Italian seaside villa for sale which is literally fit for a Princess (Princess Santa Borghese Hercolani). A unique property in Italy by the sea, adjacent to the beach and with direct sea access.
Unique Italian seaside villa for sale – Positano
in a unique position next to the Fornillo beach and carved into the cliff of Positano, a seafront villa with direct access from the sea. The villa has a surface area of 200 sqm with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms and has been finely restored giving life to something truly unique and unrepeatable. Destination of writers and artists in the first half of the twentieth century, the villa is now a splendid private residence that is regularly rented to tourists looking for a unique property to spend their holidays.
Access to the villa is mainly by sea, thanks to a berth located in a cave dug into the cliff directly under the building. Access by land is possible via a staircase that descends along the steep cliff.
The centre of Positano is about 600m away by boat, while Fornillo beach is practically next to the villa.
The main residence is structured on two levels comprising:
– Lower floor: hallway leading to the dining room, living room and office, hallway with cupboard, kitchen, wardrobe with terrace, pantry and stairs leading to the upper level; two large porches overlooking the sea allow you to organize outdoor dinners or simply relax in the pleasant climate of the Amalfi Coast;
– Upper floor: entrance, two bedrooms overlooking the large terrace with sea view (54 sqm) and shared bathroom, bedroom with private bathroom, service bathroom and access to the sea cave.
The villa is directly accessible from the sea passing through the cave (52 square metres) which opens below the building directly into the cliff. Entering you arrive by boat to a small cove with a door that then leads to the villa via a staircase.
The property then includes all the common areas of the complex, therefore entrances, stairs, walkways, gardens, access to the sea with storage for beach equipment and the keeper’s house (50 sqm), structured on one floor and consisting of three large vaulted rooms (currently living area with dining area and kitchen, two bedrooms) plus a bathroom and a terrace overlooking the sea (14 sqm).
The tower, in its present form, was built around 1582 and the peculiar pentagonal shape is certainly due to the presence in the same place of a Norman tower (or its remains) over which the new fortification was built.
The coast is in fact dotted with observation points, the oldest of which date back to the Byzantine domination of the 7th and 8th centuries. Already in the thirteenth century, the Angevins had erected a whole series of observation towers, typically circular in plan and with well-studied positioning, which served to warn the inhabitants on the coasts of potential attacks from the sea by pirates and Saracen mercenaries.
When in the sixteenth century the raids of Turkish pirates became more frequent and organized, often resulting in indiscriminate massacres (such as the dramatic episodes of Cetara and Conca dei Marini, respectively in 1534 and 1543), the viceroy of Naples Don Pedro Álvarez di Toledo ordered the construction of a series of new towers, bigger and more resistant, along the entire coast. The project involved square towers located every 4,000 (or 5,000) steps from each other.
However, also due to lax state administration, just thirty years after their construction most of these towers were already in need of major renovations, if not reconstruction. When the Bourbons were resettled on the throne of Naples in 1815, after the Napoleonic interlude, the towers were all disarmed and abandoned to be converted into private homes, small lighthouses or telegraph stations.
The property was purchased in 1909 by the Swiss architect and intellectual Gilbert Clavel. After a careful renovation, in the 1920s the tower became the meeting point for artists, writers and painters such as Depero, Picasso, Cocteau and Marinetti.
Clavel’s idea was to expand the tower to the Fornillo beach and so the entire cliff began to be excavated with the aim of building rooms, tunnels, caves and corridors. The extracted stone was used to renovate the tower and build the walls of the villa which now extends along the cliff in a series of arcades, terraces and galleries. A large natural cave was discovered in the mountain during the works and the initial idea was to convert it into a music room, given the excellent acoustics. However, the place was affected by collapses and subsidence and all attempts to stabilize the structure were in vain. Gilbert died on 6 September 1927 without seeing his dream complete and left his brother René to complete the work. The villa was ultimately purchased in 1954 by Princess Santa Borghese Hercolani who promised to preserve and enhance Clavel’s vision. The property is now owned by the descendants of the princess who have decided to convert the building into a series of splendid holiday homes that allow everyone to admire the property in all its beauty.
Among the many who visited the house we have already mentioned the painter, sculptor and illustrator Fortunato Depero: the artist had a very close relationship with Clavel, at least for a period, and the two collaborated in various works (including I Balletti Plastici, the work that allowed Depero to enter Roman society). Over the years, Clavel bought various works of his friend and as many were given to him.
Most of these remained in the tower when Princess Hercolani bought the property and, according to René Clavel, she saw no sense in taking them away from the tower they had always been in. To date, the works have been donated by Princess Hercolani to the faithful keeper of the tower and are on loan to the Mart of Rovereto, which has also curated their exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
- TYPE: Unique Italian seaside villa with natural sea grotto
- CONDITION: Restored
- LOCATION: Waterfront with boat access
- MUNICIPALITY: Positano
- PROVINCE: Salerno
- REGION: Campania
- INTERIORS: 200 square metres (2,152 square feet)
- TOTAL ROOMS: 10
- BEDROOMS: 3
- BATHROOMS: 3
- MAIN FEATURES: Stone walls, a natural grotto with direct access from the sea, sea view portico, paved terraces with gardens, vaulted ceilings, terracotta and parquet flooring, wooden fixtures, keeper’s house
- LAND: 2,000 square metres (0.5 acres)
- GARDEN: Small gardens on the terraces
- ANNEXES: Keeper’s house
- ACCESS: By sea, on foot
- SWIMMING POOL: No
- ELECTRICITY: Already connected
- WATER SUPPLY: Mains water
- TELEPHONE: Already connected
- ADSL: Yes
- GAS: Tank
- HEATING SYSTEM: Air conditioning
- CLOSEST CITIES AND TOWNS Positano (600m; 3’), Praiano (7km; 15’), Conca dei Marini (12km; 25’), Amalfi (16km; 30’), Maiori (22km; 40’), Ravello (23km; 40’), Massa Lubrense (23km; 40’), Pompeii (37km; 1h), Naples (59km; 1h 15’), Vietri sul Mare (63km; 1h 20’), Salerno (66km; 1h 25’)
- CLOSEST AIRPORTS Napoli Capodichino (62km; 1h 15’), Salerno Costa d’Amalfi (84km; 1h 30’), Roma Ciampino (265km; 3h 10’), Roma Fiumicino (291km; 3h 30’)
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