One of the most historically important properties on the island of Capri.
Torre della Guardia stands on top of a cliff (200m) in the south west corner of the island above Punta Carena and was built as a fortification and watch tower against Saracen and other pirate invaders during the reign of Emperor Charles V. Completed in 1475, it comprised a heavily fortified tower (walls of 2 metres thickness) which commands uninterrupted views to the south, west and east, and barracks for the stationed troops, which now constitute the main house. During the Napoleonic Wars, it was used by the French and British forces and further fortifications and cannon emplacements were sited below the tower, which have been restored recently, together with a steep rock footpath leading to the sea and one of the three main beach-club/restaurants on the island. Towards the end of the 19 th Century, an eccentric pioneer aviator attempted manned flights from the cliff top and ownership passed soon after to Dr. Axel Munthe, a well known practitioner of fashionable medicine, author of the 1920's/30's best seller, ‘The story of San Michele', and a collector and restorer of all available historical monuments in Capri. During the 1920's, Dr. Munthe sold the property to the present owners.
The tower and barracks are set in a natural garden in excess of an acre, planted with high, 60 year old Mediterranean pines, miniature palm, large cacti and native flowering shrubs maintained on a regular basis. Two ‘whiskey benches' are located for viewing the evening sunsets in summer and winter. During the 1960's, a separate house was constructed near the Barracks comprising a large bedroom and en-suite bathroom, and additional storage, laundry and guest bathroom (see Annexe). The entire property was renovated comprehensively in the late 1990's, with modern wiring, plumbing, and new exterior façades, indoor floors, walls and ceilings, bathrooms and kitchen, while retaining the original character. The grounds maintain privacy within high walls of local stone on three sides and by the cliff on the remaining boundary. An adjacent field of about one acre, with direct views to the sea, is available for sale, but only to any future owner of the Property. Planning permission for a swimming pool was requested some fifteen years ago, and was granted recently by the local authorities, with final approval of regional authorities expected within one year. The difficulty and non-predictability of such planning procedures reflect the status of the property as one of the oldest landmark buildings still standing on the island. The Tower: the ground floor is approached by a open passage with a low wall on the cliff side and comprises a circular double bedroom with a en-suite bathroom/shower. An iron stairway leads up to a private study with views over the sea. The Barracks: a fully equipped, traditional style kitchen and a dining area; a large archway leads from the dining area to the main living room; from the living room, a narrow arch leads to a large bathroom and substantial double bedroom. Outside the barracks, a wide brick floor terrace looks through the trees and leads down a stone path (50 metres) to the tower and views of the sea. The annexe: large double bedroom with en-suite bathroom; additional WC and utility/laundry room. The property provides ample space for a house party of six, while outdoor entertainment capacity is substantial.
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