A unique opportunity to acquire a substantial, historic private estate in one of Tuscany’s most desirable locations and turn it into a global phenomenon.
"This is one of the most incredible properties in Italy,” says Francesco Carlucci, owner of Essentis Properties. “The chance to buy a real piece of Italian history.”
The property in question is an entire village: the historic, hilltop Poggio Santa Cecilia, 30 minutes from Siena. It dates back to the 1100s, although most surviving buildings are 16th century. It has been deserted since the 1960s and is now in need of extensive restoration. The price includes the entire village, with its medieval castle remains, a palatial main villa, streets of workers’ houses, piazzas, a church, stables, olive mill and former workshops, plus extensive underground cellars. Also included are 20 individual farmhouses with outbuildings that are dotted around the wider grounds. These comprise 700 hectares of agricultural land, orchards and olive groves, vineyards, forest, and lakes.
The village was owned until the mid20th century by the noble Buoninsegni family, and the estate workers lived in terraced houses in its ancient medieval walls. One of the highlights of its history was the visit in 1867 of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the celebrated Italian general and politician. A square in Poggio Santa Cecilia is named in his honor, and there are also letters from the general to the Buoninsegni family included in the sale.
In the 1960s, the estate was sold to a group of Italian investors, who have spent the past five decades building it into a successful organic farm. “Though we never developed the village to its full potential, we have worked hard to maintain the property,” says Fabio Menegoli, one of the owners. The vendors now hope to see a new buyer take over the agricultural business and restore the village. They are refusing to split the estate, which is being sold as one lot.
Carlucci, whose company specializes in historically sensitive construction and restoration work, has been engaged to advise potential buyers on the renovation and will undertake the work if required. He estimates the cost of returning the village to its former glory will be around €200m.
He believes Poggio Santa Cecilia would make a perfect private estate or boutique hotel and spa. However, he claims any buyer must be committed enough to see the restoration through. “A new owner needs enough heart and true passion for this project,” says Carlucci.