CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Italian villa that inspired Pinocchio: AND THE BILLIONAIRE SQUARE

 

 

 

 

  The property features beautiful tiered Baroque gardens which were first imagined by the architect Diodati The dilapidated Durham Cottage, the former home of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Chelsea, west London, is on the market for £7.5m after failing to sell at auction yesterday    

Wall-to-wall frescoes, baroque gardens and a butterfly house: The Italian villa that inspired Pinocchio goes on sale for £150MILLION

The beautiful villa where Pinocchio author Carlo Lorenzini spent his childhood is on the market.

Those interested in delving into the inspiration behind the world's most famous marionette, can buy the property for a mere £150million.

Five-storey Villa Garzoni in Collodi, 65km from Florence, well known as 'Pinocchio’s villa', was built in 1600, boasts 40 bedrooms and measures 3,032 square metres. Inside, the main rooms are decorated with frescoes by renowned Italian artists, including Angelo Michele Colonna.

The partially restored property is elevated above one the most spectacular Italian baroque gardens in the whole of the country.

Lionard Luxury Real Estate, which is behind the sale, compare Villa Garzoni’s elaborate gardens, first imagined by the architect Diodati to those, at Versailles and Fontainbleau in France and Schonbrunn in Vienna, Austria.

Created around 1650 for the Roman marquees Garzoni and completed more than 170 years, the garden, which is dotted with waterfalls and fountains is open to the public and features a Butterfly House, home to hundreds of tropical butterflies.

The whole estate is shrouded in history, and attracts thousands of visitors each year, which is why Lionard is targeting a foreign market that 'understands the potential and invests in improving and increasing the touristic demand linked to the fable of Pinocchio'.

Looking to buy? The 5500 square metre estate, known as Villa Pinocchio, is on the market for around £150million

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Looking to buy? The 5500 square metre estate, known as Villa Pinocchio, is on the market for around £150million

Quite roomy: The 3,032 square metre property consists of five floors and 40 bedrooms, not to mention sprawling gardens and butterflies

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Quite roomy: The 3,032 square metre property consists of five floors and 40 bedrooms, not to mention sprawling gardens and butterflies

The partially restored property boasts one of the most spectacular Italian baroque gardens in the whole of the country

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The partially restored property boasts one of the most spectacular Italian baroque gardens in the whole of the country

Ornate: Inside, the main rooms are decorated with frescoes by top Italian artists, including Angelo Michele Colonna

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Ornate: Inside, the main rooms are decorated with frescoes by top Italian artists, including Angelo Michele Colonna

The property features beautiful tiered Baroque gardens which were first imagined by the architect Diodati

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The property features beautiful tiered Baroque gardens which were first imagined by the architect Diodati

An insight into the past: Villa Garzoni was built in the mid-1600s and has 40 spacious bedrooms

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An insight into the past: Villa Garzoni was built in the mid-1600s and has 40 spacious bedrooms

The mansion is located in Collodi, a medieval town dating to the 12th Century and is typical of the villas of the Lucca province

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The mansion is located in Collodi, a medieval town dating to the 12th Century and is typical of the villas of the Lucca province

Magnificent: The elaborate gardens were created in 1650 and were tended to by author Carlo Collodi¿s family members

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Magnificent: The elaborate gardens were created in 1650 and were tended to by author Carlo Collodi¿s family members

The estate attracts thousands of visitors each year, which is why its sellers are targeting a foreign market

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The estate attracts thousands of visitors each year, which is why its sellers are targeting a foreign market

Ancient relics: The partially restored palace is just 65km Florence and is shrouded in history and fable

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Ancient relics: The partially restored palace is just 65km Florence and is shrouded in history and fable

 

A medieval castle in Tuscany set over more than 1,500 acres has gone on sale in Italy making it the largest private home on the market. 

The stunning estate found slightly east of Siena boasts farmhouses, vineyards, woodland and sunflower fields in its grounds. 

Built in the early 12th Century it is one of few medieval castles which remain in Europe and is thought to have been the home of Pope Pius II and III at one time. 

The property, whose owners wish to keep themselves and the castle's name unknown, is being sold by Sotheby's International for 28 million euros - almost £20million. 

Scroll down for video 

A medieval castle in Tuscany set over more than 1500 acres has gone on sale for just under £20million making it the largest private home on the property market

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A medieval castle in Tuscany set over more than 1500 acres has gone on sale for just under £20million making it the largest private home on the property market

The castle has its own restaurant where wines made from the grapes in its vineyards are served alongside produced farmed from the grounds

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The castle has its own restaurant where wines made from the grapes in its vineyards are served alongside produced farmed from the grounds

While it is not known who first lived in the castle or commissioned its construction the property remained in the hands of one prominent family for centuries. 

The Piccolomini family are thought to have lived there intermittently from the 15th Century. Two of the family's most notable members, Enea Silvio Piccolomini and Francesco Piccolomini went on to become Popes Pius II and III. 

Little is known of how the noble family cultivated their wealth other than that many of their riches were acquired through trading. 

Having spent decades in the ownership of the family, the castle it changed hands sometime in the 1920s.

The new owner remained anonymous, selling on the sprawling estate again in the 1980s. 

It has since remained in the possession of its current owners who refused to disclose why they were moving on. While estate agents are reluctant to reveal exactly where in the rolling Tuscan hills the special property can be found, they promised it to be one of rare value. 

'It's very rare in Italy to have a medieval castle, there are so many that came before and after, mostly after, but to find a medieval one is rare,' said John Jonk, who is handling the sale for Sotheby's International. 

'All the original fireplaces and ceilings are in tact. It's a very special opportunity.' 

While in total the estate has more than 100 bedrooms most are found in farmhouses and smaller properties scattered across its grounds. These are rented out as holiday accommodation while its vineyard and restaurant attracts diners. 

In the castle itself are 10 bedrooms and as many bathrooms, a drawing room and dining room. 

Elsewhere on its sprawling grounds are sunflower fields and farmland, added Mr Jonk. 

The villa just east of Sienna is one of few from the early 12th Century which remain in Italy. All its fireplaces and ceilings have been preserved from their original state 

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The villa just east of Sienna is one of few from the early 12th Century which remain in Italy. All its fireplaces and ceilings have been preserved from their original state 

Aside from the property's 10-bedroom main castle there are several farmhouses scattered around its grounds from the same era 

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Aside from the property's 10-bedroom main castle there are several farmhouses scattered around its grounds from the same era 

The Piccolomini family are thought to have lived in the castle intermittently from the 15th Century and two of the family's most notable members, Enea Silvio Piccolomini and Francesco Piccolomini went on to become Popes Pius II and III

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The Piccolomini family are thought to have lived in the castle intermittently from the 15th Century and two of the family's most notable members, Enea Silvio Piccolomini and Francesco Piccolomini went on to become Popes Pius II and III

The castle is a very rare find in Italy because it dates back to medieval times, according to John Jonk, who is handling the sale for Sotheby's International

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The castle is a very rare find in Italy because it dates back to medieval times, according to John Jonk, who is handling the sale for Sotheby's International

Mysteriously the existence of the castle is not widely known and it has never really been filmed or appeared on television

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Mysteriously the existence of the castle is not widely known and it has never really been filmed or appeared on television

The castle also has its own chapel and vineyard. It belonged to the same family for generations before being sold privately in 1920 

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The castle also has its own chapel and vineyard. It belonged to the same family for generations before being sold privately in 1920 

Another historic mansion set in Tuscan countryside (related)

 

'There's a lot of woodland, there's a vineyard. 

'From some parts of the property there are views of Siena too.' 

Although the property is one of the few remaining of its kind in Italy it has remained mysteriously off the radar for decades. 

'That's the interesting part - there have been television crews that have come from Rome over the years and have interviewed people in the restaurant in the castle but it hasn't really been used for filming or anything like that,' Mr Jonk said. 

In its restaurant staff serve red wine and food produced on the grounds. With herds of boar and deer roaming its fields too there is no shortage of wildlife to entertain visitors. 

'When people talk about organic foods, this is what is meant. In Italy everything is still quite good that way, it's very organic.' 

Despite its large price tag, Mr Jonk added the property had attracted attention from all over the world. 

'We have had interest from European buyers and non-European buyers. 

'It's a special opportunity for someone who can afford it but, as I tell my clients, to find an exclusive property in London nowadays wouldn't cost much less.' 

For more information contact Sotheby's International Realty here

The estate has more than 100 bedrooms in total with most being found in farmhouses and smaller properties scattered across its grounds

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The estate has more than 100 bedrooms in total with most being found in farmhouses and smaller properties scattered across its grounds

Set in its 1500 acre grounds are vineyards and sunflower fields. Sotheby's International Realty described the sale as a 'special opportunity' 

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Set in its 1500 acre grounds are vineyards and sunflower fields. Sotheby's International Realty described the sale as a 'special opportunity' 

The estate agents have been reluctant to reveal exactly where in the Tuscan Hills the stunning estate is, but they promise the property is of rare value  

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The estate agents have been reluctant to reveal exactly where in the Tuscan Hills the stunning estate is, but they promise the property is of rare value  

The estate has attracted interest from potential buyers across the globe , despite its rather large price tag

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The estate has attracted interest from potential buyers across the globe , despite its rather large price tag

From some parts of the extensive grounds the 12th Century property was said to boast stunning views of the Siena

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From some parts of the extensive grounds the 12th Century property was said to boast stunning views of the Siena

Sotheby's John Jonks said: 'It's a special opportunity for someone who can afford it but, as I tell my clients, to find an exclusive property in London nowadays wouldn't cost much less.'

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Sotheby's John Jonks said: 'It's a special opportunity for someone who can afford it but, as I tell my clients, to find an exclusive property in London nowadays wouldn't cost much less.'

YOURS FOR THE SAME PRICE, A THREE-BEDROOM MAIN ROAD FLAT IN CENTRAL LONDON

With sprawling grounds, multiple smaller properties and access to your own vineyard, many can see the perks of paying £20million for their own Tuscan castle in Italy. 

But any hopes of snapping up a similar deal closer to home have been dashed by the ever inflating prices of London flats. 

For roughly the same price as the castle near Siena, house-hunters can just about afford a three-bedroom flat in the heart of the capital. 

While One Hyde Park apartments afford owners an exclusive postcode and plush surroundings - set between Harrods and Harvey Nichols in London's Knightsbridge - the glass-fronted flats don't quite offer as much space. 

In fact the internal floor space of one flat sold last year for more than £20million was less than 4,000 sq ft. 

The living room in one of the three-bedroom flat at One Hyde Park, a luxury apartment complex in Knightsbridge

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The living room in one of the three-bedroom flat at One Hyde Park, a luxury apartment complex in Knightsbridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Belgrave Square in central London is one of Britain's most expensive addresses
  • A majority of the owners of the properties on the square - 27 out of 30 - are foreign nationals
  • Prices range from £7 million for a mere apartment up to an estimated £60million for a house

From the outside,  elegant Belgrave Square appears exactly as it was when Thomas Cubitt first built its grand houses in the 1820s – exclusive, noble, expansive – and, famously the London home of the British aristocracy.

But behind the opulent facades, a quiet social revolution has been taking place: most of the square’s grand mansions have now been bought by foreign multi-millionaires, including some whose wealth is so outrageously vast they are listed as billionaires.

Using offshore companies to avoid scrutiny, and stamp duty, the international super-rich have been discreetly acquiring the capital’s trophy assets – making this, in the process, the richest residential square in the country. 

Expensive address: Most of Belgrave Square in London has now been bought by foreign multi-millionaires, including some whose wealth is so outrageously vast they are listed as billionaires

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Expensive address: Most of Belgrave Square in London has now been bought by foreign multi-millionaires, including some whose wealth is so outrageously vast they are listed as billionaires

A short car tour of the Belgrave Square and London area

 

The buyers are typical of the brash new money flooding into London, which hosts 72 billionaires – ten per cent of the world’s total –not to mention a growing number of super-rich worth £100  million or more.

And they are paying hugely inflated prices for houses, ranging from £7  million for a mere apartment up to an estimated £60  million – for ‘homes’ which in many cases are rarely occupied. Last week it was reported that London has become the millionaire capital of the world per head of population, ahead of New York and Tokyo, based on analysis by the New World Wealth consultancy.

The owners of Belgrave Square symbolise this new wealth. The majority are resident but non-domiciled which means they do not have to pay tax on their overseas income.  For this privilege they pay an annual fee of £50,000 – petty cash for an oligarch or tycoon.

Despite prices now at £3,000 per sq ft, London remains the most attractive place for the foreign rich to park their money and educate their children. And they reside in a tiny enclave of which Belgrave Square is the epicentre.

Dominated by embassies and consulates, there are fewer than 30 homes, but at least five of the owners are billionaires. Only three are owned by Britons, and few are occupied full time. At night it has a ghostly feel.

Here we introduce some of  the more notable members of the residents’ association…

Fomichev

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Gennadiy Bogolyubov

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Barclay Brothers

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Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah

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Sheikh Mohammed

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Sheik Jassim

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Oleg Deripaska

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notable residents

 

 

 

The dilapidated ivy-covered mansion which was used as a love nest by Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh is on the market for £7.5million.

Sir Laurence bought the four-bedroom property in Chelsea, west London, to share with his new lover in 1937, after splitting from their respective spouses  following their secret affair.

They moved into the home while working together on Fire Over England and christened the detached two-storey house, which they owned for 19 years, Durham Cottage.

The dilapidated Durham Cottage, the former home of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Chelsea, west London, is on the market for £7.5m after failing to sell at auction yesterday

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Dilapidated: Durham Cottage, the former home of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Chelsea, is on the market for £7.5m after failing to sell at auction yesterday

The ivy-covered property, which was used by the celebrity couple between 1937 and 1956, has a garden covered in leaves and weeds but is being marketed by estate agents as a 'magical unmodernised house in the heart of Chelsea'

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Ivy covered: The house has a garden covered in leaves and weeds but is being marketed by estate agents as a 'magical unmodernised house in the heart of Chelsea'

But despite its romantic history - and being located in one of the most prestigious parts of London -  the property failed to sell at auction on Tuesday night.

A petition on change.org set up by what has been called The Vivien Leigh Circle', which is calling for the property to be listed by English Heritage, said there had been a final bid of £6.9m.  The cottage, which is on the market with several estate agents, has a run-down garden which is covered in leaves and weeds, while the inside of the house also appears to be in a dilapidated state.

As well as its four bedrooms, a reception room, a garage and two bathrooms, the house is set in its own grounds behind a stucco wall and pillared gates.

The property, which includes this run-down reception room, was run by the couple's small staff of a cook-housekeeper, Vivien Leigh¿s personal maid and a daily cleaner. Speaking in 1954, the British actress complained about 'drawbacks' to the inner city cottage

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The property, which includes this run-down reception room, was run by the couple's small staff of a cook-housekeeper, Vivien Leigh's personal maid and a daily cleaner

The house has four bedrooms, a reception room, a garage and two bathrooms and is set in its own grounds behind a stucco wall and pillared gates

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Private: The house has four bedrooms, a reception room, a garage and two bathrooms and is set in its own grounds behind a stucco wall and pillared gates

The former coachman’s cottage, which is described as agent Russell Simpson as a 'magical unmodernised house in the heart of Chelsea', was built in 1850 and bought by Sir Laurence for him and his lover to live in while they worked together for the first time on the 1937 film, Fire Over England.

It was run by their small staff of a cook-housekeeper, Vivien Leigh’s personal maid and a daily cleaner. But speaking in 1954, the actress complained about 'drawbacks' to the inner city cottage.

She said: 'It is in London and we’ve furnished it for our life here. It has a lot of drawbacks.

The former coachman¿s cottage was built in 1850 and bought by Sir Laurence for him and Lady Olivier to live in while they worked together for the first time on the 1937 film, Fire Over England

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History: The former coachman's cottage was built in 1850 and bought by Sir Laurence for him and his lover to live in while they worked together for the first time

'Nobody visiting it would ever dream it could be inconvenient or that those ‘fascinating’ stairs winding around, with the landing forming a balcony in the drawing-room, could be a nuisance.

'Several years ago we built on the dining-room. Before that we used to eat in the entrance hall - you can imagine the drawbacks to that.'

Sir Laurence and Vivien Olivier began an affair at the height of their careers, while married to other people.

After initially concealing their relationship, they eventually split from their spouses and married in Santa Barbara, California, in 1940.

Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh began an affair at the height of their careers, while married to other people. After initially concealing their relationship, they eventually split from their partners and married in Santa Barbara, California, in 1940

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Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh began an affair at the height of their careers, while married to other people. After initially concealing their relationship, they eventually split from their partners and married in Santa Barbara, California, in 1940

Born in Darjeeling, India and educated in Europe, the actress won two Academy Awards for her roles in Gone with the Wind, made in 1939, and A Streetcar Named Desire, made in 1951.

But she received almost as much attention for her personal life and relationship with Sir Laurence.

The pair had a tumultuous relationship and Sir Laurence had affairs with other actress in the 1950s, including Claire Bloom, with whom he co-starred in Richard III.

Olivier and Leigh divorced in December 1960 after which Sir Laurence married actress Joan Plowright. He died from renal failure at his home in Sussex in July 1989.

He became one of just a few actors to be given the honour of his ashes being interred in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Vivien Leigh - who was considered one of the most beautiful actresses of her day - began a relationship with the actor Jack Merivale after the divorce. She died in July 1967.

 

 

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