I was recently called from a gentleman who wanted me to consult on colors for his new “Tuscan Style” home under construction on a Caribbean island. I asked him to send photos and drawings, along with elevations of the property. Of course, once I saw his home, all I could think of was the many Mediterranean and Mission styles homes you can find from Boston to Burbank that are called Tuscan style homes. It’s what we do here in America; we generalize everything so very well. I don’t blame builders for calling them Tuscan style only because as an American I understand it’s their way of saying “it’s an Italian style” home.
The real homes of Tuscany are plain and simple, almost stark in comparison to the American versions we see here. It has a more peasant style and feel. From small square windows and straight lines and edges. Nonetheless, don’t let looks surprise you because once you step inside, a glamorous and appealing interior breaks all the rules.
As Italy becomes more and more adventurous in its use of color, many areas like Tuscany are settled into the hues found within their environment. As an importer of authentic Italian lime plaster or a.k.a “Venetian Plaster”, I have a working grasp on what Americans like in colors for both interior and exterior Italian style homes. What inspires me the most is the rich use of colors and styles seen today in both America and abroad. Today in our blended cultures, almost anything goes.
I often visit Tuscany in my travels to Italy, as I dream to retire there someday. I'm amazed at the changes over the years in what I’ve seen. As far as exterior colors, rural Tuscany’s colors are comprised of the colors that encompass the environment these homes are settled in. Strong earth tones found from the rich soils, from the trees and vines of their many fruits and vegetables, along with the gold and amber found in their colorful sunsets are all abundantly common.
Recently, a trend of more vibrant colors is becoming more common in the urban areas of Tuscany from the coastal region of Livorno, and in the agricultural areas of Siena or in Florence center. Within some of these new urban communities, tradition has kept things simple but more and more color is starting to sneak into the new Italy of the EU.