The rebirth of Villa Teloni began on a cold winter afternoon as the villa’s heavy entry gate slowly opened before the eyes of Sandro Teloni, the future owner of this historic home. Even though colors were plentiful before his eyes, Sandro initially felt underwhelmed by the monotony of property. It felt like it was something from an old-fashioned black and white photograph.
He admitted, “It was the only time I felt overwhelmed and thought I would have to admit defeat. Fortunately, however, I didn’t give up. However, it wasn’t ‘love at first sight,’ of course. The bond, a very intense one, however, came quickly. Today, when I walk through that same gate, I feel like I’m in Heaven.”
Sandro Teloni certainly did not know what would be involved in the restoration of the elegant residence that had nearly ended up ruined over time. He would have to face two earthquakes and functional upgrades before completing the transformation of the property from a home for himself and his family into the charming residence fit for foreign tourists traveling to Italy.
He still vividly recalls the signing of the sales agreement in the office of a notary of Civitanova Marche. Upon seeing the final paperwork on the desk, the original owner, Signora Evelina Battibocca began to cry because she never wanted to sell the property that was so dear to her. He felt tears coming to his own eyes after seeing her so emotional. Shortly afterward, Sandro remembers that she asked him not to make a mess of what had been the final home of her distinguished family for many years. That request has always stayed in the back of his mind. He promised her that he would not use so much as a single new brick in the entire villa. And so, after three restorations, the house was finally finished.
While under construction during the first renovation, Villa Teloni was in fact damaged by the earthquake of September 1997. The bell tower of the ancient church ended up partially on the ground, and very obvious damage marked the turret and all the wings that reached beyond the main floor. Only sheer determination and dedication allowed the completion of such a miraculous restoration in such a short period of time.
Franco Mari, an old bricklayer from Castelraimondo, took on repairing the old bell tower as his final job before retiring. With the patience of a saint, he disassembled and reassembled the entire bell tower brick by brick. He did the same for the columns of the lemon house, which structure would later become the location of the paved patio outside the church.
“It was some subconscious need that pushed me to do things,” Sandro says as he looks at photos of himself and the team at work during the restoration. One even includes a group photo of Sandro’s father, his children, and the workers that he has since become friends with.
The 1997 earthquake was not the only one that damaged the villa. In 2016, another one hit the area, even more intense than the previous one. Due to damage, Sandro was forced to tear down the turret and a surrounding wall outside the garden. There was no available government assistance for these repairs, so a second major restoration was started at his own expense. Less than a year later, the property was back on to its former glory and ready to host the first wedding of an American couple.
Work and family, commitments and affections, come and go from Villa Teloni. Yesterday as today. Sandro’s children, now grown, always manage this house as if it were their own personal home, but they welcome guests from all over the world together with their parents. Guests today come from every continent, staying here for a week – or several. When they ask for the history of this property, Sandro takes them to the cellar and shows them what used to be a bomb shelter. Thanks to that shelter, countless people were saved. Confiscated during the war, the old cellar would later become one of the areas most frequented by the German militias.
Visitors to Villa Teloni are awed by the painstaking restoration that has been accomplished and are enchanted by the stories of those who transformed this place – all without using a single new brick.
Now, as the gate opens onto Villa Teloni, those who enter are met by the array of colors from the gorgeous gardens and grounds, a paradise that allows them to leave behind the grayness of the city and everyday monotony.