multimedia  › Real estate

Russian mystery buyer pays €6 mn for Tuscan seaside villa, new luxury hotel in the works

by Andrea Carli

An Russian buyer has spent €6 million to buy one of the most beautiful villas on the Tuscan coast, and plans to transform it into a new luxury hotel, said real estate company Lionard Luxury Real Estate, which negotiated the sale.

The Villa Godilonda, previously owned by the Bulgari family of jewellry fame, had been abandoned for seven years.

“The negotiation for the sale of Villa Godilonda began over eight months ago, and was complicated by the fact the property was owned by numerous individuals. The property is not in good condition having been abandoned for many years,” said Dimitri Corti, CEO of Lionard

Villa Godilonda is not only one of the Tuscan coast’s most beautiful villas, it’s also one of the most storied. Gabriele D'Annunzio, one of Italy's most important writers, is said to have given it its name from “godi l'onda” or “enjoy the waves,” after having spent a romantic and passionate night here at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Built at the end of the nineteenth century on the land of Baron Patrone (who owned Castle Pasquini), in 1924 it was bought by America’s Carter family and after the war became the summer residence of the Bulgaris, before being transformed in the 1980s into a hotel where famous Italian actors stayed when visiting the seaside resort of Castiglioncello: from Marcello Mastroianni to Vittorio Gassman and Walter Chiari. In 2007 it was closed indefinitely.

Constructed on the tip of a promontory, like the bow of a ship, the property is composed of the main villa of roughly 1700 square meters with 28 bedrooms with stunning views; a winter garden and a spa where you can have a sauna, massages or Turkish bath. The property is surrounded by 11,000 square meters of park and mediterranean scrub, a private beach and the possibility of creating a helipad complete the property.

Russians snap up Italian real estate.

“In recent times our market research has shown the majority of clients interested in the purchase of historic homes and luxury villas have come from Eastern Europe, in particular Russia and Turkey,” said Corti. “The clients of the future will be Asian: China and Hong Kong in the lead. Today 90% of clients for these types of properties are foreigners who are not searching just for a luxurious home but for a dream, a way of life, the memories of important history. The market is similar to that of art and antiques because we are dealing with unique structures.”

The Italian Economy Ministry aims to sell off its public real estate holdings. Last year, for example, State Property Office paid €10 million to rennovate Villa Tolomei, a public property which consists of seven buildings on the Florentine hills, nearby Marignolle (Florence). Once transformed into a five-star hotel, it was leased for 50 years to private operators.

The crisis has made some of these properties extremely desirable in terms of price. A few months ago Villa Pontello was sold, formerly belonging to Count Flavio Callisto Pontello, builder and ex-president of the football club Fiorentina. Villa Corcos is for sale, which belonged to Italian actor Alberto Sordi. The price tag? “Just” €15 million.