Buy a castle, get a town thrown in

A view of Sismano village, which surrounds the Umbrian Castle put up for sale. The price? US$8.3 million (S$11 million).
A view of Sismano village, which surrounds the Umbrian Castle put up for sale. The price? US$8.3 million (S$11 million).PHOTO: DOUGLAS ELLIMAN REAL ESTATE

NEW YORK • There are plenty of castles for sale across Europe, but few provide the opportunity for prospective owners to play the role of a feudal lord.

It's the difference between living like a prince and living as a prince. Now a castle has come onto the market to let you do the latter.

The Umbrian Castle di Sismano, which has been in the hands of the princes of Corsini (two became popes) for 1,054 years, is being sold, along with 850ha  of farmland (that's bigger than the size of Toa Payoh town) that comprises forests, fields, grazing pastures, and 7.3ha of olive groves.

The estate, which sits in Italy's centre, an hour and a half's drive from Rome, also comes with 17 farmhouses and a housing development with seven villas.

Not all of the village of Sismano, which hugs the castle walls, is included, but buyers stand to get a clock tower and gatehouse, two small residential houses, two garages, a warehouse and the town's restaurant. Not bad, if you yearn to start a personal fiefdom.

As for the actual abode: The castle is approximately 18,000 sq ft, including an interior courtyard and an adjacent pool.

Until recently, a direct descendant of the Corsini family used at least part of the castle building as a bed and breakfast, so prospective owners should be prepared to do some work in order to restore it to lordly proportions.

Still, US$8.3 million (S$11 million) seems a small price to pay for getting to act like a bona fide (and benevolent, one hopes) Italian prince.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2016, with the headline 'Buy a castle, get a town thrown in'. Print Edition | Subscribe