The Colle Val d’Elsa Municipality’s will to recover a historical building and the project by a family of hospitality entrepreneurs to invest on one of the city’s characteristic assets: these are the two ingredients at the base of the intervention that has brought the 17th century hospital in Colle Val d’Elsa’s, a town of approximately 20,000 people in the area around Siena and Italian crystal production capital, to transform into the Hotel Palazzo San Lorenzo, a luxurious four star structure that now belongs to the Ross Hotels group. The process of recovering and reviving the building was completed in April 2010 with the inauguration of the hotel, but began some time before that when the Colle Val d’Elsa Municipality, after transferring hospital activities to a new, more modern structure in the city, began to think of a completely different future for the building from the 1600’s, together with the Azienda Sanitaria Local (ASL) [Local Health Authority] that owns the property.
The task was assigned to Colle Promozione spa, a company focused on projects for the economic, touristic and social development of Colle Val D’Elsa, as well as on opportunities for urban transformation though the redevelopment of its real estate and architectural assets in which the Comune [Munipality] is a shareholder. Colle Promozione’s analysis on the possible end uses for the former Hospital of San Lorenzo immediately looked to its touristic and hospitality potential to reconcile with the historic and artistic value of the building commissioned in 1635 by the powerful Usimbardi family. Although the initial idea was of proceding with restoration and the only contracting private subjects to manage the hospitality business, the intersection between the projects of ASL and Comune and the Rossinelli family’s willingness to invest resulted in the sale of the property to the Ross group. This turned the building into a symbol of the city’s promotional opportunities through virtuous partnerships between the public and private sectors. Indeed, while the hospitality group carried out the restoration of the building, Colle Promozione directed the restoration of the adjacent areas.
The intervention that restored the building’s splendor had to take into account various landscape and historical limitations that pertained to the former hospital. Specifically, a limit of historic-historic interest (that is, a declaration of historic interest by the Sovrintendenza ai Beni Culturali [Superintendence of Cultural Heritage] that entails limitations to the modifications that can be made to a building, and the uses to which it can be destined) pertains to two areas in the building: the plexus of the monumental staircase and the historical pharmacy, which was completely restored and turned into the hotel’s hall. Hotel Palazzo San Lorenzo structure currently hosts nearly fifty rooms and approximately 130 beds, as well as a spa area and a wellness center.
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