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  • Writer's pictureAlex Subrizi

Fence me in (part 2)

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

At long last, Poggiosole's new front gate is finished, and looks posh. With a main body of COR-TEN steel supporting 19 vertical slats of massaranduba wood, the gate tilts "ranch-country"; a contrast to the more ornate iron cancelli of local villas and upscale hotels. Poggiosole's architect Paolo Gianni questioned this choice, thinking the style too informal. In response I tweaked the width of the slats and the length and shape of the center element while keeping the feeling of understated elegance we've worked to instil throughout the property. The new gate complements a laser-cut iron sign with our script logo that was added late last year as well as some soft area lighting to spiff up Poggiosole's entryway and driveway.

The gate is motorized and operated either by key or IR remote control, both of which will from now on accompany the keys guests receive on arrival. It can also be opened through intercoms in each lodging and in Poggiosole's main house. If friends are coming to visit they can ring the name of the lodging you're staying in. As a fail-safe, I can view visitors ringing the main house and open the gate from just about anywhere through an app on my smartphone.

With the gate closed, our inner grove, parking area and garden are completely enclosed, rendering Poggiosole safer for pets and making it virtually impossible for deer, foxes, wolves and, above all wild boar to venture near our lodgings.

I feel an outsized sense of relief having concluded this project which has, incredibly, been in the works for close to two years. Italian post-covid stimulus payments, which, given the country's high rate of home

ownership, were largely disbursed in the form of subsidies for (much needed) improvements to residential buildings, created unprecedented demand in the construction sector, sending costs spiraling and spawning endless waiting lists for all but the least desirable crews. That made coordinating the metalsmith, masonry men, cement truck, electrician and carpenter all the more difficult. In the words of the muratore who eventually oversaw the digging, pouring, cutting and welding needed to create our gate, "If someone says they're available to do your job in short order, you should worry."

So I stuck with the guy I knew, who did turn up in the end, if nearly 18 months late. I had started to feel our gate would never get done, so in the end I'm pleased, notwithstanding considerable frustration throughout. Lest I paint with too broad a brush I'll add that Akim (carpenter shown in the title image) and Simone and Luciano (metalsmiths shown below) were badass solid from start to finish: their work was done early last year only to sit many months waiting for the rest of the crew.

Grazie and high-five, guys.

The gate adds a finish and soft formality to our entrance that has long been lacking. It combines materials, colors and textures in a satisfying way that I hope guests will appreciate. And... it's done.

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