This 17th Century Monastery Was Transformed Into a Luxe Florence Retreat

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Monastery Florence

Feeling pious? Now’s your chance to own a piece of Italian architecture with a religious past. Convento Il Chiostro, a monastery in central Italy, is now enjoying a second life as a sprawling vacation home in the Tuscan countryside.

Retired publisher and aspiring architect Nicola Gandini and his wife Giovanna bought the dilapidated complex 26 years ago and spent a handful of years transforming the 17th century structure into a picturesque home away from home.

“I was fascinated by the building’s originality, location, and adaptability,” Mr. Gandini says.

According to the New York Times, the distinctive building has an area of 24,750 square feet and sits on 23 acres of land, which include a vegetable garden, woods, and a meadow. Walking in, guests are treated to the home’s living room, which formerly served as the monastery’s formal entrance hall. The nine-meter-high ceiling gives the room a particular sense of grandeur.

Touches like the warm terracotta floors and the Italian frescoes that adorn the walls are all original from the Monastery; so are the massive fireplaces present in every room of the home.

From the living room, a side entrance leads to a three-sided cloister that encloses an open courtyard with a small hedge maze and fountain. The master bedroom and billiards room enjoy views of the courtyard.

Back inside, wooden doors open to a terrace and lawn that boast sweeping views of Tuscany, including the small town of Sesto Fiorentino.

In March, the house went to auction for 6.5 million euros, or $5.8 million, but did not sell. The house will go up for auction once again in the fall, and will be priced at 4.9 million euros.

A major selling point of the property is its surprising versatility. “It can easily be divided into four apartments,” says Jeremy Onslow-Macaulay, managing director of Casa & Country, a real estate agency based in Tuscany and with offices in London.

Convento Il Chiostro boasts both the tranquility of the countryside, while providing convenient access to the big city. Florence and the city’s airport are both around a half an hour’s drive away.

Image Courtesy of Casa & Country Italian Property

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