Newspaper article International New York Times

An Opportunity to Invest in an Italian Hilltop Village, Long Abandoned

Newspaper article International New York Times

An Opportunity to Invest in an Italian Hilltop Village, Long Abandoned

Article excerpt

The price of $44.6 million includes medieval castle remains, a palatial villa, streets of terraced workers' houses, piazzas and a church with bell tower.

The last inhabitants of Poggio Santa Cecilia, a village in Tuscany, abandoned it in the 1960s. Many residents left furniture in their unwanted homes, curtains at the windows and crockery in the cupboards. It has all been untouched since then, despite the village's having being sold into private ownership.

"We first started buying the farmland surrounding Poggio Santa Cecilia with the intention of raising organic cattle," said Fabio Menegoli, a member of the group of Italian investors that has owned the village and its surrounding estate for 50 years. "Though we never developed the village to its full potential, we have worked hard to maintain the property."

Having created a successful organic farm, the vendors are selling now because they are too old, they say, to continue to run the estate. They hope to see a new buyer take over the agricultural business in addition to restoring the village, and are adamant that the entire site be sold as one lot.

Priced at 40 million euros, or $44.6 million, Poggio Santa Cecilia is 25 minutes from the city of Siena, famous for its medieval center and annual Palio horse race. The village is on a hilltop amid thick woodland and dates to the 1100s, though most surviving buildings are from the 16th century and in need of extensive restoration.

The price includes the entire village, with remains of its medieval castle; a palatial 18th-century villa of 7,000 square meters, or about 75,000 square feet; streets of terraced workers' houses and piazzas; and a church with a bell tower. There are also partially restored stables, an olive mill and former workshops, as well as extensive underground cellars.

Included are 20 individual farmhouses of varying ages around the estate. …

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