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An Italian village and castle are on sale for $2 million


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(CNN) — Ever dreamed of owning your own secret citadel in a beautiful region of Italy, wandering along its fortified walls like a monarch watching over his kingdom?

For less than the price of a townhouse in central London or an attic apartment in the historic center of Rome, this dream can now come true.

The medieval castle and hamlet of Serravalle, halfway between the cities of Modena and Bologna in Italy’s northern region of Emilia-Romagna, is up for sale for 1.9 million euros, or about 2 millions of dollars.

Already habitable and equipped with heating, it requires only minimal repairs – and the price is negotiable.

Located in green hills, the castle is accompanied by a part of the village, which bears the same name and was once part of its stronghold, at its feet.

What is up for grabs is the 1,800 square meter overhanging original ancient fortification located 400 meters above sea level.

The property includes the majestic castle built on the ruins of pagan settlements, a majestic three-level 18th-century palace called Palazzo Boccadiferro, where the current owners occasionally live, a hunting lodge with woodshed, a four-story watchtower, a superb panoramic footbridge and a luxuriant park of 14,000 square meters.

“Not only is it very practical, around 1,000 euros per square meter, but it has enormous potential both as a private and silent retreat to unplug, or as an investment to turn it into a resort,” said Paolo Giacopini of ‘Immobiliare Giacopini, the real estate agency responsible for the sale, told CNN.

Secret tunnels and heated rooms

The castle was once appreciated for its strategic location.

Paolo Giacopini Immobiliare/Conforti Immobiliare

“The charm and the panorama are incomparable, surrounded by vineyards, in a strategic location between the two main cities of Emilia-Romagna, a wonderful region that is often mistakenly overshadowed by Tuscany when it comes to castles and mansions.”

Currently, the well-maintained estate is rented out for private events and conferences, but the current owners, who wish to remain anonymous, are no longer able to cope with managing the sprawling property.

They live at the castle during the summer months, says Giacopini, so it’s already habitable with heating, kitchen, utilities, fireplaces, several bedrooms and bathrooms. The two-storey hunting lodge, built like a rural house, is also heated.

While the castle is perfectly preserved, other parts of the property, such as the watchtower, built in 1227 and modified in 1523, may need some repairs.

Sumptuous Renaissance-style furnishings, including paintings, are also potentially up for sale.

Giacopini, who takes interested visitors on guided tours, says vendors are open to offers.

He explains that, given its historical and artistic value, the castle is under the guardianship of regional arts authorities who have imposed restrictions on radical structural changes such as converting a bathroom into a bedroom, or vice versa. .

Some of the historical features add an extra layer of intrigue. A secret underground passage connects the tower to the palace and was once used by guards fleeing enemy attacks.

The passage is cool in summer but freezing in winter. Giacopini says an American client who visited the property with him claimed his feet almost froze inside his sneakers.

Bloodshed and Glory

The property includes an 18th century palace.

The property includes an 18th century palace.

Paolo Giacopini Immobiliare/Conforti Immobiliare

Serravalle is steeped in history. The fortification was for centuries at the heart of territorial disputes and battles against invaders and neighboring fiefdoms. Prior to the unification of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, the country was divided into several city-states, or comuni, each vying for supremacy.

In the 12th century, the castle was fiercely contested by Modena and Bologna for its strategic military position. At that time, a castle was a small military microcosm that protected a large part of the lands, farmers and tenants.

The fortification, built on the ashes of an ancient Roman military outpost called Verabulum, was conquered and destroyed by Lombard tribes in the 8th century.

After its reconstruction, according to legend, the castle welcomed Charlemagne on his way to Rome to be crowned emperor, accompanied by French troops, in the 9th century.

Although it is quiet and peaceful, the property is not totally isolated. The village has a certain social buzz with 40 inhabitants, a frescoed church, a traditional tavern and a wine museum focusing on local rural life.

A large stone portal emblazoned with coats of arms and adorned with statues welcomes visitors at the entrance.

The estate has undergone several improvements over time. The palace, named after the Boccadiferro family (meaning “iron mouth” in Italian) who ruled it for four centuries, has been transformed from an ancient covered loggia into a stately noble residence. With a width of approximately 1,151 square meters, it is the largest part of the property.

ghost stories

A secret underground passage connects the palace to a nearby tower.

A secret underground passage connects the palace to a nearby tower.

Paolo Giacopini Immobiliare/Conforti Immobiliare

As well as the castello park, which is the ancient moat surrounding the hamlet with horse chestnut and ash trees, there is also a large hanging garden and courtyard areas ideal for evening drinks and sunset strolls. sun.

There is a creepy vibe. According to local lore, the castle and estate are haunted by the ghosts of a lord Boccadiferro who allegedly killed 12 successive wives. Their tormented, moaning and angry spirits are said to roam the halls and corridors at night seeking revenge, leaving whiffs of their scents in the air.

Giacopini considers them as simple tales.

“The current owner’s deceased brother wrote a research pamphlet on the history of the place and discovered that Boccadiferro was so in love with his only wife that he had her portrait painted several times in different clothes, so it seemed that ‘There were a lot of women but it was always just her,’ he says.

Serravalle is perfect for nature lovers as well as those wishing to sample the culinary offerings of the region.

The property is surrounded by farmhouse tavernas called agriturismi, serving succulent handmade tagliatelle al ragù and tortellini. There are also vineyards producing premium Pignoletto and DOC wines from the Colli Bolognesi.

Hiking, biking and horse riding trails run through the rural surroundings, while nearby is an 18-hole golf course.

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