Town House in the Madonie with Views of Etna
This semi-renovated Palazzo, stretching four storeys up and totalling 166m2 of habitable space, is found in the heart of the hilltop community of Pollina in Sicily’s green Madonie hills. Just a few kilometres from the sea and with views that take in the distant summit of Mount Etna to the east, this is a superb location in which to renovate a house in Sicily, start a new life in the sun, or even develop a small guest house.
Whilst the history of Palazzo San Giuliano stretches back around a hundred years, the skeleton of the house – walls, floors, foundations and roof – is in excellent condition having been replaced to a high standard just twenty years ago. The owner took advantage of public funds made available for earthquake-proofing old buildings in the aftermath of a tremor which hit Sicily in 2002.
We talk and hear a lot about the ‘One Euro Houses in Sicily’ promotions run by towns like Mussomeli and Castiglione, but the truth is that this public funding makes this better value than any of them. Paying commercial rates (never mind the inflated ones which can come with the €1 house offers) you would never be able to get this kind of comprehensive restructuring work done for the asking price of €45,000. As always, the real value lies outside the splashy offers and headline-grabbing schemes.
At present, as the photos above show, the house is semi-finished and needs a lot of work. However, with the structural challenges taken care of, you would be free to work at your own pace, and the charming views and traditional touches offer a fabulous canvas for your design team. Will you leave some ceiling beams or sections of masonry exposed for a rustic touch, or do you prefer the clean lines of a northern European finish? You will really be able to get especially creative with the spectacular cellar space, with its high, vaulted ceiling.
Check out our guide on how to renovate a house in Sicily for tons of great tips and advice.
Above ground there are two or three rooms per floor. Each above-ground level benefits from a balcony, and there is a twin entry from two sides. The large windows offer great views and plenty of natural light. It has southern and eastern aspects, so catches plenty of sun in the morning and stays bright through the afternoon. There is even a small terrace, measuring 8m2.
Pollina is a close-knit and friendly community, picked as one of our top tips for investing in Sicily. On top of one of the ancient hills of the Madonie Natural Park, it is surrounded by beautiful countryside for trekking, hiking and even (in the winter) skiing! Filled with rare species of plants, trees and animals it is a paradise for nature lovers.
Travelling downhill you come swiftly to an undeveloped stretch of coastline dotted with various small beaches. If you prefer the gelaterias and postcard stands of a more established beach town, you won’t want to miss a chance to explore nearby Cefalù, one of the most beautiful little towns in the entire Mediterranean.
Property in Sicily has helped several overseas purchasers make a home in this traditional spot, and you will find a friendly mix of neighbours. Palazzo San Giuliano is at the very heart of things, just around the corner from the main square and the incredible outdoor theatre. It’s worth noting that on two of the wider streets in the town, it will have no access issues to complicate the building project.
The island’s capital Palermo is within easy reach by car. No longer dogged by the old stereotypes of crime and under-investment, Palermo was Italy’s capital of culture for 2018 and is currently undergoing a billion-Euro facelift with huge investment in public spaces and transport links.
Clearly there is still much to do here, and the final investment total will depend on your tastes, budget and how much work you want to do yourself. We imagine the finished Palazzo as three independent flats, whether for different generations of the same family, vacation letting or even resale.
The ratio of price to work done here would make this an extremely interesting project for someone looking to invest for the first time in Italy. Millions have dreamt of coming to renovate a house in Sicily and as a lifestyle choice it can be an extremely rewarding project. For the cost-conscious investor there are a huge range of subsidies and tax breaks available – if you know where to look.
We are hugely experienced project managers should you wish to take a back seat during this process. Our network of professionals would be ready and waiting to help you with the design, realisation and legal aspects of the work. Just look at these testimonials from past customers we’ve helped create their dream home in Sicily.