Viewing @ Lago di Bolsena
Today, the first day of February 2022 we had the most wonderful day out with Heidi and Lucky. Manuela and I had found a property we thought might be a really nice match for the needs of the Share-It Community project in Umbria. However we soon came to realise that most of the ones we had previously looked at were in the northern end of that region and we had seen very few we really believed met our criteria in either Tuscany (mainly because of the prices which are often nearly double to Umbria) or Lazio. So imagine our surprise when we drove to a point almost at the meeting of the three counties, this property being just into Lazio. Set in the foothills of a small bank of hills (Monte Marzo) north of the Lake Bolsena, about 1 kilometre from the main road and only 1.35km from the actual closest part of the lake, this very large ex-agritourismo villa stands proud and commands an impressive view of the entire lake.
For various reasons that the owner discussed with us in confidence, he had not used the villa or carried out business for almost 8 years. It was evident that quite a bit of tidying and reparations are needed to get it back into good living order, however the structure was in very sound condition. Built only 22 years ago it was seismic safe, compliant with all current electrical and plumbing requirements and had a below ground LPG tank installed for gas supply. The property had 3 wells available to the needs of our community as well as the mains connection from the local water supplier. As it had previously been in service as a restaurant, there is not one but two large kitchens and preparation areas, including all the equipment and even a large electric pizza oven. A bar area and other service spaces adjacent to the huge dining room easily capable of around 150 covers.
Outside, at the front of the property, was a large (200m2) swimming pool and long sun-bathing terraces. Though some repairs would be required to the pool (mainly a service and clean) the whole patio would need to be lifted and re-settled, in my professional opinion. I would not personally see this as a particularly costly repair, as most of it is a matter for re-using the original tiles and only leveling the sand base. Heidi had the idea of reducing the actual sizes of some of this patio, and replacing it with either herb or flower borders/raised beds. If we also reduced the use of the patios for vehicles and parked them at the rear of the property, this would increase the outdoor seating/dining/recreational space considerably, though to be fair space here wasn’t limited.
To the right hand side of the property, with the pool behind you, a large room, two bathrooms and a water storage/pump/filtration room, were mainly dirty and messy because some of the windows having been left ajar and birds nesting in these spaces. Though structurally good we thought that this would easily make a large groundfloor apartment with flat access directly into the gardens and pool area. Maybe a part of the very large kitchen, could also be converted/adapted to provide yet another apartment at ground level. Because the dining room was so large, much too big for our 12-25 member community, we again considered an adaptation of this space to include a small single apartment at ground floor, with level access, ideal for avoiding stairs.
The rear of the property was one level higher and led directly into 6 single bedrooms of which one was also a small apartment. We had an idea that someone had been using these spaces whilst the owner had been away and some small signs of damage were seen, though nothing that a few hours of tidying and repainting wouldn’t clear. It was obvious that due to lack of use and lack of ventilation in the rooms, that a repaint of all of these would soon have them in tip top condition again. At the front of the property, again climbing the internal/external stairs, we came to the first floor apartment, that shared the same level as the 6 apartments at the rear. This had a very large covered patio with great views out across the Lake and the gardens, facing almost completely south. The apartment was a little odd, in that it had only 1 bedroom and a living/kitchen/dining room, but with 2 individual bathrooms, one with a bathtub.
Further up the wide staircase we reached the pièce de résistance on the second floor. The views from here were quite stunning across the azure blue lake and surrounding landscapes. The apartment here was of 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a fully working kitchen with dining room. A fireplace for romantic mood setting occupied the south west corner of this room. At the back of the apartment through what was one of the bedrooms, a spacious rear terrace looked back into the hills and towards San Lorenzo Nuovo. This would make a lovely evening (warm yet shaded) terrace for community activities and or relaxation.
The owner who accompanied us on the tour showed us an adjacent property of which he also owned a large part. The structure was weirdly shared with two other people in a kind of mid-terraced house way. Between this property and the main building was a strip of land also included in the sale, and a metal stable/shed. The price of the other property seemed quite high for one that would need substantial reconstruction work, but because of this property’s location close to Lago di Bolsena and guaranteed building allowance without new planning permits, we understood its value better.
The owner and estate agents knew that we really wanted some land, ideally adjacent, and of approximately 3-10ha. They later took us to another plot about half a kilometre away which can be reached by walking within ten minutes or by car in about two or three. Two plots totalling 2.8ha more precisely, were on flat and very arable land, mainly of old olive trees, and several types of grape vines, including Merlot grapes. A private well and use of two communal wells showed that agriculture here would not be a hard job at all. The plot also had a little shack of about 15m2 that could also be used as a basis for a dwelling at some future point, and a tool shed and tea room in the more immediate times. To be totally frank, we loved this place and the feel it held. Closer to the main road than the house, but we couldn’t hear much noise or interference from passing vehicles.
We really feel that a revisit to this place is called for over the coming weeks and we thoroughly recommend any members to come down soon, and see how they feel about this as a forerunner for the project beginnings. A good thumbs up from all of us, including a paws-up from Lucky…
An article about the history of the lake. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Bolsena
Please get in touch and let’s see where the co-creation takes us all. The Share-It Team x