Listing of the Day
Location: Mercatale, Tuscany, Italy
Price: €1.3 million (US$1.5 million)
In 1987, when David Lloyd-Edwards first encountered La Palazzina in Tuscany’s Niccone Valley, its land, 14th century watchtower and 250-year-old farmhouse were in a state of decline. The once tamed land had become overgrown with bramble, the large farming house had water flowing through its living room, and the stone tower had three precarious floors accessed only by a pair of aged, rickety step-ladders.
“It was a labor of love,” Mr. Lloyd-Edwards called the renovation process, which took many years of personal effort by him and his family. The family even had to dig their own well.
The interior of the tower was completely renovated and finished in 1990, while the farmhouse was taken apart and rebuilt with old and new materials to make it architecturally sound by 1995.
“The tower is a 600-year-old building with a completely modern interior,” Mr. Lloyd-Edwards said. “There is nothing else like it, certainly not in Tuscany.”
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The family used the renovated tower as a guest house, which provided them with an additional source of income, and visitors with a unique Tuscan experience.
Including a sitting room, kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom, the tower has a staircase that winds from floor-to-floor. Hints of the tower’s long history can be glimpsed in the exposed wood beams and splashes of stone and tile throughout the first two floors. Petite windows are in the tower’s top-floor bedroom.
The main residence, meanwhile, has an open, rustic interior fitting for a once functioning farmhouse. A soft palette of whites and pastels warm the interior, accented by the earthen tone of the exposed wood-beams in the ceiling. A large kitchen and several open rooms offer a variety of ways to entertain in the Tuscan countryside.
Thinking back on the experience both his family and the estate underwent, Mr. Lloyd-Edwards said, “We’re quite proud of what we did.”
Standing on nearly two square acres of land, La Palazzina includes three large bedrooms and three bathrooms in the approximately 1,291-square-foot main house, and two large bedrooms and one bathroom in the roughly 1,076-square-foot tower.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a Tuscan estate, La Palazzina features a variety of amenities, such as a 6-by-12 meter saltwater pool located behind the tower, a scenic garden bordered by tall cypress trees, a wood burning stove, and a double carport.
The tower is arguably the focal point of the property, and Mr. Lloyd-Edwards calls it “our showpiece.”
Originally built to protect the independent Kingdom of Sorbello from the papal-controlled region, the tower later acted as a safe point for escaped British prisoners of war during World War II, according to Mr. Lloyd-Edwards.
The home is secluded in the Niccone Valley in Mercatale, a small town in Tuscany. Encompassing many castles, villas and farmhouses, the compact area retains its ties to both its cultural heritage and regional history. The verdant land, meanwhile, offers an opportunity for a countryside bike ride, though Mr. Lloyd-Edwards warned: “It’s bloody hilly—a lot going up and a lot going down.” For those looking to escape to the city for a day, the town is only a couple hours’ drive to Florence, and two-and-a-half hours from Rome.
Agent: Annabelle Dudley, Savills Residential International
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