The Obamas arrived in Tuscany on a private plane escorted by six fighter jets and a 13-car motorcade on Friday as they continue their all-expenses-paid world tour.
Barack and Michelle Obama will have an entire 14th century village to themselves during their five-night stay – at an eye-watering cost of $15,000 per night.
Not that the couple are likely to have paid, as it’s owned by the ex-president’s former ambassador to Italy, John Philips.
The Obamas arrived in Tuscany on Friday and were escorted away from the military air base airport in an armored Chevrolet (pictured)
The former president and first lady’s armored Chevrolet were part of a 13-car motorcade, transporting them to their incredible Tuscan villa Borgo Finocchieto, as many Italians lined the streets to wave them as they passed
Picturesque: Pictured left is the extraordinary Borgo Finocchieto, a refurbished 14th century village in Tuscany that will play home to the Obamas when they arrive later Sunday. It was once owned by the noble Borghese family
Idyllic: The location provides an idyllic space for vacationers – but not a cheap one. Renting out the entire space costs $15,000 per night – although individual buildings can be rented out for less
The Obamas (pictured in Chicago earlier this month) who have been on multiple vacations since leaving the White House in January, will reportedly visit Florence and Siena during their vacation
On Friday, the former president and first lady touched down at Grosseto Air Base in Tuscany, their private jet accompanied by six Eurofighter Fourth Wing jets.
The couple where then whisked away in an armored Chevrolet as part of a 13-car motorcade, transporting them to their incredible Tuscan villa Borgo Finocchieto, as many Italians lined the streets to wave them as they passed.
But the family will be ensured privacy at their villa, which is a kilometer away from prying eyes on the road. Italian authorities have even imposed a ban on wild boar hunting, just in case the former president is accidentally shot. They are expected to fly out on May 24.
The Obamas, who have been on multiple vacations since leaving the White House in January, will reportedly visit Florence and Siena during their vacation.
Resting on more than six acres of rolling hillside near Buonconvento, 45 miles south of Florence, the village of Borgo Finocchieto provides superb views of the surrounding countryside – but what’s inside the villa and its attached homes is just as stunning.
According to its official website, Borgo Finocchieto – its name translates as ‘village of fennel fields’ – has 22 bedrooms across its five buildings.
Stately: The various buildings include this stately library, as well as a gym and fitness room, and multiple steam rooms, saunas and Jaccuzis. It is owned by John Philips, former ambassador to Italy under Barack Obama
Spacious: There are two group dining rooms in the building, allowing for a total of 44 people to be seated across them. The villa has been redesigned with business conferences in mind, but the Obamas will likely be focusing on pleasure instead
Regal: This drawing room has something of a regal air, with its family crest, piano and classy furniture. All of the house’s interiors were sourced from within Italy, despite Philips, an American, buying it in 2001
Stunning: There are stunning views across the hillsides of central Italy from just about every angle, and visitors can explore the countryside by car, scooter, helicopter or even hot air balloon
The largest of those rooms is a colossal 800sqft ‘Medici’ master bedroom with its own steam room, Jacuzzi and sauna.
As well as the smaller dining spaces in the villas, there are two full-scale dining rooms that seat a total of up to 44 people, as well as outdoor dining spaces, a wine-tasting room and a wet bar.
There are also courts for fans of tennis, basketball and the Italian bowling game bocce, as well as a group spa, sauna and steam room, a swimming pool, and a gym and fitness center.
And visitors are cared for by a staff of 19, including a concierge, executive chef, wait staff, bartender and housekeepers.
Special requests can also be made to explore the surrounding countryside on horseback, by car or scooter, or even using helicopters and hot air balloons.
It’s a countryside worth exploring: The verdant green fields – dotted here and there with trees and hedges, rising up into distant mountains – are beautiful enough, and have been largely unchanged for 1,000 years.
But there are also other stunning locations to explore just a short drive away, from the winding cobbled streets of Buonconvento just over a mile away to a collection of castles, mansions and other villages a short car journey away.
All of this has been made open to the Obamas, who are traveling from Milan, 197 miles northwest of the village, at the weekend.
Friends: The building was bought and refurbished by Philips (right, with Obama and John Kerry in 2014), who made a sizable chunk of cash working as a public rights lawyer. When he bought it, animals were being kept in some of the villas
Relaxation: The house also offers a swimming pool with gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside – ensuring the ultimate in vacation relaxation for those lucky enough to go there
Reconstruction: The buildings were reconstructed using centuries-old plans and materials sourced from within Italy, as required by law. The interiors differ from the original designs, but the exteriors had to remain authentic
Comfort: Even the smaller villas – the most petite of which has two bedrooms – offer plush comfort and a cozy style for visitors, as this sitting room shows
Atmospheric: The exterior of the ‘village’ is atmospherically lit at night – including this rather charming little courtyard. Vvisitors are cared for by a staff of 19, including a concierge, executive chef, wait staff, bartender and housekeepers
Village: The scenery surrounding Borgo Finocchieto – a name that translates to ‘village of fennel fields’ – has lain virtually unchanged for 1,000 years
Borgo Finocchieto first appeared on maps in Italy in 1318, when it was built by the noble Borghese family, whose members included Pope Paul V.
The fields surrounding the five-building village were farmed by peasants and sharecroppers, and by 1960 it had become home to 21 families, according to a 2007 report by The New York Times.
But it had also become run-down, with the chapel being used as a barn and livestock being kept on the ground floor of a manor house.
So in 2001, Philips – who made a small fortune as a public rights lawyer, and served as ambassador to Italy under Obama from 2014-2017 – bought it up and started reconstructing it 30,000sqft of buildings.
That proved to be an even bigger task than it sounds.
‘Rebuilding was expected to be totally consistent with what was there before,’ Phillips told the NYT.
‘If there was a window 300 years ago that had been covered up, you could put the window back, but you could not add a new window.’
Thankfully, Italy has documentation on many buildings dating back centuries that details the dimensions – and sometimes even materials – of buildings.
And while the exteriors could not be changed, the interiors were allowed amendment – which meant that the chapel-turned-barn could be transformed into the four-bedroom Santa Teresa suite.
Materials for both the exterior and interior were also sourced from within the country, ensuring that, despite its new American owner, it would remain unmistakably Italian.
According to La Cure villas, visitors can rent out nine bedrooms in the main house for $7,000 per night, or all 22 bedrooms – across all five buildings – for $15,200 per night. There is a minimum three-night reservation.
Fine dining: The outdoor dining areas (one pictured at rear) are relaxing on a warm Italian summer’s night – perfect for a private dinner party
Renting: Visitors can rent out nine bedrooms in the main house for $7,000 per night, or all 22 bedrooms – across all five buildings – for $15,200 per night
Sports: As well as the swimming pool, there are courts for tennis (seen left), basketball and the Italian bowling game of bocce. There are also pleasant green spaces for spectating – or merely lounging in
Holidays: The Obamas (pictured before their annual two-week holiday in 2016) have been enjoying their post-presidency vacations, and their trip to Borgo Finocchieto will likely be no exception
Obama traveled to Italy last week to speak at the ‘Seeds & Chips – Global Food Innovation’ summit.
There, he talked about climate change and made a pointed remark about Trump, saying people ‘get the politicians [they] deserve’ when they don’t vote.
He has been joined by Michelle, who on Friday spoke at the summit for the Partnership for a Healthier America in Washington, DC.
She also took Trump to task, asking why his administration canceled her project to provide schools with healthier meals.
‘You have to stop and think, “Why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you, and why is that a partisan issue?”‘ she said.