The House

The view from the kitchenThe house in the Majella National Park has the most beautiful mountain views in Abruzzo looking straight up the Orfento Gorge at the park’s highest peak. It belonged to a brother and sister, born and raised in Decontra, but who had lived in Melbourne, Australia since the 50’s when many people in Abruzzo emigrated to more prosperous parts of Europe and overseas.

Originally the house was three connected stone buildings: at one end a three-storey, two bedroom home with a cellar for stores and where the large bread oven was located; next to the house, a barn with a large loft that supplied hay to the ground floor where livestock fed from a long manger; and next to the barn, another lower stone structure where animals and farm equipment were kept.

The original house

We worked on the project with Lino Ciccotelli, a local ‘geometra’ – in Italy a kind of architect and engineer combined – to restructure the house, to open it out and let in the spectacular mountain views, while at the same time preserving as many elements of the original buildings as possible. The big structural work was done by a stonemason from Decontra, his brother and their sons, the Vitale family.

The house has four bedrooms with a kitchen, living room and bathroom on each floor. The house has large terraces on the first and ground floors and a wild flower garden. The house is light and airy in the summer thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that give on to balconies, and cosy and warm in the winter with working fireplaces on each floor. The house also has an ecolabel certificate which means that it satisfies criteria established by the European Union to safeguard the environment – such as its energy supply which comes from renewable sources, including solar panels on the roof.

We love this house. It has so much light and warmth and character... and the views are unbelievable. We're coming back.

~ The Shapiros