed pears on a skewer, cheese and bread with field herbs)

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The music presented by the Scompiglio that evening shared to perfection the theme of tradition and modernity so creatively managed in its architecture and agriculture.

Here was the programme:

img415The Cameristi di Roma and the three young and wonderfully-voiced far-eastern singers joined in three of Mozart’s exquisite Notturni composed in the last part of the composer’s short life when he had fallen under the spell of the clarinet and its relations: the bass clarinet and the basset horn. These sensuously intimate compositions with words by Metastasio and their masonic undertones, amorous disparagement and fragrant melancholy cast a luminous spell on the audience. The sonority of three voices sustained by the three basset horns was as the pouring of the most fragrant cream over spicy hot chocolate – quite irresistible! Music here was truly “the food of love.”

One of the Notturni was requested as an encore:

Here are the words (with a translation):

Più non si trovano
Fra mille amanti
Sol due bell’anime
Che sian costanti
E tutti parlano di fedeltà

E il reo costume
Tanto s’avanza
Che la costanza
Di chi ben ama
Ormai si chiama simplicità

 

(No longer can one find

Among a thousand lovers

A lovely couple

Who are faithful to each other

And everyone talks about loyalty

 

And this offending habit

Is so much advanced

That the constancy

Of those who love well

Is now called simplicity)

As we stepped out into the late winter evening we felt so happy that we had enjoyed the highest excellences that the marriage of food, architecture and music can offer, not just in the province of Lucca but perhaps anywhere in the world.

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