Italian Ghost Town Converted to Residence

Thirty-five years ago, Barbara Varese’s family began buying abandoned homes in a tiny Italian hamlet, and today she has united all of them into a maze of bedrooms, ancient kitchens, hidden stairways, and converted stables. When the family first began purchasing the properties, many hadn’t been lived in for years, so they were just fragments of houses they had to rebuild, but they used as much of the old stone and wood as possible, knocking down walls between buildings to connect everything with hallways and stairs.

When the Vareses first started buying here, there were only two residents of the village of Oretto – Italo and Renata – and when they died their homes were purchased to complete the village-wide labyrinth. Even the old wooden barn and stone stables were converted into a banquet hall and lounge, respectively.

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