Three-bedroom Family Villa in Sicily’s Madonie Park, with One Acre of Stunning Hillside Land
Everyone has a different priority when looking for real estate in Sicily. For many, of course, it is the clear Mediterranean Sea. For others it will be to find themselves at the heart of a town or city, surrounded by the culture and traditions of the island. Some simply want to escape into an undiscovered world, to slip away from daily life into a sunny green paradise whose natural bounty seems to sprout from every square inch of fertile soil.
Casa Giuliana, although less than three kilometres from the sea, and only a thirty minute drive from the equally beautiful and historic town of Cefalù, is a perfect match for the third kind of buyer. If you are a lover of nature, wildlife and the great outdoors, this is the perfect property for you. Olive trees, citrus fruits, ashes and cactii abound, as well as an abundance of wild fennel, rosemary and mountain flowers. While the natural beauty of the estate is in a raw state, the hares, rabbits and occasional wild boar who call the Madonie Natural Park their home have created a criss-cross of footpaths which lead you around and about.
Listed at what is a very fair price for a large slice of land and the skeleton of a beautiful family villa in Sicily, Giuliana will need some renovation work – and certainly a fresh lick of paint will be one of your priorities – but is in a good structural condition.
The villa is built on two storeys, each around 50m2. At present these are almost completely independent of each other; a pair of apartments with private entrances. The upper floor is reached by an external staircase on the short side of the building.
Of course, this configuration lends itself well to the use of Casa Giuliana as a guest house or rental property. You could live on one floor and host guests on the other, or lease both apartments for double the return. But there is nothing to stop you combining the spaces into one large family villa.
On the lower level, the entrance is through a nicely-sized covered veranda. To the right is a bathroom and to the left a storeroom, and this balanced layout continues within, as the front door leads into the central of a suite of three similarly sized rooms. This space would make a well-sized living room, with a kitchenette to one size. Each of the others feel like bedrooms, although as can be seen in our video and photographs, no decorations or fittings remain at this point.
Upstairs the layout is simpler and feels a little more modern. A single long living space opens onto a fabulous terrace of almost 20m2, from which the view down the green wooded valley to the Tyrrhenian sea in the distance is absolute perfection. A third bedroom is at the end of the long living space, although at the moment there is no bathroom on this level.
As we said before, our survey found no issues with the underlying condition of this family villa in Sicily’s green hills, but the sellers have completely stripped it, and there is obviously plenty of work to do to make it a habitable space again. The roof and floors are in good condition, but the windows will need to be replaced – which will, of course, pay dividends in the long run with reduced energy consumption. On this note, the electricity infrastructure is also in need of a comprehensive makeover.
However, the isolated position, sensational view and impressive quantity of space both indoors and out will all provide the buyer with an outstanding range of possibilities and potential – more on that in a little bit.
One final point that needs to be made on the theme of work to do is that the access road into the property will need to be relaid. Around 60m of tarmac or cobbles will be required to get you from your new front door to the nearest public road. Speaking of which, a bit about Casa Giuliana’s surroundings…
The property lies a short drive outside Pollina, a beautiful hilltop community in the Madonie Natural Park. We have always considered it one of the richest untapped markets on the island, away from the splashy headlines of the ‘1€ homes in Sicily’ promotions but offering first rate investment opportunities in an abundantly traditional and welcoming community.
Under the traditional exterior, Pollina has some surprisingly modern amenities. Some excellent local governmental leadership over recent years has provided the municipality with high speed fibre-optic internet, a smart recycling system, and a full and varied programme of performances in the village’s unbelievable open air theatre.
The Madonie Natural Park is protected land, guaranteeing that you won’t wake up one morning to find a new resort being built in Casa Giuliana’s peaceful valley. Rare flora and fauna run wild everywhere you look in this area of outstanding natural beauty, from the lower slopes around Pollina to the highest peaks, 2000m above sea level. At these heights you can ski and snowboard in the winter, and in summer tourists flock to take advantage of the outstanding paragliding opportunities the park has to offer.
Just a couple of kilometres downhill you will find a beautiful stretch of unspoilt coastline, with particularly lovely beaches at Tusa, Finale and Sant’Ambrogio as well, of course, as the legendary seafront promenade Cefalú. You can reach the volcanic Aeloian Islands by tourist boat from here, or by regular ferries from the port of Milazzo, just a ninety minute drive to the east.
From this well-connected position in central north Sicily, all of the island’s major tourist attractions are within an easy day trip. Magnificent Mount Etna lies to the south east, with the majestic harbour town of Siracusa and the villas of Catania just beyond. The ancient temples and unique cliffs of Agrigento in the South can be reached in a couple of hours. Palermo’s international airport is reachable in an hour and a half, and the island’s capital city teems with artistic, cultural and culinary treasures.
As we mentioned above, there is a certain amount of renovation work needed to make Casa Giuliana the beautiful holiday home it deserves to be. However, the challenge of renovating property in Sicily has always held an irresistible appeal, and Property in Sicily’s long track record of project managing this kind of work means that you will never have to take on the challenge without the support you need – as our delighted clients will confirm.
Of course, the scale of project you have in mind will be dictated by budget and personal taste, but we feel that a reasonable floor for your estimation would be around €60,000. This would allow you to take care of the bathroom situation, add a kitchen, install heating, redo the electrical and plumbing installations and take care of that access road, plus leaving room for decoration at the end of the work.
On the other hand, the sky is almost literally the limit, with such a spacious plot on which to work and the bones of a fine property as your canvas. We imagine a fully glazed wall in the upper living room, with a kitchen-diner suite at one end and a comfy living area at the other, all opening onto the stunning natural panorama beyond the terrace.
Obviously another option you might want to consider is the addition of a swimming pool. The usual budget for a nicely-sized private pool is around €25-30,000, but the subsequent increase in value to the property can make this an outstanding investment – not to mention the days and weeks you and your family or guests will spend cooling off in the sunshine and drinking in that stunning backdrop.
The downstairs configuration, too, could be modified to open things up and use the space more efficiently. Converting the bathroom to an en-suite is an obvious starting point, but you might also want to play with the distribution of space in order to make a larger common room. The little veranda is lovely, but you may want to clear away some of the greenery in order to maximise the view at this level. This could also create space for an outdoor kitchen, with a fixed barbecue suitable for grills or trying your hand at pizza cooking.
Whatever you have in mind for this family villa in Sicily’s most beautiful hills, our friendly international team is waiting to help!