When we first saw the house, in the springtime of 2007, we were intrigued by its decadent charm. In the garden, dominated by the large, old “rosary tree” in bloom, the weeds were growing. On a scraped wall, a wild rose was standing the test of time. The greenhouse, with the old windows almost rotten, was just a deposit for broken furniture and old tools. Only the garden “all’italiana” was keeping the memory of past elegance alive, but it was overlooking the rough grounds, wildly overgrown. The ivy was choking the old cherry tree and the large fig tree was extending its branches up to first floor terrace.In the house, the old doors and windows, made traditionally in walnut wood, and the ceiling’s fresco paints reminded of better days, as did the floors, the marble fireplaces and the peeling walls. But the abandoned rooms emenated the charm of an old lady, asking to be courted to recover the splendour of old days. The magnificent view from the terraces convinced us that we had finally found what we were looking for . And we fell in love with “her”. By the end of the year, the house had become ‘our house’ and the restoration began. The first 9 months were spent drafting the project and getting permissions…
In August 2008, work finally started, with the construction of the foundation wall in the ground below the garden. In the very cold and snowy winter 2008-09 the house was “laid bare”: the plaster stripped off, the tiles in the floor, the railings, the doors, the windows, the fireplaces..all removed.
During springtime we renovated the roof and restored the cellar and the ground in front of the house. After a strong rain a wall in the cellar felt down, and we discovered, behind it, a long tunnel dug in the tuff, linking the cellar with a cistern down the garden. While restoring the stairs, we found, completely walled up under the flight of steps, a very old pig-iron stove, forgotten there..a century ago or more, it was heating the main floor through a system of pipes in the walls. During the winter of 2009-10 the internal structure was consolidated: the windows resized, the stairs rebuilt, the walls reinforced with huge iron “keys” going front to back, while kilometres of pipes for water and electricity were placed everywhere in walls and floors!
Outside, we decided to connect the two part of the garden with a stair inspired to the one entering the Govone Castle park.
At the end of 2010 the house had doors and windows. The final rush started, in order to meet the summer deadline for the “go-live”. The frescos were alive and brilliant again, the walls repainted. Hundreds of “cementine”, traditional italian tiles made of cement, removed 2 years before, were completely cleaned and put back in placed to revitalize the floors. The old terracotta tiles were put back in the kitchen. The fireplace was enriched by a large hood sustained by the stones originally used to sustain the balcony. The original stone steps were placed again on the stairs. And in the 2011 springtime another dream came true: the vineyard! All the family was involved in planting 300 Nebbiolo plants. It was almost done. The first rooms were lighting up. The spotlights illuminated the porch columns. The bathtubs, in one way or another, arrived up to the attic room. The garden was taking shape. The old “rosary tree” dominating the courtyard in front of the house, had recovered its breath after long suffering during 3 years of works. During the summer we relocate. We mount furniture and bookshelves; old cupboards goes down in the cellar, wardrobes and beds in the rooms, pictures on the walls..
And now another story can begin…
The orchestra (The renovation team)
Raffaele, orchestra director
Emanuele, infrastructure work
Alberto, electrical system
Fausto, plumbing and heating system
Beppe, windows, doors and all wooden work
Giampiero, tile floors
Daniela, wooden floors
Roberto, stone floors
Adriano, iron works
Stefania, lighting system
Simona, frescos restoration
Original screenplay, direction & decor… Fulvia & Bruno !!!
…and in 2013, a new step, the swimming pool overlooking the vineyard! the same team is again at work: Raffaele conducting the orchestra, with Emanuele, Fausto, Beppe and Alberto. Again we jumped through hoops: May, the most rainy month ever… but July 1st also the swimming pool is done!
..and in November 2014 once again the team is at work, for the last step: the SPA completes our relais de charme!