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The Umbrian Good Life

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01 Sneak Peak Vocabolo Moscatelli
  • Words Allison Reiber DiLiegro
  • Date 12 July 2022

As Chef Concierge at Switzerland’s top hotels, Frederik Kubierschky always dreamed of opening a boutique property of his own.

He stumbled upon the very place in Calzolaro, a quiet green village in the heart of Umbria. Italy was a natural choice for Kubierschky, who was born in Germany and moved to the country at the age of 14. With Vocabolo Moscatelli, set to open in late-summer 2022, he aims to blend his depth of hospitality expertise with the spirit of this soulful, grounded part of the world.

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The original 19th-century church will be used for vernissages, performances, and more

At the core of Vocabolo Moscatelli is a revived 12th-century monastery with beamed ceilings, heavy stone fireplaces, and soft wooden floors, all crowned with a bell that the Olivetan monks of Gubbio would ring when it was time for prayer. Architect Jacopo Venerosi Pesciolini of studio Archiloop faithfully restored the original structure while bringing a contemporary feel through airy, open spaces, fresh colors, and custom, midcentury-inspired Italian-made furnishings. Outside the many windows, the Umbrian hills are rich with farmland and twisted with vineyards. “Before we bought the property, locals would bring their dogs to hunt for truffles here,” Kubierschky tells us.

Cotto Etrusco created custom room numbers and richly textured, colored tiles for the sprawling bathrooms.

Minimal ceramics were made for the hotel by the Perugia-based Endiadi Ceramics

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The custom Cotto Etrusco tiles also make an appearance on restaurant tables

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In some suites, the bathtub is set outside on the private loggia

And it maintains that lived-in, well-loved feel. Paths are lined with thick rosemary bushes, ancient oaks, and free-spirited gardens. Like its own village, the monastery opens up to a piazza-style square with umbrella-topped tables and a bubbling fountain at its center. The eye naturally leads to the original 19th-century church, a few steps up, that has been stripped down and painted in a chalky white. With its soaring ceiling and resonant acoustics, the space will host vernissages, light installations, dance parties, and ceremonies. A 30-meter pergola, custom forged by the century-old Italian blacksmith brand Lispi & Co., stretches back to the grove, where agronomist Isabella Dalla Ragione and her nonprofit, the Arboreal Archaeology Foundation, have planted forgotten fruit trees that are native to Umbria.

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Inside the monastery, eight rooms and suites tell their own story through custom furnishings by Samarreda and Tosconova, four-poster beds by Lispi & Co., a distinct color palette, and a selection of works by often-local artists. The sprawling bathrooms feature richly colored, custom tiles made by the artists at Cotto Etrusco, who also made the room numbers and knife rests for the restaurants by hand. Most suites come with a deep, arrowhead-shaped cantilevered bathtub with bath salts handy. In the most impressive guestrooms, the bathtub is set outside on the spacious loggia, where breezy curtains offer privacy and refuge from the sun.

A separate annex building houses four more rooms and suites, each with its own garden and outdoor furnishings by Varaschin. Minimal ceramics were made by Endiadi Ceramics, based in Perugia, Umbria. “These pieces are full of love, which is the most important thing for me,” says owner Elena Raugia.

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Bold color comes courtesy of outdoor furnishings by Paola Lenti

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The hotel sources local, Italian-made spirits

Kubierschky’s years of concierge experience have given him special insight into the guest experience—teaching him that, above all else, customization is key. Guests can order breakfast at any time of day, which is served in a lush, tree-shaded garden. The striking travertine pool, lined with sunbeds and furnishings by Paola Lenti, is always open. The bar concept, too, prioritizes the personal, with a square configuration that feels more like a friend’s kitchen table than a barrier. In lieu of a long stretch of labels, local and homemade spirits are kept in clear, color-coded bottles. While the bartenders can make whatever guests wish, the idea is to try something local and new. Of course, if guests prefer their usual, the team will make that happen. Above all, “the Vocabolo is a place where you can feel at home,” Kubierschky says. 

Lavender and rosemary from the gardens perfumes the air

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The striking travertine pool is open at all hours of the day and night

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The Olivetan monks of Gubbio would ring when it was time for prayer

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