Home to renovate in Sicily
With a lovely position in a small hilltop town, close to Cefalù and just a ten minute drive from Sicily’s magnificent north coast, Casa Parini 2 is a restoration project bursting with potential. Finding the right home to renovate in Sicily is a challenge, as the eye-catching headlines of the ‘houses for €1’ schemes will always distort the market.
However, in this lovely little town of Caccamo, six hundred metres above sea level, we have found not one but two properties worthy of serious consideration. Keep reading to discover them both…
Casa Parini 2 stands on a quiet residential street, a corner terrace, like its neighbours built on three storeys. In an inimitably Italian shade of terracotta pink, its smooth plaster fascia is in good condition.
A quirk of historical redesign work means that there are currently two separate entrances to Casa Parini 2. On the ground floor, the sturdy wooden door opens directly into a long, high-ceilinged reception room with three small windows onto the street. With tiled floors, two adjacent storerooms and a bathroom, this is a large, versatile space which is currently under-used.
Around the corner, as Via Parini slopes up, it takes you to a side entrance which is actually into the body of the living area. Above the door the original wrought ironwork speaks to the noble lineage of this small but well-built palazzo town house.
A half flight of marble stairs leads up to a small landing, off which you will find a large rectangular living room with a kitchen corner in place. The fittings have been stripped, but they were in need of replacement in any case., and this will only make it easier to redesign the space to make the most of its full length window, balcony and decorative tile floor. This last contains some wonderful examples of the local majolica craft which will certainly be worth retaining and featuring in the final layout.
On the top floor is a large living room, a small bedroom and a little bathroom. Both the bedroom and reception space have their own balconies, offering rooftop views with some greenery in the middle distance. A little staircase leads up to some storage directly under the roof.
Outside, across the street, a small quadrant of garden land containing a few fruit trees is also listed for sale with Casa Parini. This is an option for purchasers both of Casa Parini 2 and its sister property, Parini 1. Like this house, Parini 1 also needs a lot of work, but has some great potential and remains in good condition structurally. Standing directly opposite, across the little side street from which they both take their name, it couldn’t be any closer or more conveniently positioned for a dual renovation.
Caccamo is a town of around 7,000 inhabitants, many of whose families have lived in the region for generations. With scenic views across the countryside and down to the Mediterranean sea that twinkles just 6km up the road, you will love its characterful atmosphere and traditionally laid-back pace of life.
The town has everything you need for day-to-day life, including convenience stores and supermarkets, pharmacies and surgeries, bars and restaurants. The nearest larger town is Termini Imerese, once a Roman spa town and still home to the luxurious hot baths of the Grand Hotel delle Terme.
Just up the coast, a short drive towards Messina and the Italian mainland, is Cefalù, the Norman town built in the shadow of its UNESCO World Heritage Site cathedral and the vast overhanging rock which towers over the picture-postcard beach resort below. Real estate here costs many times the price of Casa Parini, but with a small community which is itself offers beautiful views, and a short scenic drive all that’s separating you from the promenade at Cefalù, we think this offers the very best of both worlds.
An hour to the west is Palermo, the port city founded three thousand years ago by the Phoenicians and later ruled by every great Mediterranean civilisation. The modern Palermo, now Italy’s fifth-largest metropolis, still bursts with life, but the past decades have brought a resurgence of culture, food and international business. There are many fabulous galleries and museums (lovers of the decorative tiling in Casa Perini will enjoy the Museum of Majolica), and every autumn the Via dei Tesori festival opens up some of the city’s usually hidden treasures to the public.
Palermo is also home to one of the island’s two main international airports, putting the journey from Caccamo to all of Europe’s major transport hubs within just a few hours’ travel.
The area is a haven for lovers of outdoor sports, whether you enjoy the swimming, sailing and surfing at sea level or prefer the climbing, skiing and trekking found in the nearby hills of the Madonie natural park.
Of course, the culinary treats the island has to offer are second to none, with Michellin-starred dining options in Bagheria, Sclafani Bagni and Palermo. Not by any means that it is necessary to spend decadent money to find a mouth-watering treat in this part of the world: the rich soil, perfect climate and generations of inherited wisdom in the kitchen combine to guarantee you great food in any of the numerous towns and villages across Sicily. Even in Caccamo, the excellent A Castellana is run by the friendly Salvatore, who delights locals and visitors alike with his hearty fare.
As you would expect from the price tag, there is plenty of work to be done on this home to renovate in Sicily. However, the skeleton of Casa Parini 2 is in good condition, and the exteriors are pretty fair for a property of its age. The priorities will obviously be the bathrooms and kitchens, plus a full overhaul of all the installations and interiors. The roof may also need some attention.
It should be possible to restore the old staircase which connected the upper and lower parts of the property. This would open up the ground floor to a greater range of use, and improve the overall flow. The dual entrance is worth keeping, if only for the classic design of the upper doorway.
Speaking of the division of spaces, the landing on the first floor is not a terribly usable room as things stand, but by opening up more of the wall which separates it form the kitchen you could increase the size of your living room and let in more light throughout.
Similarly, on the top floor, the current bathroom is smaller than ideal, and the large living room is somewhat limiting for the sleeping capacity. A rethink here could, we believe, create a master and guest bedroom, still leaving space for a much roomier bathroom. That, plus a rethink of the ground floor, would create a house which has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and two reception spaces. For this kind of investment (we forecast the works as being in the order of €100,000, plus the final purchase price) that’s a very handsome return.
As we mentioned above, there is also plenty of potential for a joint purchase of this property and Casa Parini 1. While you would need to budget for the extra purchase price, labour and materials, there are obvious savings to be made by working on both simultaneously. Whether you decided to keep them together as a matching pair, operate them as a single guest house, or simply flip one to cover your investment on the other, we would definitely advise taking a close look at the prospect of a double bid. Don’t forget, either, that the garden space outside is also on the market.
Take a look at some of the testimonials and reviews provided by our many happy customers, or talk to one of our welcoming, multilingual team about your plans for Casa Parini today. We have years of experience in project management, and our versatile after-sales support packages are designed to make sure you have a local ally at your side, right until the last drop of paint dries on your fully restored Sicilian home.