Huge Sicilian House to Restore as a Home or Guest House.
Casa del Parroco (the Priest’s House) once lived up to its name, home to a member of the local clergy. All we can say is that this huge, 160m2 property in the centre of the beautiful hilltop village of Pollina shows just how highly-regarded a calling to the ministry is in Sicily!
It is now in need of some fairly extensive restoration work, from the structure to the finishings, but there is so much to love about this beautiful three-storey town house that we think the right buyer will find it well worth the investment.
If you’re in two minds about whether a renovation project like this is the right move for you, take a look at our guide to the incredible range of tax breaks and subsidies on offer to environmentally-conscious developers in Sicily. We think you’ll be astonished by the value on offer.
With 160m2 of habitable space across four floors, this stately old town house is built on an L-shaped floor plan, with the short side extending over a small pedestrian passageway. Nestled in the warren of narrow alleyways that make up this small town in the Madonie Natural Park, the house has a pair of balconies and a covered terrace. You can see from the external supports in place that some work will be needed on what is a very typical Sicilian house, to restore it to its original glory.
You enter through the well-preserved original front door, into a small hallway with a flight or stairs leading immediately up and to your right. Ahead is a small reception room which could make a little guest bedroom or playroom. Also on this lower level is a large storeroom space.
A half flight of stairs takes you up to the first floor, where three rooms are joined in sequence, around the corner of the building. With light coming through on three sides and high, slightly vaulted ceilings, this area of the property feels bright and sunny, even in its current run-down state. This trio of rooms could be a kitchen, living room and dining room with a nice natural flow between the three, effectively creating one long space.
Halfway upstairs, on what is effectively a mezzanine floor is another bedroom, above the first one mentioned above. The second floor proper is another suite of three rooms, with some rather grand classical columns still present. There is a balcony, what was once an en-suite bathroom and a walk-in closet with a beautiful view. Obviously, these spaces could be reconfigured in the eventual restoration.
Heading upstairs again you pass a third identical bedroom on the split level, and at the very top of the building is a covered terrace which could easily lose its roof and become a beautiful spot from which to enjoy the warm Sicilian sunshine. There is an old pizza oven built into the fabric of the house, and we’re sure that would make a perfect focal point for the space. At present the sunshine and natural light comes from a little balcony with views over the surrounding courtyard.
Casa del Parroco is in the centre of Pollina, perhaps 20 metres’ walk from the nearest drivable road (a manageable distance for construction work). As is typical of building in this kind of quintessential Sicilian towns, building has been pretty vertical and it’s fair to say that this is not the ideal destination for people with mobility issues. What it has created, however, is a warm, close-knit community where news travels from balcony to balcony, every conversation ends in some kind of food or drink, and new arrivals are guaranteed a warm welcome.
The town is big enough to offer a couple of mini-markets and shops like a baker’s and butcher’s. There are a couple of bars, a surgery and a bank. For a bigger shop you can travel down the hill to the charming seaside town of Finale, where the train station connects you to Sicily’s capital city Palermo in about an hour. Along this route you will pass through the internationally-famous holiday town of Cefalù, home to a delightful medieval old town, a beautiful Arab-Norman cathedral, a couple of kilometres of unspoilt sandy beach and, if we say so ourselves, Sicily’s most welcoming team of estate agents!
The surrounding Madonie hills are a thing of wonder, with numerous species of animal and tree found nowhere else. Including varieties of boar, deer, fox and butterflies. Living within the scope of this park means that the land around you is covenanted for original purpose, and there is no chance of mass development threatening the area’s local character.
Taking on a large Sicilian house to restore is undoubtedly a big undertaking, but one that many clients like you have found incredibly satisfying. A dream project for millions, brought to life in books like Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun and films such as Liam Neeson’s 2020 Made in Italy, the rewards – a perfect home that blends your personal style with the timeless charm of old Sicily – can be more than worth it.
Casa del Parroco will need an overhaul, including seismic safety, new floors and a new roof. The cost will depend on where exactly your imagination meets your budget, but a rule of thumb is that the usual investment budget for renovating a property in Sicily is around €500-€1,000 per square metre. We would estimate that this will be at the high end of that spectrum, but if you would like a more precise figure we would be delighted to introduce you to one of our network of English-speaking, trustworthy architects in the area. If you would like to know more in the meantime, you can check out our comprehensive guide to the subject by clicking the link just above.
In conclusion, this is no ready-to-occupy property, and both work and capital will be required to realise its potential. But if you are willing to consider this journey, we would be delighted to place our full range of services at your disposal. Why not pick up the phone today and find out more?