These empty castles could be yours
Always wanted to buy your own castle? If you are a die-hard romantic and are looking for the ultimate fixer-upper, look no further. These towering properties are ready for renovation with their empty hallways and overgrown landscapes. Think turrets, battlements and views as far as the eye can see.
50-bedroom castle, Pichincha, Ecuador: $8 million
This majestic castle in the province of Pichincha in Ecuador sits in 70 acres of lush grounds that are filled with mature cypress and eucalyptus trees. In need of some updating inside and out, it’s the mother of all fixer-upper projects.
From the air, you can see how the grand house sits within the grounds, which have both wooded and landscaped areas. Around the estate, you’ll find sculptures of Greek and Roman mythology, monarchs from all over the world and scenes that depict the lives of Ecuadoreans.
Inside, the huge property has over one million square feet of floor space, which is a mixture of architectural styles including Gothic Revival, Renaissance and Rococo. The castle may be empty but doesn’t go without some luxury touches: there are more stone and marble sculptures dotted around the house, carved railings and intricate stucco work on the ceilings.
As well as the main castle, the grounds are also home to a cathedral, two Roman-style pools, multiple pavilions and 50 car parking spaces. So what’s the trade-off for this enormous property? The castle needs major renovation work, which has a projected cost of around $2 million.
Fairy tale island, Lake Como, Italy: $1.9 million
Once used as a defence fort and then a fisherman’s house, this stunning period property is the only residence on this private island in Lake Como, Italy. The tiny atoll is just 360 feet long and is currently unconnected to the mainland, although it’s possible for the new owners to build a pedestrian bridge.
Appearing to float on the water, the main house is like something out of a fairy tale with a yellow striped watchtower and a bright pink exterior. In the distance, the Alpine range of Orobie rises dramatically, providing fabulous views worthy of royalty. This island has serious history too; it appears on maps as far back as 1723.
The main house has plenty of space with five bedrooms and a bathroom over two levels of 1,500 square feet. Outside there’s even more room to roam with picturesque balconies, a closed veranda and a courtyard, plus you even get a private jetty and mooring thrown into the deal.
In 2013, the island and property were classified as a site of interest for Italy’s National Trust, the FAI. Any work or renovations need to be approved by the FAI, which will be essential to make the island and home habitable.
Untouched palazzo, Zebbug, Malta: $5 million
This undisturbed palatial property in Zebbug, Malta may look abandoned and overgrown but the bones of the building are structurally sound and waiting for the next buyer. The large stone castle has two entrances, crowned with grand vaulted ceilings that are guaranteed to make a regal first impression.
And inside is just as stately as the exterior, with 15 rooms that are spread over two floors. At the heart of the house sits the central courtyard, ringed with columns, arches and statues set onto wide balconies.
The empty corridors are lined with traditional Maltese tiles and are spacious and airy. The arched windows look out over the courtyard and, even though it needs some renovation, many of the original features are still intact.
Outside, the villa is surrounded by two large mature gardens that are filled with a grove of orange trees and fountains that are no longer in use. The sheer scale and grandeur of this castle mean it’s got bags of potential to be renovated into a lavish home or a hotel.
11th-century castle, Lazio, Italy: $5.5-$11.1 million
Located in Lazio near Rome, this former feudal castle was built by Abbot John V to secure monastic rule over the Subiaco area. Over the centuries, the building has acted as a fortress, a luxurious palace and has been the home of popes and cardinals. Now in a state of disrepair, the grand building is ready for a renovation.
After suffering centuries of earthquakes and wars, the building became uninhabitable but was restored in 1778 by Pope Pius VI. During the works, many of the castle features were replaced with more domestic home comforts to make the house more of a luxury residence than a fortress. You can spot these features around the house today, from the elliptical staircase and majestic double front door to a beautiful clock tower and a coat of arms sculpted from stone.
Inside, the main building is spread over four floors that feature beautiful fireplaces, sculptures and works of art mounted in golden frames. The grand staircase in the hallway leads upstairs to the second floor, which has seven rooms that were all skilfully painted by artist Liborio Coccetti.
The former fortress also features a throne room, which is decorated with scenes from the Old Testament, a banquet room with beautiful frescoes and exquisitely carved architraves throughout. In addition to the main house, you also get stables, the Borgian quadrangular tower and a chapel adorned with marble, lapis lazuli and emeralds. Talk about an undiscovered gem of a property!
Carleton Island Villa, Cape Vincent, New York: $495,000
Bordered by a river and sat in nearly seven acres of private land, the grand Carleton Island Villa has been abandoned for more than 70 years. The castle-like home features turrets, towers and a grand stone exterior clad on to a wooden frame.
The house was originally built in 1894 as a summer escape for William Wyckoff and his family. After Wyckoff’s death, the family fell on hard times and his son sold the building to General Electric, who offered materials from the house to locals who would salvage them. Many of the windows, including stained glass, were taken and an entire floor of a bedroom was removed.
Despite its gorgeous river views, the house has been on the market at the same price since 2012 but has failed to attract a buyer. We can only assume that the expensive renovations are scaring off the buyers. Surely someone out there could restore this old house to its former glory?
With 11 bedrooms that are spread over three floors, the home isn’t structurally sound and is currently encased in barbed wire. Left in a state of decay without windows and doors, it has been left open to the elements and isn’t connected to any utilities. Despite all these challenges, it’s a magnificent piece of local history and could be a wonderful luxury house for the right renovator…
Plas Gwynfryn, Wales, U.K.: $628,000
Not a purchase for the faint-hearted, Plas Gwynfryn is a castle-style ruined country mansion that has been gutted by a fire and left to the elements of North Wales.
Built in 1876, the Grade-II listed building has served as a family home, hospital, orphanage and hotel in its time. The grand external shell with its towers, crenellations and battlements survived the fire but inside is a different story.
Many of the window panes are long gone and the fire-ravaged interior features peeling walls and gutted rooms but there are still some original features intact: the stone mullioned windows and a grand porch on the west side, for example.
At the back of the main castle are a number of cottages that could be turned into extra accommodation by the new owners. Although there’s no specific planning permission in place, the mansion could potentially be converted into a new hotel, multi-resident apartments or a magnificent single-family home.
Quinta do Marquês, Santarém, Portugal: $6.8 million
Quinta do Marquês sits in the area of Torres Novas in Portugal. Built in the 17th century, the design of the castle is a mixture of Manueline architecture and 19th-century romantic elements. The palace underwent extensive renovation in the late 19th century and has more than 9,000 square feet of floor space.
The expansive building sits in nearly 150 acres of land, room enough for herds of deer and horses. Inside, the castle is dotted with fireplaces, painted ceilings and Portuguese tiles from the 19th century. This grand staircase features gilded woodwork and an intricately-painted underside.
The building may be empty and abandoned but it has over 30 rooms, each of which have been decorated in a different style. This grand fireplace is adorned with gold and cherub statues and is topped with a coat of arms.
The castle is surrounded by a chapel, stables, winery, lakes and waterways, as well as a landscaped garden and rectangular swimming pool. What more could a king or queen want from a home?
Pink castle, Umbria, Italy: $5.5-$11.1 million
The origins of this luxury castle in Umbria date back to the first half of the 19th century. Shortly after completion, it was sold to one of the most powerful families in the area, who transformed the building into a prestigious villa in the architectural style of a Neogothic castle.
Showing elements of English romanticism, the pink fort is spread out over four levels, including a basement which can be accessed from both the ground floor and garden. The main entrance features the original front door, which has been preserved perfectly and is framed by stucco paint.
While structurally sound, the interior needs a spruce up and some renovation to make it livable. But the castle is still full of amazing original details that will surely delight any history lover, including a decorated bay window in the tapestry room, a hand-painted cooker hood in the kitchen that bears a coat of arms and the living room’s coffered ceilings.
The octagonal terrace outside is positioned at the top of the tower with traditional battlements and provides 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside. A beautiful park of nearly 15 acres surrounds the castle, which is split by a wide avenue lined with pine trees, perfect for an evening stroll before supper.
12th-century castle, Siena, Italy: $2.8 million
Originally constructed in the Late Middle Ages, this picturesque castle sits high up in the hills of the city of Siena in Italy. Located in the beautiful and sought-after Tuscany region, the abandoned building has six bedrooms and requires major renovation.
Inside, the castle is awash with traditional arches and features a central courtyard, which has become overgrown with grass. The external red brickwork shows the wear and tear of time with moss and faded stucco paintwork on the ceilings.
The property was expanded during the 15th and 16th centuries and spans a huge 12,000 square feet inside. Aside from the amazing arches and family crests, the estate also features a lookout tower and a 16th-century chapel.
12th-century castle, Siena, Italy: $2.8 million
Surrounded by valleys and streams, additional assets in the 12-acre plot include outbuildings, a hog barn, farmhouse and a stone shed. Even though the crumbling castle needs some work, we think it’s worth it for the views over the rolling countryside.
Kasbah Tagountaft, Marrakesh-Safi, Morocco: $6.8 million
Once the home of the powerful Caid of the Goundafa tribe in the 19th century, Kasbah Tagountaft is considered a site of historical significance in Morocco.
With a huge 32,000 square feet of interior space, the castle features open corridors and sunken living areas with built-in window seats. Built around 1860, the derelict property needs a buyer with a strong imagination and creativity to turn it into a living space.
Open to the elements, the fort has no windows and lacks ceilings in many places. It sits high atop a rocky peak and, even though it’s a ruin, the beauty of the building still shines through.
The sunken courtyard in the center needs some serious work but, surrounded by the fortress walls and arched windows, we think it’s the perfect place for a swimming pool.
www.msn.com – Abi Harman | 2018-07-12