Unbelievably Affordable Two-bedroom Holiday Home in Gratteri, Half and Hour from Cefalù
A three storey, affordable two-bedroom holiday home in a picturesque location, Cassetta Pietrarossa is found on the outskirts of Gratteri in Sicily’s stunning Madonie Natural Park.
Simply decorated but modern inside, it offers some lovely design touches left over from a recent restoration, including rustic feature masonry and modern staircases in hardwood and iron that would not be out of place in any New York or Berlin loft apartment. With a bathroom, ground floor kitchen and a view of the nearby town and mountainside, the little house is practical and low maintenance.
Listed at an incredibly low asking price for quick sale, it will require only a very limited further investment to make it absolutely as it deserves to be, and nothing whatsoever to bring it to a point at which you could move in. Just half an hour away in fashionable Cefalù, there are houses not much larger than this where the rental cost for a single three month stay in summer would set you back the sale price of this home.
If you like the idea of putting your personal touch on a Sicilian property, but don’t want your first foray into the market to be a comprehensive restoration project, Cassetta Pietrarossa is perfect for you.
Let’s take a closer look…
Nestled next to a larger palazzo building (more details about this in a second!), Pietrarossa is only partly visible from the street, with a partial exterior facade in typical Sicilian plaster and two shuttered windows on display.
Stepping through the sturdy wooden front door, you enter a kitchen-living room, with nice tiled floor and a lovely exposed stone wall at the far end, nodding to the medieval origins of this historic hilltop village. There is a simple kitchen area with a gas oven, sink and cupboard units, and more than enough space in the long room for any size of dining table you could need. The area under the staircase could perhaps accommodate a sofa and television, if you wanted to create a cosy lounge space.
The open staircase, as we mentioned before, is a recent addition and is both stylish and practical. The same construction has been used for the landing and the stairs between the first and second floors.
On the first floor is a reasonably large double bedroom, big enough for your bed and a wardrobe. You could add a desk or dresser if you wanted to without sacrificing usability. Along the corridor is a bathroom with a shower, decorated in simple white and grey tiles, with a shower, sink and WC. Everything has been well-maintained or recently replaced and is in good working order.
Upstairs is a single bedroom, around 20m2 in size, with a floor in grey marble-effect tiling. A little cosmetic work will be needed to refresh the painted walls, and the window could be replaced with a more energy-efficient equivalent, but the sheer size of the room is enough to compensate. The view from the bedroom is not infinite, but nice enough, taking in the surrounding rooftops and the nearby green hillside as it rises above Gratteri.
The water and electrical infrastructure are all in good shape, and there is an intercom system on the front door. Cassetta Pietrarossa doesn’t currently have any heating or air conditioning in place, but the thick walls and relative lack of external space do keep the place well insulated.
Cassetta Pietrarossa is located midway up a sloping cobbled street, just above a leafy piazza on the edge of Gratteri. The property next door, Palazzo Muffoletto, a larger home with a nice roof terrace, is also available for sale through Property in Sicily.
Gratteri is a wonderful example of traditional Sicilian village life, with gorgeous panoramic views over the hills and nearby villages of the Madonie Natural Park and the brilliant blue sea just 6km downhill to the north.
Home to around a thousand residents, it is overwhelmingly populated by locals who have spent their entire lives in these hills, with a smattering of retirees and smart workers escaping the bigger cities of the island or northern Europe to a life of simplicity, calm and wonderful food. We’ve always known it was one of the best value spots to find property on the island, and we don’t think even the ‘€1 house in Sicily’ promotions can compete with the prices you’ll find here – Cassetta Pietrarossa is a wonderful example of this!
You’ll find a mini-market, bars, a pizzeria and a restaurant within walking distance, as well as a pharmacy and a little pub right around the corner. When you need to do a bigger shop, there are supermarkets, white goods and clothing stores and more just twenty minutes downhill at Lascari, where you can also join both the main motorway which connects you to Palermo in the west and Messina in the east, and the smaller state road taking you to Cefalù and Termini Imerese.
The Madonie are an underappreciated jewel in the crown of Sicily’s natural beauty. With opportunities to go hiking, biking or trekking in all directions, and sensational scenery all around you. Whether you want to discover the unique variety of wildlife making their homes on its green hillsides or the amazing culinary treats lurking in every town and village, there is an absolute treasure trove at your fingertips.
The closest place to catch a plane north is Palermo, an eighty minute drive away, although Catania is not much further afield, reachable in around two hours. Between these options you can be pretty much anywhere in Europe within half a day’s travel. And of course all of Sicily’s treasures, from the baroque splendour of Siracusa to the ancient temples of Agrigento, the dramatic slopes of Mount Etna and the unmissable vineyards of Marsala, are within a few hours’ drive.
As we explained above, there is nothing that urgently needs to be done to Cassetta Pietrarossa. If your intention is simply to buy an affordable alternative to the costly summer rents in the area, and are philosophical about investing gradually over time, you could buy it, move in straight away, and spend a summer here.
You’ll want to repaint, and check the gutters on the top floor, but the roof is in good condition. The first floor window is new, so it’s only the upper bedroom that will need an eventual replacement.
If you are planning to spend extended periods of time here, obviously a heating system would be a sensible addition, and perhaps a cooling one too. A pellet-burning stove could be added on the ground floor, with pipes to carry the heat up to the bedrooms, for a much lower spend than would be necessary to plumb in radiators. If you install one before the end of 2024, an eco-friendly model of such a stove would qualify for a 50% tax credit, under the Italian Bonus system for sustainable home improvements.
Of course, you might also want to look at air conditioning, and in the long term the lighting options for a house which does not receive a lot of daylight could be redesigned a little. But Cassetta Pietrarossa doesn’t claim to be a luxury mansion. What it is – and to a remarkable extent – is an incredibly affordable two-bedroom holiday home in a spectacular location.