|Village / Town:||5 mins|
|Beds / Baths:||4 / 4|
|Garden / Pool:||Yes / yes|
|City or Zone:||Cortona|
This estate is more than just Location! Location! Location!
South facing, on a hillside with awe inspiring views out over the Esse Valley and situated in the Pergo area of Cortona which is in itself a prime location, it ticks all boxes:
it has a vineyard, an olive grove, a mature garden dedicated to a wealth of lovingly nurtured shrubs, a little pond, a swimming pool and 2 hectares of surrounding land interspersed with secular cypress trees and a few maritime pines that provide welcome shade during the summer months.
The villa (440 sqmts) has 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms a modern kitchen and a vast living room and dining area with high ceilings and double French windows all leading out to the terrace and garden. In addition to this there is a gorgeous mezzanine gallery in the sitting room area built in old chestnut wood (currently used as a study) and a wonderful light-filled conservatory with a barbeque and bread oven and sliding glass doors that lead directly out into the garden. There are also some storage rooms and a wine cantina for the preparation and storing of the estate’s home grown wine which is a mix of San Giovese, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes.
The internal spaces are larger, lighter and loftier than is generally common for Tuscan farmhouses.
This is due to the property having been built and designed by a well established architect from Rome just after the Second World War. The architect, engaged by the property’s Baroness owner who had fallen in love with Cortona and its surrounding area, had a great deal more freedom than one would today with a traditional restoration and used this to his advantage to create spaces in which natural light enters the house.
The graciousness and airiness of the vast sitting room and dining area are a great plus for entertaining and large family gatherings. The conservatory with its traditional bread oven and barbeque allow for sun filled meals even during the cooler spring and autumn months. The large double French windows in the various reception areas allow a maximum of natural sunlight even during the shorter winter months. A superbly designed property – perhaps unsurprising given that it was an eminent architect’s dream home!
The property has been on the market for some years. It began with a very inflated price tag, but has since come down in price making it a competitive and exciting proposition. Manageably sized vineyards and olive groves are few and far between. Add to this the magnificent views and the exceptional location – also within walking distance of an extremely well stocked and popular village – it is a one in a million proposition.
It is just 8 kms from the historical town centre of Cortona, a hilltop town – larger and more lively than most –dating back to the Etruscans and which is easily reached via Perugia or Florence airports (50 and 90 minutes respectively).
New planning regulations in place, would allow the main house to have an extension of 40 + 40 sqmts or a separate annex of the same proportions.
THE UNIQUENESS OF CORTONA: Cortona, unlike any other Tuscan hilltop towns, has become in recent years a burgeoning destination for fine wines and fine dining almost as much as it is for art, history and culture.
Each year, new visitors arrive in the town and are enchanted by its beauty, its vibrancy and its eclectic mix of both Italian and international residents.
It must be one of Tuscany's most unique hilltop towns: It sits on a hillside dominating the vast expanse of the Valdichiana and enjoys spectacular views over the plains towards Montepulciano and Lake Trasimeno.
It dates back to the Etruscans and is rich in history. The Romans and the Medici family both fought to have and retain this special hilltop citadel and in their turn, greatly influenced and contributed to its architecture and its development. Its star shone throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance; as such there are treasures to be found throughout the town.
It is one of the largest municipalities in Tuscany with 25,000 habitants, 2500 of whom live within the ancient walls of the town, and the remainder in the outlying countryside.
It has an excellent infrastructure with two main line rail stations (Rome-Florence-Milan) and access to all major motorways. Perugia airport is 40 minutes away, Florence 1hr 30 minutes, Pisa, Bologna and Rome approx. 2 hrs.
Perhaps not so strangely, Cortona has a very high percentage of return visitors, many of whom have bought property and all of whom cite the same mantra - 'Cortona has something special'.
Maybe this is because of its rich cultural season of theatre, literary recitals, classical concerts, art shows, photographic exhibitions and music festivals, with many events based on the culture of 'slow food' gastronomy combined with fine wines (many of which are local and acclaimed worldwide - Avignonesi, Baracchi, Vegni).
Maybe it is because its numerous restaurants which offer fine dining together with prestigious Italian wines create an opportunity to sample the true 'Mediterranean diet': Osteria del Teatro, La Locanda nel Loggiato, AD Braceria, Trattoria Dardano, Ambrosia and La Bottega Baracchi (to name just a few).
Or maybe its because of its vicinity to the best of what Tuscany and Umbria has to offer - Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino, Val d'Orcia, Florence, Gubbio, Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto, Spello etc…are all within a radius of 90 minutes or less. The Maremma and its beautiful coastal towns such as Punta Ala and Castiglione della Pescaia are less than a two hour drive.
More probably it is because Cortona has intelligently embraced the challenge of modern times. Unlike so many ancient Italian towns destroyed by mass tourism and/or unchecked building regulations, Cortona has not compromised its authenticity, even in the aftermath of Under the Tuscan Sun, the famous book made into a film by Cortona's resident writer, Frances Mayes. It has managed instead to carve itself a unique niche in the wider world and as any visitor to the town will attest, it has a vitality and sense of purpose that sweeps you off your feet and grabs at the heart strings. Cortona has a history of ‘standing out’ and no more so than now, having developed a future not dependent on tourism, but on excellence.