CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Saturday, September 19, 2015

La Dolce Vita:Italy's golden era

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return of the ghost coast: Italian resort where rich and famous lived La Dolce Vita in the 1950s set for rebirth with lavish hotels and multi-million-pound villas

  • Castiglioncello was the preferred summer escape for the stars of Italian cinema's golden era
  • It fell out of favour in the 1980s and beyond but now appears to be in the midst of a resurgence 
  • Lionard Luxury Real Estate has 16 multi-million properties on the market in the Tuscan seaside town
  • Famous Italian actor Alberto Sordi's former residence Villa Corcos on the market for more than £7million

There was a time when Castiglioncello was the playground of Italy's most beautiful people, a favourite seaside haven for those who marked the golden age of the country's cinema that brought films such as La Dolce Vita to the silver screen. 

 

It was la dolce vita - the sweet life - that they came for as they sipped Tuscany's famous Chianti either in the confines of their lavish villas or in the town's famous nightclub la Ciucheba until it all unravelled in the 1980s.

Stars of the era including La Dolce Vita star Marcello Mastroianni, along with Vittorio Gassman, Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Paolo Panelli e Bice Valori and many more called the town their temporary home while movies such as Il Sorpasso and Pellegrini d’Amore featuring a young Sofia Loren were filmed there. 

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The sweet life could be yours for more than £7million at the former residence of famous Italian actor Alberto Sordi

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The sweet life could be yours for more than £7million at the former residence of famous Italian actor Alberto Sordi

The lavish interior, restored with class by the most recent owner, of Sordi's summer residence in the seaside town in Tuscany 

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The lavish interior, restored with class by the most recent owner, of Sordi's summer residence in the seaside town in Tuscany 

A beautiful ocean view from the study that includes touches of the lives of Sordi and the original owner, painter Vittorio Corcos

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Subdued opulence in the bedroom that lets the view of the sea do the talking

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Beautiful ocean view one bedroom (right) and the study that includes touches of the lives of Sordi and the original owner, Vittorio Corcos

But as the town that once unseated Sorrento as a favourite summertime escape for the well heeled fell out of favour, the deluxe villas that had been popping up since rich baron Lazzaro Patrone bought up the coastal land in the late 1800s were often left with for sale signs hanging at the front and their stunning views without anyone to enjoy them. 

But a relaunch is on, says Lionard Luxury Real Estate's Ian Heath, who recently sold one of the village's most iconic properties and is delighted to see it returned to its former glory as a hotel and has another, the former residence of one of Castiglioncello's most famous residents on the books.

On the market with Lionard is the Villa Corcos, the summer haven for Alberto Sordi from 1962 to 1997. One of the most beautiful villas in Castiglioncello, it has breathtaking views from its 9,700 square foot main house and 6,500 square foot lodge terrace.

The property listed for more than 10 million euros (£7m) is just one of 16 multi-million pound properties the agent has listed while Villa Pontello was also recently sold on behalf of Count Flavio Callisto Pontello, the builder and ex-president of Serie A football club Fiorentina.

Built originally by the baron patron for the painter Vittorio Corcos, hence its name, Sordi bought the villa from the artist's daughter and used it as a place to retreat to rather than a home, like many of his contemporaries did with their coastal properties.

The property has breathtaking views from its 9,700 square foot main house and 6,500 square foot lodge terrace

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The property has breathtaking views from its 9,700 square foot main house and 6,500 square foot lodge terrace

Sordi owned Villa Corcos from 1962 to 1997 and it remains one of the most beautiful villas in Castiglioncello

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Sordi stars in 1961 film The Best of Enemies

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Sordi (right in 1961's The Best of Enemies) owned Villa Corcos from 1962 to 1997 and it's still one of the town's most beautiful villas

The Italian entrepreneur who next bought the property restored the villa to its former glory and paid tribute to the past owners by including portraits of Sordi and Corcos in the reworked study.  

The property is described by Lionard as 'a most iconic slice of that bygone era' and the purchaser has 'a chance to contribute to the rebirth of this once great holiday town.' 

Castiglioncello, with just 3,000 inhabitants and very little scope to expand, is dubbed 'agreeably unpretentious' these days by Lonely Planet.   

Seemingly untouched by mass tourism, its beaches are pristine while the Pasquini Castle, built in the late 1880s by Baron Patrone, is a reminder of its past glories and now used by the Municipality for cultural events including a traditional dance festival, and literary and photography competitions.  

One of the more remarkable structures of the town and formerly owned by the wealthy Bulgari family, Villa Godilonda is being reinvigorated as a lavish hotel by an unnamed Russian businessman who bought it for £4.3m late last year.

The property's main villa has 28 bedrooms, a winter garden and a spa with sauna, massage rooms and a Turkish bath, and is nestled in 11,000 square metres of park and Mediterranean scrub. It also has a private beach and space for a helipad.

Beautiful drone footage captures villas in Castiglioncello

 

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Villa Godilonda is being reinvigorated as a lavish hotel by an unnamed Russian businessman who bought it for £4.3m late last year

Stars sipped Tuscany's famous Chianti either in the confines of their lavish villas or in the town's famous nightclub la Ciucheba until it all unravelled in the 1980s

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Stars sipped Tuscany's famous Chianti either in the confines of their lavish villas or in the town's famous nightclub la Ciucheba until it all unravelled in the 1980s

Villa Godilonda is one of the more remarkable structures of the town and was famously owned by the wealthy Bulgari family

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Villa Godilonda is one of the more remarkable structures of the town and was famously owned by the wealthy Bulgari family

The property's main villa has 28 bedrooms while outside there is a private beach 11,000 square metres of park and Mediterranean scrub

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The property's main villa has 28 bedrooms while outside there is a private beach 11,000 square metres of park and Mediterranean scrub

Surrounded by greenery and water, the villa has a winter garden and a spa with sauna, massage rooms and even a Turkish bath

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Surrounded by greenery and water, the villa has a winter garden and a spa with sauna, massage rooms and even a Turkish bath

Castiglioncello nestles on a stunning stretch of Tuscany coastline

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Castiglioncello nestles on a stunning stretch of Tuscany coastline

Built at the end of the 19th century, Godilonda was owned by the American Carter family from 1924 and after World War Two became the Bulgari's summer residence.

It became a hotel in the 1980s but closed in 2007. After years of dilapidation, the villa with the name that translates to 'enjoy the waves' - as given by writer Gabriele D’Annunzio after a romantic night there - is getting a rebirth as 'one of the most luxurious and beautiful hotels in the world'. 

'After the degradation of the last years, the villa can finally live again, and contribute to the relaunching of one of Tuscany’s most beautiful seaside resorts,' says Lionard's Heath. 

An old postcard show Castiglioncello was a bustling haven for the rich and famous before the economic downturn in Italy during the 1980s

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An old postcard show Castiglioncello was a bustling haven for the rich and famous before the economic downturn in Italy during the 1980s

The pristine stretch of sand of Castiglioncello with multi-million pound villas towering over it in this beautiful retro shot

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The pristine stretch of sand of Castiglioncello with multi-million pound villas towering over it in this beautiful retro shot

There was a time when Castiglioncello was the playground of Italy's most beautiful people

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There was a time when Castiglioncello was the playground of Italy's most beautiful people

It was a favourite seaside haven for those who marked the golden age of the country's cinema that brought films such as La Dolce Vita to the silver screen

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It was a favourite seaside haven for those who marked the golden age of the country's cinema that brought films such as La Dolce Vita to the silver screen

 

 

 

 

 

La Dolce Vita: Oozing timeless glamour, STUNNING photographs of Italy's golden era reveal why the country has been an A-lister favourite since the 1950s

  • Nostalgic black and white shots reveal how holidaymakers of yesteryear flocked to Rome, Positano and Venice
  • Candid day-to-day images showcase market stalls of Naples, priests reading outside the Vatican and a child barber
  • Country provided cinematic canvas for La Fortuna di Essere Donna and legend Sophia Loren is pictured on set

Unapologetically beautiful, even in nostalgic black and white shots it’s hard to disguise the A-lister appeal of Italy.

Capturing the timeless charm of the Mediterranean gem, this series of candid images from the 1950s showcases a lively mix of day-to-day life including a man selling cherries at a market stall in Naples, a pair of priests reading L’Osservatore in Vatican city and a child barber shaving an elderly client.

The traditions of yesteryear are preserved in these photographs of girls on the Venetian island of Buran learning the art of making lace, boys playing in a local band and villagers in Abruzzo celebrating the May Festival.

The pictures also reveal that holidaymakers have long flocked to the country’s glamorous hotspots of Positano and Venice and that celebrities were attracted by a glittering calendar of car races and bicycle championships.

During this golden era, Italy was inspiration for several Hollywood classics. The country provided the cinematic canvas for La Fortuna di Essere Donna at Ostia Antica and acting legend Sophia Loren is pictured on set.

Take a step back in time with MailOnline Travel to appreciate Italy’s enduring star quality. 

Roman holiday: An Italian labourer watches an American tourist walking her poodle down the Spanish Steps in Rome circa 1955

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Roman holiday: An Italian labourer watches an American tourist walking her poodle down the Spanish Steps in Rome circa 1955

City of romance: A gondolier navigates his way through Venice, in front of St Mark's square circa 1950

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City of romance: A gondolier navigates his way through Venice, in front of St Mark's square circa 1950

Mediterranean heat: A tour boat leaves harbour for the 'Blue Grotto' on the isle of Capri circa 1955

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Mediterranean heat: A tour boat leaves harbour for the 'Blue Grotto' on the isle of Capri circa 1955

Spring showers: A schoolboy walks through the rain in Saint Mark's Square, Venice, surrounded by Saint Mark's Cathedral and the Doges' Palace, circa 1958

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Spring showers: A schoolboy walks through the rain in Saint Mark's Square, Venice, surrounded by Saint Mark's Cathedral and the Doges' Palace, circa 1958

Fruits of labour: A man sells cherries from a market stall in Naples while punters watch on, circa 1952

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Fruits of labour: A man sells cherries from a market stall in Naples while punters watch on, circa 1952

Vacation hot spot: Holidaymakers enjoy the sunshine and a swim on the beach at Positano, Italy, circa 1949

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Vacation hot spot: Holidaymakers enjoy the sunshine and a swim on the beach at Positano, Italy, circa 1949

Two women hailing a Vespa Taxi-Scooter, a new type of taxi built for two passengers, in Milan circa 1952

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Two women hailing a Vespa Taxi-Scooter, a new type of taxi built for two passengers, in Milan circa 1952

Fast cars: Italian driver Alberto Ascari steers his Lancia at the finish line of the 1000 Miles race in Rome in 1954

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Fast cars: Italian driver Alberto Ascari steers his Lancia at the finish line of the 1000 Miles race in Rome in 1954

The Reschen Lake in southern Tyrol, Italy which covers the sunken village of Graun. Only the church steeple still shows above the water of the lake, which was the site of the Italian Sailing Championship in 1953

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The Reschen Lake in southern Tyrol, Italy which covers the sunken village of Graun. Only the church steeple still shows above the water of the lake, which was the site of the Italian Sailing Championship in 1953

 

The bustle of tourists, pigeons, and public servants in Venice Two musicians play instruments in Calabria, southern Italy

The bustle of tourists, pigeons, and public servants in Venice (left) and two musicians play instruments in Calabria, southern Italy (right)

Morning review: A pair of priests read 'L'Osservatore' outside St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City circa 1955

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Morning review: A pair of priests read 'L'Osservatore' outside St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City circa 1955

Reflecting the rhythm of the city: A stall holder sells live crabs at a market in an Italian fishing town, circa 1950

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Reflecting the rhythm of the city: A stall holder sells live crabs at a market in an Italian fishing town, circa 1950

British violonist Yehudi Menuhin (left) and his wife Diana eating spaghetti before a concert the Maestro gave at the Venice theatre

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British violonist Yehudi Menuhin (left) and his wife Diana eating spaghetti before a concert the Maestro gave at the Venice theatre

 

A gondolier plies his trade Italian actress Giovanna Ralli sits on a stone step

Two sides of Italian life: A gondolier plies his trade (left) and Italian actress Giovanna Ralli sits on a stone step (right), before starring film 'Si' at Cinecitta in Rome both pictures circa 1955

Italian film actress Sophia Loren on location at Ostia Antica for the filming of 'La Fortuna di Essere Donna' with the French actor Charles Boyer circa 1955

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Italian film actress Sophia Loren on location at Ostia Antica for the filming of 'La Fortuna di Essere Donna' with the French actor Charles Boyer circa 1955

Cinematic canvas: Sophia Loren on location for the filming of 'La Fortuna di Essere Donna in 1955

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Cinematic canvas: Sophia Loren on location for the filming of 'La Fortuna di Essere Donna in 1955

 

Young Italian men having lunch in a cafe in Rome and reading the communist paper 'Unita' and the socialist 'Avanti'

Young Italian men having lunch in a cafe in Rome and reading the communist paper 'Unita' and the socialist 'Avanti' (left). Three priests looking up at the architecture of a square during a visit to the Vatican City (right)

Spring festivities: Italians celebrate a May Festival in the village of Bucchianico, near Chieti in Abruzzo in May 1957

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Spring festivities: Italians celebrate a May Festival in the village of Bucchianico, near Chieti in Abruzzo in May 1957

 

A cheeky young boy  from Calabria, southern Italy The son of a fisherman looks after his two sisters whilst his parents work in the seas off Calabria, southern Italy.

 

A cheeky young boy from Calabria, southern Italy (left) and the son of a fisherman looks after his two sisters whilst his parents work in the seas off Calabria, southern Italy (right) circa 1950

Timeless tradition: A young barber learns the tricks of the trade while at work on an elderly client in Italy

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Timeless tradition: A young barber learns the tricks of the trade while at work on an elderly client in Italy

 

Girls on the Venetian island of Burano learning the art of making lace in 1954 A group of unemployed men playing cards on a street corner in Sicily in 1955

 

Girls on the Venetian island of Burano learning the art of making lace in 1954 (left) and a group of unemployed men playing cards on a street corner in Sicily in 1955

 

A small boy plays with the pigeons in the Piazza del Unita, Trieste in 1950 One of 500 Catholic nuns in Rome at a conference to discuss the modernisation of Italy's convents in 1955

A small boy plays with the pigeons in the Piazza del Unita, Trieste in 1950 (left) and one of 500 Catholic nuns in Rome at a conference to discuss the modernisation of Italy's convents in 1955

Glittering events: Italy's Fausto Coppi finishing the seventeenth lap of the bicycle race across Italy, on June 5, 1952.

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Glittering events: Italy's Fausto Coppi finishing the seventeenth lap of the bicycle race across Italy, on June 5, 1952.

Party time: Italians celebrate a May Festival in the village of Bucchianico, near Chieti in Abruzzo in 1957

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Party time: Italians celebrate a May Festival in the village of Bucchianico, near Chieti in Abruzzo in 1957

Time for enduring traditions:  A group of boys playing in a village ban in 1950

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Time for enduring traditions: A group of boys playing in a village ban in 1950

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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