ITALY, TUSCANY, AREZZO, CORTONA
Here in the countryside of Tuscany the air is clean and healthy and a gentle breeze brings refreshing coolness in the summer, whereas the house lies protected from cold winter storms.
The village of Cortona is renowned for its cultural highlights and the University of Athens (Georgia, USA) has run summer courses in art and architecture for a number of years and the Wettingen High School organizes Italian courses for German speaking Swiss. Many art shows, conferences and meetings take place in Cortona. Therefore, many American families live here during the summer while their youngsters attend the University.
Prominent family names like the “Angellis”, “Beretta”, “Ponti”, “Prada” and many others live in the environs of Cortona, which dates back to Etruscan times.
The airports of Florence, Pisa, Perugia and Rome can be reached within 1 to 2 hours on a 4-lane highway, only a 15 minute drive away. From Rome you connect easily to all important European airports within an hour’s flight. First class dining and exclusive shopping are found in Milan, Florence, Rome and Siena, which can all be reached within less than a 2 hour drive, although the surrounding country side offers fantastic opportunities to sample the world famous Tuscany kitchen. Splendid hotels and pensions are close by to accommodate any overflow of visitors.
This is truly a unique and extraordinary property which remains a hidden secret. The knowledgeable connoisseur who has high demands will feel at home in this glorious residence.
Several years ago the present owners discovered this forgotten jewel hidden away in the hills of Tuscany. The area is pregnant with cultural highlights, history and local folklore. The owners fell in love with the setting and generated a vision for this overgrown, yet promising property. Architects and workmen were gathered to advise and consult to turn the vision of the proud owners into reality and revive this historical building to beauty which it has never exposed in its 400 year history. The medieval character had to be maintained, yet the owners did not compromise on state of the art technology that was to be integrated in their dream home. Modem conveniences
and stylish ambiance were combined in a harmonious symbiosis. After the building crews had left the restored buildings, the owners, geniuses of decoration, proceeded to work on the interior design. During many years of travelling the world, priceless pieces of art and antiques bad been collected by the owners and are now anever ending source of admiration within these ancient walls.
In medieval rural Italy building sites were chosen according to special land features, sweeping views, water abundance or good energy flows. The site of this property transmits peace of the mind and the soul. Colours, sounds and rooms blend info a symphony of relaxation. Time seems to stand still. Here you are in world of its own.
Privacy and Security
The owners took utmost care to preserve privacy and security of the home. All windows and doors are unbreakable security glass and the European copy proof security system “DOM” has been installed in all outside doors for the owners’ convenience. An alarm system is also in place and sensor lights illuminate the property upon the slightest movement. The narrow private country lane leads to the secluded home in this peaceful setting without any direct neighbours. A huge, massive, hand-forged wrought iron 14 feet high entrance gate leads first to the charming front patio with interlocking stones, a magnificent, monstrous azalea with a million blossoms and a garden swing overlooking the valley and the surrounding hills. A heavy brass bell with a pulling chain serves as doorbell.
The Home’s Interior
Soft yellows and earthen tones are the backdrop for the incredible art and antique collection. The furniture, art and antiques are valuable, precious pieces, from original paintings, unique antiques to the Christoffle silverware from France. The stunning centerpiece in one living room is an original “Louis XVI Bureau Plat” to which also belongs the original light fixture and an authentic Italian secretaire with masterfully crafted inlay work. Adding greatly to the comfort and atmosphere of the residence are Tibetan and Persian carpets, Italian Crystal Murano glass chandeliers, candelabras, a huge Venetian mirror and baroque mirrors. Further highlight of the exquisite treasures in the house is porcelain, custom made by “Limoges” to match the octagonal dining room fable. The dining room furniture set was hand crafted by a Milanese carpenter and is inlaid with ivory. The dining room china cabinet holds the Russian “Flora Danica”, which was a gift from the Royal family to the last Russian Czar. There is more precious bone china by “KPM” and “Meissen”, lead crystal carafes, vials and old English miniatures. In the upstairs library you find beautiful original paintings and even Napoleon Bonapart’s campaigning clock is amongst the treasures.
All windows are adorned with designer silk sheers and curtains. The floors, which were still salvageable, were lovingly restored and generate this comfortable country flair paired with elegance. Where the floors had to be renewed with modem materials, in-floor heat was installed with heavy clay tiles as flooring material. Some of the ancient beams and ceilings had to be replaced. Here only antique materials were gathered to keep the historical ambiance of the home alive. The hallway to the upper
floor still features the old clay bricks of the original building.
A Tour through the Rooms
The entry hall features a wood burning fireplace and a loveseat in front of it. To your left is a lovely antique console and one of the gold plated baroque mirrors. Off the entrance hall there is a closet-foyer with room-high closets and a full bathroom is to the left. The bathroom features wonderfully crafted tiles, the faucets are gold plated, there is a built-in medicine cabinet and a warmed towel rack. All colors blend tastefully into each other.
Passing through the foyer you enter one of the sitting rooms and this room is dominated by precious Louis XVI furniture and several original paintings as well as china dating back to the Ming Dynasty. In-floor beat and a huge Tibetan Carpet create a comfortable atmosphere. A French door leads outside to the front garden and you listen to the calming sounds of the fountain placed in the flower beds.
Past the sitting room you enter the open design kitchen-dining room area decorated with a stunning set of furniture. All the precious china, crystal and silver are kept on display in these masterpieces of elegant design. Table, Tibetan Carpet, china, down to the place mats, all these accessories are shaped octagonal. A heavy glass door opens up to the front garden again and the sound of the fountain. The kitchen features all modem appliances and there is also a handy pantry off the kitchen. The chef or chefs of the house will just love this arrangement. Here the gourmet’ s mind can become creative and after the delicious smells of the kitchen waft through the dining room… what a setting to spoil your guests.
From the sitting room an arched natural stone stairway with historical brick ceiling leads to the rooms on the first floor. When you reach the landing, there is a bathroom to the right with double sinks, bidet, toilet and a large corner shower. Like all bathrooms in the house, beautiful tiles decorate the walls, the faucets are gold plated and there is also a warmed rack for the fluffy, soft towels. To the left you enter the magnificent living room library with an enormous open wood fireplace with an authentic iron hearth plate. Comfortable lounge chairs, a loveseat and a fantastic display of precious antiques and paintings round up this delightful room. Here the medieval stone flags could be restored to their ancient glory and are partially covered by Tibetan Carpets. From this room you have enchanting views over the valley and hear the gurgling of the fountain and the song of the nightingales and various other birds. From this central room you enter the guest room which is lovingly decorated and further the dressing room with room-high built-in closets. “Him” and “Her” will find plenty of space for an extensive wardrobe. All closets are superbly organized. The floor is covered by a magnificent Persian carpet with motives telling an ancient story.
. .. and then there is the master bedroom. This enormous room with its vaulted ceiling has an unbelievable romantic flair about it. A glass door leads you to the terrace, which is covered with wisteria and once you rest on this terrace an atmosphere of total relaxation and peace will overcome you. This is the environment to spend time with a coffee or snuggle down with a book or spend some quality time with a special person. A small loft above the bedroom makes for a perfect library. In this room you also find a historical basin which was used by its medieval inhabitants as a basin for holy water. The floor in the master bedroom was beyond restoration, so a lovely hardwood floor was laid, with Tibetan carpets for accents. Beautiful treasures adorn this room to give it that special romantic flair. The room accommodates a king size bed and a generous sitting area. (14’8″ x 22′ 4″). Attached to the main building is a guest cottage with a bathroom which is just as splendidly outfitted as the other bathrooms in the residence. There is a further addition to the building presently housing a studio, and an adjacent room, which could be another guest room. Both, the guest cottage and the studio have separate entrances. A big double glass door leads into the shop and utility room which are both fully furnished and immaculate. Even the two rooms blend in with the color theme of the entire residence.
The grounds and garden of this medieval property are something to behold! The present owners turned their dreams into reality and created individual environmental islands in an ocean of green. When you enter the property through the impressive wrought iron gate, you enter a little yard, with turpentine trees, oleander beds, interlocking stone work, an enormous day pot with a fantastic azalea, bordered by an ancient stone wall. A comfortable garden swing invites you for a rest and to enjoy a sweeping view across the valley with its vineyards and olive groves.
Past this “island” you enter the front yard of the residence in which hundreds of years old wisteria meander all over the front of the house and give it this fascinating romantic appeal. To your right among the flower beds is the 5 tier fountain that dominates the sound background of this “island”. The calming effect of the gently gurgling water and the songs of the birds is amazing. With the doors and windows open, this natural music can be heard in all front rooms of the house. Placed among the greenery are traditional lanterns which you would find in the medieval cities of Europe and add to the romantic flair of the residence. Past the front yard to your right you will see the ancient stone table and benches where the medieval inhabitants used to take their evening meals in the shadows of the shrubs. Today designer cushions ease the archaic stone benches and make it a pleasure to gather around the table. Next to the ancient refuge is a small pond and along the garden trail you see almost life sized bronze statues. To the left of the house is a tiled patio with a table and chairs and from here a small pathway leads over century old worn stone steps through a bamboo grove and you have the feeling you are entering another world. The grove opens up to one of the terraces in the garden with a gazebo and a large 2 person day bed. Here you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon for a siesta or just listen to the sounds of the birds and the breeze rustling in the trees. On the terrace behind you there are trellises of vines which grow so plentiful that you can have your own wine produced by one of the farmers in the surrounding area.
There are also many olive trees. These trees produce the most fantastic extra virgin olive oil, which a true connoisseur will appreciate. From the stone refuge another trail leads along an ancient obelisk which was once used as a sun dial, past a frog pond, teeming with life, into the depth of the grounds. At the end of a lawn there is a wrought iron bench under the bamboo trees. Sit down and let the eye rove over the grounds and the residence in the distance. Just another enchanting island in this green ocean.
The gardens closer to the home are all connected by stone tiled trails and the grounds further up the terraces and the valley are accessible by a network of carefully laid out grass and gravel trails. You can wander up into the olive groves and along the creek (not year round) which meanders through the property. You will still be on your own land and in total privacy.
The report on this amazing residence does not claim to cover all detail. There are so many fascinating aspects to this property and it should remain an adventure for a prospective buyer to explore this architectural treasure.
PURCHASE PRICE: includes ALL FURNITURE, PAINTINGS, CHINA, ANTIQUE COLLECTION AND CARPETS.
Property Size: Approximately 1.3 hectares
Home Size: Approximately 371 sqm
Water: 2 wells (drinking quality)
Taxes: Approximately € 250,– per year
Heating: Propane, 1200 gallon tank (5000 litres), secure
underground installation, (hot water and in-floor heat).
Propane cost approximately . € 3000,– per year. Also electric radiators.
Road Maintenance: Free
Housekeepers: Available (English, German and Italian speaking)
Septic: Bio degradable
Shopping: 10 Minutes away
Major Hospital: 15 Km
Equestrian Facilities: 3 Minutes, 30 horses
Water Sports: 20 Minutes to Lake Trasimeno
Golf: 20 Minutes away
International Airport: Rome (approximately 2 hours)
Florence (approximately 1.5 hours)