About the Palazzo

History

Built as an opulent summer villa by Cardinal Girolamo Simoncelli (1522-1605) with the financial support of his uncle Pope Julius III, no expense was spared in its construction and decoration. Today, its decorated vaulted frescoes by Girolamo Muziano (1532-1592) and Cesare Nebbia (1536-1614) and their sculptured gold leaf stucco-work are considered to be amongst the finest examples of Late Renaissance Mannerism-style fresco cycles in Italy. Palazzo Cardinal Simoncelli is listed as a National Treasure with the Italian Ministry of Culture.

Location

Orvieto is a full-service and culturally-rich community of population 20,000 in the southwest corner of Umbria, Italy. In close proximity to major transportation links, it is 100 km or 60 miles north of Rome and adjacent to the A1 autostrada between Rome and Florence (Firenze). It can also be conveniently reached in less than one hour by commuter train from Rome or in just over one and one-half hours from Florence.

Some of Tuscany’s finest beaches are within easy driving distance as are winter sports activities at nearby Monte Amiata. Residence Palazzo Cardinal Simoncelli is in the village of Torre San Severo some nine km or six miles by paved road southwest of Orvieto.

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Reconstruction & Restoration

In close collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Culture, an historically-correct structural reconstruction and restoration of the property was recently completed.

The exterior is finished in the Renaissance style, with outward-facing walls in original, patinated, hand-hewn and cement-rimmed blocks of ochre yellow volcanic tuff while the inward-facing, U-shaped courtyard walls are dressed in elegant straw yellow plaster. Four monumental portico columns and over 100 windows are framed in dove grey volcanic basalt. Some 15,000 original terracotta tiles cover an 11-chimney roof which is in-turn framed and decorated at the overhang with a massively sculptured cornice in patinated ochre yellow volcanic tuff.

Proposed Interior Design

The property will be serviced by three elevators and three circular stairways with an interior design that offers some 3145 m2 or 33,845 ft2 of flexible space evenly distributed over four floors. Each floor offers an abundance of natural lighting and a room-to-room flow that is worthy of a National Treasure but rarely seen in a Renaissance palazzo. The proposed interior design considers a residential use. This design could be easily adapted to an institutional setting.

The entire second or top floor contemplates a private family residence that is both open and intimate with beautiful sight lines, a courtyard-facing winter garden, an open garden terrace and high wood-beamed and ceramic-tiled ceilings that follow the roof line. Views into the courtyard and across the Umbrian countryside are spectacular.

The first floor design considers additional bedrooms for the family residence or in the alternative, two spacious and private residence apartments, each with their own entrance and elevator access, and a separate housekeeping suite.

The ground or Noble floor with its elegant courtyard, vaulted portico, large windows and vaulted decorated rooms is the principal reception area of the palazzo. A display of wealth and power in Renaissance times, the reception area today offers an ideal indoor-outdoor living space for family and friends and formal entertaining. It also provides access to the 1.6 ha or 3.9 ac recreational gardens with pool, tennis court and cabana.

And finally, the lowest floor is devoted to three large garages, a vaulted 15 m or 50 ft lap pool, gymnasium, wine cellars, storage and HVAC services.

Vaulted Frescoes

The largest of the Noble floor rooms, the Fireplace Room, so-named for its opulent hand-carved volcanic basalt fireplace, is the finest surviving example of Muziano's early decorative work. His choice of subject material for a Papal client - Return of the Prodigal Son, The Four Seasons and Signs of the Zodiac - was surprising. His selection of colours and their brilliance - violet, mustard yellow, malachite green and germanium red was unique. And finally, his extravagant use of naturalistic and highly-sculptured gold leaf stucco-work to frame the Venetian-shaped panels was simply over-the-top.

Muziano came to be the leading Papal Court artist of his time. His early work is rarely found in an urban public palazzo let alone a private one in the Umbrian countryside. Today his work can be seen in the ceiling of the Gallery of Maps at the Vatican Museum - Rome, at Villa d"Este - Tivoli, a UNESCO world heritage site and in the collections of the Getty Museum - Los Angeles, National Gallery - London and Uffizi Gallery - Florence, amongst others.

Opportunity

This historically important Papal Court summer villa, minutes away from the strikingly beautiful and vibrant hilltop town of Orvieto, offers the prospective purchaser the opportunity to finish to taste what will be one of Italy's finest privately-owned Renaissance estates. An exclusive property ideal for indoor-outdoor living and entertaining friends and guests in the Umbrian countryside.

Following a decade-long reconstruction and historically-correct restoration this fully-permitted National Treasure is now ready for interior finishing and landscaping. Final work will take approximately 18 months and could be completed to the highest standards by the current owners on behalf of the purchaser and their design professionals.

Enquire with the owners, your realtor or design professionals for more information about this unique opportunity.