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Buying A Castle

Own your own castle: Historic spot goes on sale for only $49 million

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On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 day view
Welcome to Castel Valer. Photo courtesy of Beth Wolff Realtors
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 Knight's Hall
The 1,300 square-foot Knights' Hall is the heart of the castle, serving as the main gathering space. Note the late-Gothic wooden ceiling. Photo by © Remo Michelotti
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 Stables for event
The Knights' Hall seats 90 people and is shown here prepared for a special event. The grand handcrafted stone fireplace at the far wall is the focal point of the room. Photo courtesy of Beth Wolff Realtors
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 Salon 2
A two-story ceiling affords display of fine paintings in a salon. Photo by © Remo Michelotti
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 Salon
Just one suite in the castle, appointed with chandelier, inlay wood flooring and recessed study. Photo by © Remo Michelotti
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 lunch or breakfast room
One of the Madrutz rooms in the castle, named after Cardinal Madrutz who lived in the castle during the Council of Trent. Artist Marcello Fogolino painted the frescoes in the 16th century. Photo by © Remo Michelotti
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 church altar
The larger of the two chapels at Castel Valer, the late-Gothic place of worship was awarded best privately restored chapel in Europe by Europa Nostra in 1996. Photo by © Remo Michelotti
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 living area
Located just off the Knights' Hall in the old section of the castle, this room boasts hexagonal ceiling panels. Photo by © Remo Michelotti
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 open living or dining area
Family crests accent the Coat of Arms Gallery. Photo by © Remo Michelotti
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 terrace
Another loggia, with this one being readied for an outdoor affair. Photo by © Remo Michelotti
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 balcony
Views from a loggia of the snowcapped Dolomite Alps. Photo by © Remo Michelotti
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 terrace
The grounds with stunning views and lush vegetation provide the perfect setting for al fresco entertaining. Photo courtesy of Beth Wolff Realtors
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 tower view
Looking up through a courtyard at the original granite tower, which has been a regional landmark since the 12th century. Photo by © Remo Michelotti
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 day view 2
Castel Valer, standing as majestic as the mountains. Photo by © Remo Michelotti
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 through trees
A last look at the landmark from a distance. Photo by Alessandro Decaminada/Google Maps
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 day view
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 Knight's Hall
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 Stables for event
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 Salon 2
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 Salon
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 lunch or breakfast room
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 church altar
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 living area
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 open living or dining area
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 terrace
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 balcony
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 terrace
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 tower view
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 day view 2
On the Market Castel Valer in northern Italy near Milan May 2014 through trees

Editor's Note: Houston, the surrounding areas and beyond are loaded with must-have houses for sale in all shapes, sizes and price ranges. In this continuing series, CultureMap snoops through some of the best and gives you the lowdown on what's hot on the market.

The royal life is yours at Castel Valer, an 80-room historic landmark sitting at the feet of northern Italy's Dolomite Alps near Verona and now on sale as a family compound, a luxury boutique hotel, an event venue or a corporate retreat — for the regal price tag of $49 million.

A bit of history

Castel Valer has stood as an iconic presence in the Verona region since the days of the Roman Empire. In fact, an ancient Roman road still passes beneath the castle at the mountain’s base. A single noble family has called the villa home since the 14th century.

Castel Valer guards the entrance to the fabled Val di Non, a valley nestled against the mountains and where romance permeates the region. The classical love poet Catullus, whose sonnets were favored by Julius Caesar, was born in Verona in 82 B.C. More than 1,500 years later, William Shakespeare wrote his star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet into the city’s legend.

 The views are breathtaking in all directions, with 13 acres of forest and nine acres of apple orchards — all set against the background of the magnificent Alps. 

In 1776, Mozart composed a mass commemorating the investiture of a member of Castel Valer’s family as Archbishop of Salzburg. During World War II, German and Italian forces turned the castle into an officers’ command center, sparing it significant damage. 

The castle’s octagonal granite tower, the 130-foot-tall standout structure in Val di Non, was erected in the 12th century. During the next 500 years, Castel Valer grew around the tower in two separate additions, each with its own courtyard and loggias, to reach present-day proportions in the mid-17th century.

Substantial 21st century renovations bring modern standards of elegance and luxury while preserving the Gothic frescoes and Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architectural features. Interior furnishings, with several exclusions, are part of the sale and include antique furniture, paintings, chandeliers, Venetian mirrors and carpets.

Castel Valer is easily accessible from two airports in Bolzano and Verona.

A walk through
An impressive portcullis or heavy iron gate welcomes home owners — or castle dwellers — inside. The 1,300 square-foot Knights' Hall with a late-Gothic wooden ceiling serves as the center hub for gatherings and meals. Four modern kitchens, plus a restored antique kitchen, offer plenty of space for cooking.

The castle features Medieval and Baroque sections with separate courtyards connected by passages. Archways and loggias are found throughout the compound. In fact, 2.5 acres of Castel Valer are terraced gardens with views of Val di Non.

Two-story ceilings in salons, inlay wood floors in some of the 15 bedrooms and two chapels with late-Gothic frescoes are just a few more of the significant elements. Sixteen restored porcelain room stoves dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries, in addition to two new heating systems, provide warmth for the castle. A large wine cellar is at hand, as is a sauna.

Step outside
The views are breathtaking in all directions, with 13 acres of forest and nine acres of apple orchards — all set against the background of the magnificent Alps. A swimming pool at terrace level overlooks the valley, and former stables, now elegantly appointed, are perfect for large parties.

An 18-hole golf course is nearby, as is the world-famous ski region, Madonna di Campiglio.

Square footage: 35,521 square feet on almost 25 acres

Asking price: $49 million

Listing agent: Ursula Muenzel, Beth Wolff Realtors, Real Living

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