Casa Maddalena – Spacious Sea-view Home in Sicily’s Most Picturesque Region, Between Beaches and Mountains
Right at the heart of the beautiful hilltop town of Gratteri in the Madonie natural park, Casa Maddalena is directly on the shoulder of the town hall, in front of a pair of streets which host occasional farmers’ markets and within easy walking distance of everything the friendly little community has to offer.
Originally two separate homes, the fusion has created a three bedroom property with a pair of kitchens, two bathrooms and a lovely long living room with a sea-view window and balcony.
Both a gateway into authentic small-town Sicilian life and a convenient base for a beach holiday, just seven kilometres inland from the Tyrrhenian coast near fabulous Cefalù, Casa Maddalena is an affordable option as a second home, or a sound investment in the island’s burgeoning tourist sector.
Fully renovated, with new floors, roof and windows as well as an electrical system which has been updated in the recent past, this ready-to-use property comes at a tempting price for so much indoor space. If you are interested in buying a spacious sea-view home in Sicily at a medium , Maddalena has much that is worthy of consideration.
The square-cut building has a strikingly clean exterior in an orange-y shade of terracotta which is very typical of the region.
Its twin entrances are on opposite sides and levels, with the first leading into a floor which is semi-basement, built into the slope of Gratteri’s steep hillside. On this level a short hallway leads to a roomy kitchen-diner, with the huge blocks of masonry used to construct the historic home showcased in a patch of wall left free from the smooth plaster found everywhere else. The ceiling is made of exposed wooden beams in a medium tone, while the floors are easy-to-clean ceramics.
Across that entrance hallway is a little bathroom tiled in an appropriately nautical white and blue, and a bedroom heated and cooled by a modern air conditioning unit. Everything is pristine, gently colourful and inviting. A staircase then leads up to the true ground floor of the home, where we will find the other entrance.
At this level the main space is the wonderful twin living room, where the contrasting decorative styles of the two properties are on full display. An archway connects two distinct spaces. On one side is a modern space with a parquet floor, and the same pine-coloured wooden ceiling lending an almost cabin-like feel. It is brightly lit, with a small balcony overlooking an alleyway outside.
On the other side of the archway is a more traditionally Sicilian living room, with tiled floors and a hardwood ceiling. Here you will find a window which offers a view of the blue sea in the distance, and also a brick-built fireplace.
The second entrance to this spacious sea-view home in Sicily leads you directly into a second kitchen, not quite as large as the one downstairs, but finished with a colourful green and black-accented tile frieze. This has a window onto the street outside, and an adjacent bathroom with a shower, fully tiled in an oyster shell sandstone.
A semi-open staircase with wrought iron railings leads up to the second bedroom. Here a small window above the staircase on the northern side of the property offers a bit of sea view, while the main illumination comes from the one overlooking the marketplace outside. The heavy oak beams found in the more traditional half of the living room are present here, too, along with the tiled floor. There is also another air conditioner present.
The third bedroom is also on the first floor, but accessed up a separate staircase from the living room. This is heated by a radiator, and a little wood-burning stove is also present. The nicest feature of this room is a small covered terrace of about 8m2, from which vantage point you can overlook the rooftops of the surrounding houses, and even catch a glimpse of the sea.
Although radiators are not found in every single room, almost all have either this or an air conditioner, making Casa Maddalena a pleasant base for year-round living if you choose to take advantages of the significant tax breaks on offer for making this a permanent home in Sicily. Hot water comes from a pair of water heaters in the bathrooms.
The doors and windows are almost all recent replacements, in a mixture of aluminium and wood. Casa Maddalena is connected to municipal supplies for water, electricity and drainage.
Straddling Via Pace and Via Santa Croce, almost at the very top of the village, Casa Maddalena is absolutely at the heart of Gratteri.
Just a stone’s throw away are the bars and shops of Corso Umberto, the main thoroughfare of the picturesque Madonie town. As well as these, you will find a pharmacy, dental studio, health centre, school and a couple of nice restaurants. If you find yourself with more visitors than you have beds, the village also boasts a few highly rated guest houses.
The hills of the Madonie are a natural paradise, climbing to peaks of practically 2000m above sea level. In the winter you can even ski and snowboard in the mountains, an hour up the road.
In the warmer months you can spend many happy days exploring villages and towns like the fortified Castelbuono, home to an annual music festival and one of Italy’s highest-rated panettone bakeries. Nearby Collesano and Pollina offer some of the best value real estate in Sicily, and the iconic skyline and seafront of Cefalù, just a twenty five minute drive downhill, have been enticing visitors for many hundreds of years. Regular buses take you between all of these if you prefer not to drive.
An hour to the west, the great and storied city of Palermo is within easy reach by car. Its leafy boulevards and winding markets will carry you away to a hidden reality, with a world-famous street food scene, some boutique shopping opportunities and a revitalised seafront centred around a spectacular new marina. The nearest airport, the city’s Falcone-Borsellino terminal, is half an hour further on, either by car or public transport.
Thanks to the recent interventions, the property is absolutely liveable, with only kitchen fixtures and furnishings required to make a comfortable three bedroom property. We would perhaps advise budgeting to redo the pair of bathrooms in order to bring those up to the highest standard. In Sicily this can be achieved on a budget of between €4-6,000 per room, depending on your tastes.
If you are interested in installing showers and other features which are designed for use by people with restricted mobility, it may be possible to benefit from a 75% subsidy offered by the Italian government for removal of ‘architectural barriers’ to this end.
Otherwise the only work you will need to do on this spacious sea-view home in Sicily is decorating it to your own personal taste. If you would like any guidance from our friendly international team on where to find good value furniture in the area, both new and second hand, we would be delighted to offer our local knowledge.
If you plan on making Gratteri home and would like some advice navigating the transition to expat life, our Welcome to Sicily after-sales care package is the perfect helping hand through registering your new purchase, getting set up with utilities and learning the ropes of life in Sicily.