Decorating & Design

December 31, 2012

19th-Century Italian Villa

Old estates — the kind that are passed down through generations, closets and bookshelves slowly filling — may come with more maintenance, but they also have an atmosphere that can’t be faked. If your family doesn’t have a seat for you to inherit, this seaside Italian villa could be your chance to get that authentic, centuries-old feel. Let’s take a peek at this heirloom property, built for the Siemens family in the late 1800s.

Tucked between the sea and the mountains on Italy’s northwestern coast, Forte dei Marmi has long been a bustling summer resort. (Perhaps that’s why they needed to put that road right in front of the house.) Built in the middle of a spacious garden close to the seashore, the nine-bedroom villa was designed to take advantage of the beach and Mediterranean breezes.

The sunny living room opens to a terrace with an ocean view, but also has slightly darker touches, like that birdcage and similarly sized stuffed bird. It’s casual enough for a sunny day, but mysterious enough to explore on a rainy day — just think of what could be in those massive built-in cabinets.

The equally relaxed lounge mixes cheerful florals with distinguished details like the fireplace, vaulted ceiling and wooden shutters. Throughout the home there are floors and stairs in local Carrara marble. (Forte dei Marmi, which means ‘fort of marbles,’ is at the foot of the mountains where it’s quarried.)

And speaking of marble, here’s one of the home’s nine bathrooms, done up in a stunning blue-grey stone. The sconces are a little old-fashioned (and I would ditch the curtains reflected in the mirror immediately), but the combination of statement marble and brass fixtures is quite modern.

Even the pool has a bit of historic charm; instead of a lagoon of bright turquoise water, it’s a simple, classic stone circle that reflects the green lawn and trees. Other amenities include a grass tennis court that could, in a pinch, serve as a soccer field, too.

What do you think? Would you step back in time to summer at this villa?

Photo credits:
1-5. Rome Sotheby’s International Realty