The Fated Timeshare gets Italian upgrade at Palazzo Ricci
“A beautiful way to live. A smart way to become an owner. This is the slogan of Palazzo Ricci, the 18th century palace located in the Italian region of Abruzzo. The scenic development, which aims to be completed in mid-to-late 2023, is already taking deposits on units thanks to its fractional ownership model. Yes, even Italy has its share of timeshares, but this one is looking to up the ante.
Located in the hilly streets of Casoli, Ricci Palace was still in a state of organized disrepair and under construction when I visited in the spring of 2022. When Mike Brosnan first became interested in the property, the residence had fallen into a state of complete disrepair – holes in the roof , crumbling interiors, you get the picture. The palace was still in the hands of its namesake Ricci family, but was abandoned and left to rot for various reasons. Brosnan and a group of investors bought the palace outright and decided it would be an ideal location to start a condominium portfolio.
Refreshingly, the rehabilitation of Palazzo Ricci does not look like just another real estate development opportunity. Community leaders, for what it’s worth, seem to be sold on the project. During the visit, the mayor of Casoli and the head of I Borghi più belli d’Italia (an association of small Italian towns of historical interest) stopped to sing the praises of the project.
Are there any town members who are unhappy? Sure, but it’s a hugely positive feeling from the community right now. Brosnan and his wife, Karin, are almost local celebrities at this point, with Abruzzans waving goodbye as they go about their daily business.
As the development team notes, this palace was where Baron Ricci frequented legends like painter Francesco Paolo Michetti and author Gabriele D’Annunzio. The property was a cultural gathering place for many years and also served as an important strategic location during World War II in Abruzzo.
The beauty of Casoli, in addition to being an Italian postcard town, is that it is both accessible and inaccessible. About a three-hour drive from Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport, it’s in the Abruzzo region, one of the most rural areas of the country. A highlight of living in Casoli is that you can literally go skiing in the morning and go lie on the beach in the afternoon. It might not be the Alps, but the slopes are still well maintained and satisfying without the massive lines like you might find in the north. The beaches are just as good as those you’ll find in other more popular parts of the country.
Palazzo Ricci, at its core, wants to be held in the same conversation as some of the best residence clubs in the world, such as Palazzo Tornabuoni, a historic residence in Florence run by the Four Seasons that Brosnan mentioned to me several times. as a source of inspiration. However, he does not see the Palazzo Ricci ownership as just another investment. The hope is that the owners will become part of the local community just as he and his wife did.
“It’s more than just a luxury asset,” Brosnan says. “It’s an immersion in the art of living. In addition to offering volunteer opportunities in the community, Palazzo Ricci plans to have various programs involving local artisans, designers and operators to give members plenty to do.
Fractional Ownership, Italian Style
In total, there are 14 residences with one to three bedrooms, as well as a single penthouse and a single cottage-style residence, each with nine available property slots. A slot of ownership gives you a guaranteed minimum of 5.5 weeks per year at Palazzo Ricci. Each year in the fall, the owners choose the times they wish to stay at the property throughout the following year. if there are unused slots, owners are encouraged to select additional time to stay. Also, if a landlord wishes to earn some passive income, they will be able to rent out their property during their allotted time, but this must be done through the club and not on platforms like Airbnb.
An important caveat to note is that unlike traditional timeshares where you are liable for the exact unit you purchased in, members purchase in a tier. For example, if you purchase the property of a two-bedroom unit, then you have access to all of the two-bedroom units in the property. (Prices range from around $90,000 to $325,000, plus an annual management and maintenance fee.) And since the building is over 200 years old – and not completely demolished and standardized – you can expect each area to be incredibly unique.
While being a partial resident of a small Italian town is quite nice, Palazzo Ricci membership also comes with a variety of benefits. We’re talking about the on-site pool, as well as memberships to local golf clubs, beach clubs, and ski resorts. Brosnan tells me they won’t leave a stone unturned.
“We will offer entertainment for children, Italian lessons, cooking classes, excursions, historical tours, partnership with private boats for visits to the Tremiti Islands, we will have private drivers available for short trips in the Abruzzo region, electric bicycles and leisure equipment,” he says, “and we will have a community program dedicated to the beautification, cleaning and service of Casoli.”
Fractional ownership has many advantages and disadvantages. For one thing, the property won’t be yours alone. On the other hand, it’s a lot less work. A quick Google search shows that prices at Palazzo Ricci are no different from finished houses and apartments in the area. The other variable here is timing. It’s currently under construction, and it almost never ends on time no matter where you are (especially in times of supply chain delays). Currently, mid-2023 is the expected date for completion, but that could change. On the bright side, husband and wife designer duo Bimbi Bellhouse and Spencer Power are the ones leading the build.
Owners will also have access to Elite Alliance, an extensive portfolio of luxury accommodations around the world similar to Palazzo Ricci. If you decide you’d rather go to the South of France or the Riviera Maya instead of Casoli, you’ll have that option.
But you wouldn’t want to let your new Italian neighbors down, would you?
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