WIN a gorgeous stone house with a sunny garden on the edge of a beautiful medieval village in Abruzzo’s Gran Sasso National Park.
WIN this stunning stone house in Italy’s Abruzzo region! Keep it as a holiday home, rent it out to holidaymakers or sell it. The choice is yours! The prize includes the house, notary fees, taxes, two flights from anywhere in Europe for the signing, two nights’ accommodation and two days’ car hire. Read this brief overview of the house to whet your appetite, then scroll down for a more detailed description.
The dark wooden walnut entrance doors open on to a large vaulted hallway with a stone tiled floor. This leads to the original stone staircase that takes you upstairs to two large bedrooms, both with vaulted ceilings and Juliet balconies that look out to the medieval village and wooded hillsides beyond, and the smaller of the two bathrooms. There is a third bedroom, also vaulted, next to the entrance hall. The hallway also has a wooden staircase that takes you down into the living room with its exposed rock walls, open fireplace and French windows out to the garden. Walking through to the kitchen there is a fantastic original brick vaulted ceiling, and more French windows to the outside.
The kitchen leads through to a pantry/store room built into the rock, and also a fascinatingly unique bathroom with natural rock walls. The pretty garden is south facing and gets the sun all day, with shade provided by the delicious plum, apple and almond trees. The house has been sympathetically restored to retain as many original characteristics as possible, including vaulted brick ceilings, terracotta floors, rock walls, and natural stone door and window frames. All electric, gas and water services were newly connected and there are radiators throughout, as well as wooden double glazed windows.
- Beautifully restored old stone house
- Located on edge of National Park
- Gas central heating, new plumbing and electrics throughout
- Double glazing throughout
- Original features
- Terracotta floors
- Vaulted bathroom carved from natural rock
- 3 large bedrooms with vaulted ceilings
- 2 bathrooms
- Open fireplace in living room
- Large vaulted kitchen with walk in pantry
- Sunny south facing secluded garden with fruit trees and grapevine
- Easy access to Rome and Pescara
The Entrance Hall.
The double front door is hand made from walnut and has a beautiful arched window above with a wrought iron grill. Large creamy coloured textured stone tiles have been laid on the floor to fit in with the natural stone details throughout the house. There is a small cupboard under the stairs that has retained its original walnut door and provides a perfect storage space. Set in a recess is the combi boiler that controls the heating and hot water, and it runs on mains gas. The hallway leads to the wooden staircase to the ground floor, the stone staircase to the top floor and the third bedroom. It has a window that looks out to the garden below and the village beyond. The vaulted ceiling has retained four original rings where lengths of wood would have hung and then subsequently used to dry salami. At the top of the wooden stairs is an old cupboard that has a frame but no door, and the divisions are made from bricks that have been plastered. At the foot of the stone staircase to the top floor is a small stone oval window that allows natural light in to an otherwise closed space.
The Main Bedroom.
Main bedroom, top floor. The original terracotta floor tiles have been cleaned and re-grouted and lead the eye across the room to the French doors. These in turn lead out to the stone based wrought iron Juliet balcony with its gorgeous view to the wooded hillsides beyond the medieval village, and allows you to look down onto the garden. The room itself has a high exposed brick vaulted ceiling with its original rings, a double alcove in the wall, original oversize nails secured into the wall for hanging clothes, and a window to the rear. With light coming in from two sides, this particular room has a glorious airy feeling to it.
The Second Bedroom.
Second bedroom, top floor. This is the smaller of the bedrooms, but is still a very good size with ample room for a large double bed. It, too, has French windows that lead out to the stone based, wrought iron Juliet balcony with the same view as the main bedroom. The ceiling is vaulted and there is a large alcove that could easily be turned into a wardrobe for additional storage space.
Bathroom, top floor. Small but perfect size bathroom with a large walk in shower at one end, a toilet and a sink. It was once part of the second bedroom, so it, too, has part of the vault as its ceiling. Outside the bathroom is a small landing area that has a window to the back of the house and the door to the second bedroom. Then there is a small area at the top of the main stairs, which also has a vaulted ceiling, as does the stairs. The stairs are the original stone, and as such are all slightly different with wonderful inconsistencies in how they look, and beautifully worn at the edges after so many years of use.
The Third Bedroom.
Third bedroom, middle floor. This bedroom has the original terracotta floor tiles and a gorgeous vaulted ceiling. To the front of the house is a window that looks out to the village and the hills, and it has a wonderful bench seat underneath from where you can enjoy the cool breeze and turn to look at the view. This room was originally the kitchen, so there are still the original rings in the ceiling, and whilst the fireplace has been blocked up the chimney is still there and a wood burner could be installed. There is also a door that was the original front door, but has been sealed shut. It could easily be replaced with a glass door to allow more light in.
The Living Room.
Living room, ground floor. The living room is reached by a wooden staircase from the entrance hall. It’s quite a steep staircase, and the tall people need to mind their head on the way down! The living room’s back wall has been carved out of the natural rock on which the house is built, and then the ceiling is vaulted and made of exposed stone. The main feature in this room is the open fireplace which gives a good heat and a cosy glow when the evenings are chilly. French windows lead out to the garden. This room would once have been where the animals were kept.
From the living room a deep doorway that shows just how thick the walls are leads through to the kitchen. The kitchen has a beautiful wide exposed brick vaulted ceiling and French doors that lead out under the grapevine to the garden. It’s a simple kitchen with an old ceramic butler style sink, a wooden worktop, gas hob and some low cupboards that provide more than enough storage room for crockery and food. There’s plenty of space for a big table and in the hot summer a delightful cool breeze blows through the room. From the kitchen there is another deep doorway carved out of the natural rock that leads to a large walk in pantry. There is plumbing in here for a washing machine and electrics for a fridge, and it’s the perfect temperature for keeping your wine.
Ground Floor Bathroom.
Passing the walk in pantry you come to the rather unique downstairs bathroom. It’s carved out of the natural rock so has a vaulted rock ceiling and tapers down to a small window at the end. It has a bath, a shower, a large sink, a bidet and a toilet, so there’s lots of space, but you do have to mind your head the further in you go. Being natural rock, the rain sometimes filters through to create small puddles on the floor, but they are easily dried and it has allowed us to retain the aesthetics of the rock without sealing it away behind a heavy layer of waterproofing that could just direct the water elsewhere into the house.
Access to the garden is from the French windows in the living room and kitchen, or through a gate at the side of the house. It’s small and secluded and easy to maintain with its layer of stone chippings. There is a grape vine that is growing up the side of the house, a plum tree that produces incredibly delicious plums, two almond trees and a small apple tree. Being south facing it gets the sun all day and the sun sets behind the beautiful wooded hills that lie beyond the village. There is a mesh fence that surrounds the garden, but it blends in with the view and you would hardly notice it’s there.
One lucky second prize winner will receive £10,000.
There are five third prizes of a wonderful hamper that’s full of delicious local Italian wine and food.