A student of her remarkable mother, she understood the importance of adaptability and evolution. She looked to the modern transformations happening around her in the Chianti. In the 1970’s, Chianti was undergoing its very genesis as a tourist attraction. After the war, the abandoned Chianti farmhouses were discovered primarily by the pastoral-loving English who began to buy the old buildings and restore them. The rolling hills became peppered with the reclaimed cotta coloured stone buildings, again heralding the seductive beauty of the Chianti. As demand grew, numerous Italian families opted to sell their farms, villas and castles to this growing demographic of foreigners wishing to claim an idyllic Tuscan retreat for themselves. For many landowners and farmers it was a welcome opportunity to address the financial challenge of maintaining agricultural properties in the countryside.
Franca herself was briefly tempted by a generous offer but the long history of entrepreneurial genes from her grand mother’s Larderel family must have been strong in her blood. At the age of 65, she chose a more courageous and creative path by deciding instead to turn the longtime family farm into a small, charming hotel for the increasing stream of visitors to the Chianti. Her friends and advisors challenged the boldness and viability of such a vanguard decision. What did she know of such a business - it was something new and untested for the area? Would it be successful? And how would she, a single woman of advanced age manage it? But Franca, like her mother, was a strong and determined woman and moved her vision forcibly ahead. Thus began the third life cycle of Villa Le Barone as a charming inn.
As a well-travelled woman of the patrician class, Franca enthusiastically engaged in the project. The small hotel of only six rooms in the central manor house was first opened to referenced guests. A stickler for manners and decorum, Franca, ignoring the demands of the service industry, boldly placed in the reception foyer the unusual greeting “All guests make us happy - some by coming, others by leaving.” She was indeed a conﬁdent and tough task master to both staff and guests!