An Italian village and castle are up for sale for  million

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

An Italian village and castle are up for sale for  million

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(CNN) — Have you ever dreamed of owning your own secret citadel in a beautiful region of Italy, wandering along its fortified walls like a monarch surveying their reign?

For less than the price of a central London terraced house or a penthouse in the historic center of Rome, that dream can now come true.

The medieval castle and hamlet of Serravalle, midway between the cities of Modena and Bologna in northern Emilia Romagna, is up for sale for 1.9 million euros, or around $2 million.

Already habitable and equipped with heating, it needs only minimal corrections and the price is negotiable.

Nestled among green hills, the castle has at its feet a portion of the village of the same name, once part of its fiefdom.

Up for grabs is the original and overlying ancient fortification of 1,800 square meters located at 400 meters above sea level.

The property includes the majestic castle built on the ruins of pagan settlements, an eighteenth-century mansion on three levels called Palazzo Boccadiferro, where the current owners occasionally live, a hunting lodge with woodshed, a four-story watchtower, a splendid panoramic walkway and a luxuriant park of 14,000 m2.

“Not only is it very affordable, roughly up to 1,000 euros per square metre, but it has enormous potential both as a private and silent retreat to switch off, and as an investment to transform it into a resort”, Paolo Giacopini of Immobiliare Giacopini, the real estate agency handling the sale, he told CNN.

Secret tunnels and heated rooms

The castle was once appreciated for its strategic position.

The castle was once appreciated for its strategic position.

Paolo Giacopini Real Estate / Conforti Real Estate

“The charm and the panorama are incomparable, surrounded by vineyards, in a strategic position between the two cities of excellence of Emilia Romagna, a wonderful region that is often wrongly eclipsed by Tuscany when it comes to castles and manors.”

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 running the large property.

They live at the castle during the summer months, Giacopini says, so it’s already habitable with heating, a kitchen, utilities, fireplaces, several bedrooms and bathrooms. The two-storey hunting lodge, built as 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, could use some corrections.

Sumptuous Renaissance-style furniture, including paintings, is also potentially up for sale.

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

She explains that given its historical and artistic value, the castle is under the supervision of regional arts authorities who have placed limits on radical structural changes such as turning a bathroom into a bedroom or vice versa.

Some of the historic 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 toured the property with him said his feet almost froze inside his sneakers.

Blood and glory

The property includes an eighteenth-century building.

The property includes an eighteenth-century building.

Paolo Giacopini Real Estate / Conforti Real Estate

Serravalle is rich in history. The fortification has been at the center of territorial feuds and battles against neighboring invaders and fiefdoms for centuries. Before the unification of the kingdom of Italy in 1861, the country was divided into many city states, or comunes, each vying for supremacy.

In the 12th century the castle was bitterly contested between Modena and Bologna due to its strategic military position. In those days, a castle was a small military microcosm that protected a large portion of land, farmers and tenant farmers.

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

After being rebuilt, legend has it, the castle hosted Charlemagne on his way to Rome to be crowned emperor, accompanied by French troops, in the 9th century.

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

A large stone portal, decorated with a coat of arms and adorned with statues, welcomes visitors at the entrance.

The estate has undergone several updates over time. The palace, which takes its name from the Boccadiferro family (which means “iron mouth” in Italian) who ruled it for four centuries, was transformed from an ancient covered loggia into a majestic noble residence. Approximately 1,151 m2 in size, it is the largest portion 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 Real Estate / Conforti Real Estate

As well as the castle park, which is the ancient moat surrounding the village featuring horse chestnut and ash trees, there is also a large roof garden and courtyard areas ideal for sundowners and sunset walks.

There is a ghostly atmosphere. According to local tradition the castle and estate are haunted by the ghosts of a lord of Boccadiferro who is said to have murdered 12 successive wives. Their tormented spirits, wailing and angry, are said to roam the corridors and halls at night seeking vengeance, leaving whiffs of their perfumes in the air.

Giacopini rejects them as simple stories.

“The late brother of the present owner wrote a research pamphlet on the history of the place and found that Boccadiferro was so in love with his only wife that he had her portrait painted several times in different dresses, so there seemed to be many women but it is always it was just her,” she says.

Serravalle is perfect for nature lovers and those looking to sample the region’s culinary offerings.

The property is surrounded by taverns called agriturismi, serving succulent tagliatelle with ragù and hand-made tortellini. There are also vineyards that produce fine Pignoletto and Colli Bolognesi DOC wines.

Trekking, biking and horse riding trails wind through the rural setting, while an 18-hole golf course is nearby.

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