Two-bedroom, Typically Sicilian Home with Roof Terrace in Pollina, the Nicest Village of the Madonie Park
Casa Giuseppina is a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home in the centre of a breathtaking medieval village. With a sea view from the top floor, and a large, welcoming terrace just beneath, it would make the perfect summer escape for a couple or a small family. Alternatively, if you are planning to invest in a rental property for the tourist market, its peaceful location and proximity to idyllic beaches and dramatic mountain scenery make it a very strong choice.
The property is in fact an apartment, but covering two floors of a four storey building, it has the feel of a small house. In an unbeatable location right on the main piazza of the town of Pollina, in the Madonie Natural Park, it is surrounded by amazing views, friendly neighbours and the perpetual scent of great food carrying in from the nearby windows and balconies. Soundtracked by the gentle chatter of locals in the squares and streets below, it is a full immersion in Sicilian culture, and an absolute treat for all the senses.
Sold with all of its current contents, theis lovely Sicilian home with roof terrace will definitely need to be slightly modernised, but does contain some really interesting old pieces which you’ll certainly want to hang on to. If you think this might be the kind of house you’re looking like to buy in Sicily, let’s take a closer look – both at the property itself and what you’ll find inside.
Casa Giuseppina’s front door is a beautiful antique, made of sturdy hard wood beneath a semi-circular wrought iron grille in a traditional Sicilian style. Passing through, you climb a narrow marble staircase which takes you past another apartment, on the first floor, and up to Casa Giuseppina on the second and third.
On the second floor you will find two bedrooms and a roof terrace, while on the third is a kitchen, a superb sea view balcony and a dining room. Let’s take a closer look.
The master bedroom, to the front of the property, is a fairly typically sized room with a balcony that overlooks a beautifully renovated stone building, housing a museum of the local delicacy Manna (more on this in a bit), and some of the central alleyways and piazzettas of Pollina. It has a high, coved ceiling and a very Sicilian marble effect floor tile which continues right throughout the property. The hardwood double bed is certainly of value, and this is matched by a long chest of drawers backed with a mirror which serves as a dressing table, and a huge wardrobe covering one entire wall, offering a huge storage space and a characterful link to the property’s past.
The second bedroom is slightly smaller, and currently furnished with a single bed – although there is certainly space to make this a double. It also has a nice chest of drawers and wardrobe, although these are smaller and less grandiose than the ones in the first bedroom. Between the two are a matching set of bedside tables, also in the same varnished hardwood style. This room is particularly bright and airy, thanks to a dual exposition. A large window overlooks the nearby rooftops and the town’s main church, while a full-length pair of French windows open onto a little Juliet balcony overlooking the terrace.
The terrace itself is a large space of 24m2. It currently houses a fully glazed solarium, but this, unfortunately was built without planning permission and will need to be removed. The good news is that this will allow you to make the best possible use of the terrace, with plenty of room to put an outdoor dining table, sun loungers and some form of awning or parasol to offer a little shade. It faces south east, meaning you get a beautiful exposure to the sun throughout the very best of the day. The view of the Madonie hills is really invigorating.
On the third floor, the bathroom is definitely in need of replacement. The dining room is a neatly sized space with a balcony directly above that of the master bedroom. There is some water damage here, but nothing of a structural nature. The plaster will need to be refreshed and a waterproof treatment applied to the roof – more on that in a bit. It has an interesting marble-topped dining table, a huge dresser and a smaller one with a glass front.
The kitchen is actually a really lovely space. It seems a little smaller than it actually is thanks to a somewhat dated brown tile which covers the walls, but with clean plaster or a brighter tile it would reveal itself to be the spacious, welcoming family space it has the potential to be. There are some fitted cupboards at head height and a modern suite of worktop, sink and drawers, all of which would be very serviceable going forward, at least in the short term.
Our favourite corner of all in Casa Giuseppina is the balcony off the kitchen. Here, you have a view of the church and hills, just as from the lower terrace, but the extra few metres of elevation lift you above the opposing rooftops, giving you a direct line of sight along the north Sicilian coast, and taking in the Tyrrhenian Sea as well as the surrounding countryside.
Pollina, an ancient fortified town with a population of a few thousand, was one of our top tips for finding value in the Sicilian real estate market, back in 2019. Since then, the small hilltop community has been thriving, and in the past few years alone Property in Sicily has helped nearly a dozen international buyers purchase, and in many cases renovate, some wonderful traditional townhouses and villas in the municipality.
Characterised by tranquillity and stunning panoramic views in all directions, it is a quiet town, but not without a strong sense of tradition, creativity and community. While then local economy is centred around agriculture, there is a growing interest in the artisanal ceramics for which the area is famous. The town boasts a stunningly beautiful outdoor theatre which is home to a season of summer performances for all the family, culminating in a spectacular festival of street theatre.
The building in which Casa Giuseppina is housed could not be more central to this community. Adjacent to the main piazza of the town it’s also just a stone’s throw from the cathedral. Moreover, the ground floor of the ‘palazzo’ townhouse is home to the popular ‘Bar Duomo’.
Directly opposite this, visible from the balconies in the front bedroom and dining room, is the museum we mentioned earlier. One of the town’s great prides is its production of manna, a sweet natural treacle obtained from underneath the bark of trees native to the region. If you have ever heard the expression ‘manna from heaven’, you will recognise this as being the original food of the gods’ in antique mythology. Well, here you will have the divine delicacy available just metres from your front door!
Pollina is a very walkable town, with all of the shops, bars, restaurants and services you need reachable on foot. Some of the cobbled streets are a little steep, but as the more senior residents of the village will testify, the secret is simply never to be going anywhere in a hurry. This dolce vita lifestyle of relaxed rhythms and time taken to savour the things that really matter – good food, good wine and good company – makes Pollina a haven for anyone looking to escape the stresses and strains of northern European life.
The entire surrounding region, in fact, is made to revitalise and invigorate the body and soul. The surrounding hills of the Madonie Park, a fabulous warren of hills which rise up into a full-blown mountain range, are a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors, at any time of the year. In spring and autumn you can enjoy the explosion of natural colours while hiking, trekking or cycling between the park’s many charming and historic towns. When the temperatures drop for the short Sicilian winters, lovers of snow sports will be able to ski and snowboard from the highest peaks, over two thousand metres above sea level. In the summer the fresh breeze that carries between the hillsides makes it an ideal spot to cool off in a shady piazza or on your very own sun terrace.
The iconic beach town of Cefalù is barely a thirty minute drive down at sea level, and there are beautiful beaches even closer than this at Finale and Sant’Ambrogio. Forty five minutes further up the road is the great city of Palermo, Sicily’s most important and Italy’s fifth-largest metropolis. As well as a phenomenal variety of food, music, art and shopping, including some legendary street markets and one of the most acoustically-perfect opera houses in the world, you will find the nearest international airport.
Between the good bones of the property and the excellent bits of furniture you will inherit, there is obviously plenty of potential waiting to be unlocked in this charming Sicilian home with roof terrace. However, some light renovation work will need to be done in the early stages of your ownership. Let’s start with the most pressing issues.
As we mentioned before, it will be necessary to remove the structure on the terrace. Once this is done, however, you will be free to use the newly created outdoor space as you please. Why not add a little dining area, or even a simple outdoor kitchen?
Also, you’ll have seen from our photos and videos that there is some light water damage to the living room. It will cost about €4-5,000 to give the roof a new weatherproof coating, and then of course you will want to make good the damage below.
It will be important to update the electrical system in order to bring the house in line with regulations and allow you to purchase a home insurance policy. Then the final pressing issue is, of course, the bathroom, which will certainly need to be replaced from scratch. You should allow €5-6,000 for the electrical work and around €4,000 for the bathroom.
Casa Giuseppina does not at present have any heating or cooling systems, and for short stays at the right times of year this would be no issue. However, if you are planning to use Casa Giuseppina for longer periods, in the heights of summer of depths of winter, or if you see it as a tourist rental, you will need to budget for this. Obviously the exact price will depend on your needs, but if you’re installing certain environmentally friendly products you may be able to qualify for some tax rebates under the celebrated Italian ‘Super Bonus’ system. Be aware, though, that the scheme is being phased out. You would need to move quickly to take advantage of this.
The good news is that there are already double-glazed windows with aluminium frames in place. These are not the absolute top of the range, but they are in good condition, so won’t be an urgent need to factor into the equation.
Casa Giuseppina is not ready to move into tomorrow, but it certainly won’t be one of the more demanding renovation projects we have helped clients oversee.