Why do clients go crazy for that old character? Age is difficult to reproduce, and before the 1950s, the materials used for building houses were mainly natural and hand made. They used techniques for insulation that lasted a lifetime. They had storage areas for meats like dark cool cellars and cereals were stored in special rooms, sometimes hidden. The stables were on the ground floor and the people living on the first floor so the warmth of the animals could heat the house. I have looked over the features of 8 properties on the market to explain their origins and help you decide whether it is better to buy an old, original house or a modern and familiar structure. Happy reading!
One of the oldest buildings located in the historical center of Torino Di Sangro has been completely renovated. The owner was taken by the amazing views and mediaeval origins of the building and decided to buy it almost 15 years ago, and restore it to its original state. Well, I say original state, now it looks more like a warm home with amazing entertainment room, but, actually, its origins are as the local prison and cells in the 14th century. I imagine the property has never looked this good. The owner, a lover of art and Italian history and culture has spared no detail in the works to bring the building back to life. The ceilings are mainly vaulted and have been revealed and treated to bring out the real true colour of the old brick. The walls plastered using original techniques to strengthen their finish. The fireplaces and shelves have become interesting and beautiful focal points of the different rooms. It has now become a gem in this sleepy, Italian, seaside town where you can sip the local montepulciano red wine on the terrace staring out at the mountains, sea and rolling valleys. -MORE-
200 years ago, a farmhouse dominated the countryside around Palombaro, as it sat on the hill top looking across the valleys with a mountain backdrop. Today, the structure still stands in its original state, with some modern changes on the inside like electricity. The unusual shape of the structure and the balconies makes it an interesting and rare example of the era. The rounded balconies are a sign of wealth and prestige and the square roof with four slopes, again a local architect showing off his modern ideas. The structure seems to have remained sound, mainly because the roof has been constantly maintained and the property is now ready for a face-lift. - MORE -
Stone houses give a warm and vintage feel to your home, a step back into Abruzzo’s history. Stone properties are at least 70 years old, and their construction was very practical, perfect for insulating the property from both the heat and the cold. The location of the house would be next to a huge lump of rock which was cut into squares and used for building the walls and the need to transport stone was limited to a minimum. With some houses the stone has different colours. The house for sale has the traditional majella stone, a light grey shade, displaying long scratches from the hand held tools used to shape it. Some stone has a yellow or brown shade to it, reflecting the minerals in the stone, often as it was sourced near a river. The front door and windows have the large blocks of stone plastered for effect. - MORE -
A most interesting construction, they used brick columns in each of the corners of the house, tying the property together and keeping the structure straight and solid. In between the brick columns there are stones of various quality making up the walls. To emphasise the old brick columns, the windows and doors also have a brick frame giving a grand feel to the farmhouse. The cornice of the roof with a wooden structure, another well-preserved original feature from this fantastic example of a more unusual style of farmhouse. Located in an isolated spot with a mountain backdrop, this property has some attractive features. - MORE -
The old part of Fara San Martino is breathtaking for its history. There is a character full Main Square from which you can walk through the old, arched doorway to the original strong hold, still present today. Up the narrow, cobbled streets to a 15th century church and then walk along 50 meters you arrive at this very old house, no cars can pass. The outside walls are original and the inside was rebuilt in the 50s. From the roof terrace, you look across the terracotta, traditional Italian rooftops to the distant mountain views. This town is famous for its pasta and natural springs but the relatively unknown beauty hidden in the old part is a real treat. - MORE -
Original, old town houses, made of stone, are full of features, like this fine stone wall which has been plastered with traditional plaster to emphasise the original character. They are often in alleyways with little sun so the key to add real value to these little gems is to convert the roof to a sun terrace. This way, you get the history of the old town house with some modern features. - MORE -
When renovating old properties in Italy, wood is a real favourite material. It is light and strong, and authentic. Sold wood finishes really pay off. This property was completely renovated, now for sale, and the old roof was replaced by a solid pine wood roof. The doors and windows are all in solid wood, using original design, made from a local artisan. And that extra detail has made all the difference. The locals in the town see it as a proud example of foreign investment. - MORE -
One of the features old house offer, which are almost impossible to replicate are the tiled floors. This property has the original terracotta floors in some rooms and the coloured cement tiles in other rooms. The terracotta tiles were commonplace until the 50s. They can be shaved and polished to accentuate their colours and helping them to resist the needs of the modern household. The coloured cement tiles tend to be thicker and less practical and you will need a specialist builder to polish these and make them come to life as the coloured pattern is often not very thick / deep into the tile. Both types of tile need to be protected as they are easily stained from oil and difficult to clean. - MORE -
I would love to get your opinion!
Contact me to organise viewings and we can talk over whether you are more interested in old or new properties. Come over and check out Abruzzo, Central Italy.