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30 October 2020

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Valdirose, Lastra a Signa

A family home from the second half of the nineteenth century transformed into a charming B&B. Among the hills of Lastra a Signa, in Tuscany. I asked Irene Berni, the lady of the house, to tell me something more

The first things you notice when you enter the Valdirose, just outside Florence, are the collections of vintage objects and floral arrangements. The scent of coffee and homemade cakes wafts through the air. Flea markets, flowers and cooking, Irene Berni's three passions.

Combining these ingredients is quite a challenge. Collect wild herbs and pruning waste, to embellish zinc bottles and basins. Choose seasonal products and local delicacies, to cook pies and biscuits. Experimenting, making and disassembling, to create a different, refined and unique atmosphere every day. It is something that comes easily and naturally to Irene Berni. Because Valdirose is a way to express his creativity.

Irene creates corners of poetry. Paolo, her husband, is a friend, lover and partner in crime. He entertains guests with grace and savoir-faire. He is a sort of Jack of all trades. Like when he made a lamp base with old wood spools. Grandpa Giovanni has a contagious smile and the keen eye of someone who knows how to give good advice. Authenticity, familiarity and spontaneity. This is why you feel at home at Valdirose.

The breakfast

French dishes in ‘terre de fer’, silver cutlery and vintage glasses: the day begins with a homemade breakfast in the veranda. A bright space where you can enjoy the first light of the morning, leafing through the newspaper. Here the time is slow, the little things regain their value. Charming details open the door of memories.


The neutral palette of the rooms invites you to rest. Striped pillows are mixed with linen sheets and lace. A few darker fabrics here and there to create movement. Green light for antique furniture and trouvailles found around the antique markets.

(Double room in BB starting from euro 115.00).

Interview with Irene Berni

The Valdirose B&B is the mirror and the soul of Irene Berni. I asked Mrs. Valdirose, as she is called by many, to tell me something more.

How did the idea of opening the Valdirose B&B come about?

Valdirose has always been an open house. A point of reference for friends and relatives. We thought of a way to keep the house alive. Thus, the idea of opening a Bed and Breakfast was born spontaneously.

How would you describe Valdirose in three adjectives?

Simple, familiar and spontaneous.

What is the style?

This house has such well-defined characteristics that I often define its style as 'Valdirose style'. Every object is loved and chosen. I do not follow any particular current, but my instinct and the memories it arouses in me.

What is there about you and your personality inside Valdirose?

All! In fact I don't mind when people call me ‘Valdirose’ instead of ‘Irene’ 🙂

5 good reasons to sleep at Valdirose

1. My family. They are sunny people.
2. The relaxed atmosphere.
3. Tuscany.
4. The inspiration: Valdirose attracts many creatives.
5. The support for small businesses like mine.

What cannot be missing in a home?

The good light.

Interior styling: 5 tips

1. Valuing each room for what it is, without following what you want but starting from what you have.
2. Insert natural elements.
3. Use your memories and your passions.
4. Arrange the objects to be stimulated to use them in everyday life.
5. Study the light.

In addition to being the owner of B&B Valdirose, you cook delicious dishes, you are a content creator, you have written books, you are an editor for Cook - Il Corriere della Sera. How would you define yourself?

I love to do anything that stimulates my creativity. I am curious and a woman who tests herself.

What is the philosophy of your life?

I believe in positivity and gratitude.

What do you like most about your job?

The fact that every day is different and that it brings me to know many different people.

Which collaboration has remained in your heart the most? And the funniest?

Surely the experience with Cook has taught me and continues to teach me a lot. Thanks to the team I gain confidence in myself and the strength to do new things. The funniest? The first book: 'What Irene Likes'.

How do you do everything right? Have you ever thought about doing too many things?

I always think I'm doing too many things. And I actually do many. But I also believe that I can never do them fully well.

When do you begin to understand that what you are doing makes sense?

When what you do makes you feel good, then it makes sense. And if you can make others feel good too is the best.

Are there any particular events that have allowed you to go forward successfully?

Mistakes and failures. When I fail, I feel the desire to improve and move forward. When everything is fine, however, I remain static. A mistake I often made at the beginning is not to give value, even monetary value, to one's work and the time devoted to doing it.

What would you recommend to those who want to get where you are?

Arm yourself with determination, perseverance, humility, curiosity and enthusiasm.

Your secret dream?

A book about B&B Valdirose.

 What are your favorite places in Florence?

  • Historic cafes, such as the Gilli café overlooking Piazza della Repubblica.
  • The gardens of Villa Bardini.
  • The roof terraces, such as that of the Oblate Library.
  • Piazzale Michelangelo for the view over Florence.
  • The historic trattorias, such as the Cammillo trattoria in Borgo S. Jacopo and Sostanza in via della Cina.
  • The food market of Sant'Ambrogio in an iron pavilion whose origins date back to the second half of the nineteenth century.
  • The flea market in Largo Annigoni and the weekend antiques markets.
  • The historic boutique of the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica of Santa Maria Novella in via della Scala 16.

Location: @valdirose
Dress: @serena_camarlinghi

Follow my travel tips:

Antonella Machet

JOURNALIST and STORYTELLER - Sono una giornalista e creo contenuti per siti web, social media e materiali promozionali. Mi piace raccontare storie con le parole, ma anche cogliere atmosfere magiche con la macchina fotografica., Lastra a Signa
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