A 500-Year-Old House in the Italian Countryside Blends History and Modernity

A 500-Year-Old House in the Italian Countryside Blends History and Modernity

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Name: Madeleine Stein, two Maremma sheep dogs named Alma and Atlas, and a huge variety of guests
Location: Umbria, Italy
Type of home: House
Size: 3300 square feet? (We actually don’t know. The house is over 500 years old. No ones really measured it.)
Years lived in: 30 years

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: It was during the eighties that Gudiolo found us, a family of eccentric nomads trying to plant some roots. In the decades that followed, as we moved regularly from country to country, Gudiolo was our one constant: The place we would always return to for summer and Christmas holidays, for the olive harvests, and for peaceful retreats during hectic periods of our lives. For the last ten years I have been living in Gudiolo full time, although we also receive paying guests during the summer months. My children are grown up now, and seem to find jobs on different continents every six months or so, but Gudiolo continues to be the place where they return with their friends.

It’s our corner of the Umbrian countryside, where we prepare lunch with ingredients from the vegetable garden, spend lazy afternoons by (and in) the pool during the summer and around the fireplace in winter, and enjoy evening meals under the pergola, sometimes with homemade pizza from our clay oven. Although we never tire of rearranging the kitchen and reshuffling the furniture, finding new uses for the nooks and crannies, the difference is that for the first time no box has remained unpacked, and every object has finally found a place. They—and, more important, we—have finally arrived home; an experience that neither my children nor I ever knew before.

What is your favorite room and why? The kitchen, where everyone gathers to enjoy good food, good talks, and good times.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: A place wanderers call home

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I was born in Chile and go back every year. For some time I felt there was only one thing missing in my home: evidence of my Chilean heritage. On my last trip I brought back several awayos, which are indigenous textiles woven in beautiful colors. Now they adorn the couches in my favorite area of the house, around the fire pit, next to the outside dinning table.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Never follow fashion, trends, or the advice of interior designers more than your own likes and passions. It doesn’t matter how many people praise your house if you don’t love it yourself. Make sure it’s a place where your friends will love to visit.

This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

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