The Romans did a lot for humanity. They invented modern plumbing and the postal service. They started newspapers (big fan). But in a more concrete sense - literally - its their architecture that has stood the test of time. Arches? Roman. Domes? You better believe it. Impluvia? Less commonly seen - unless its a £1.2m Lancashire mansion we're talking about, that is...
While one can comfortably say the ornate masonry in the garden of this four-bedroom super-house is definitively not Roman - after the collapse of their empire, their famed recipe for millennia-defying concrete was famously lost - the style is very Rome. And while togas may be ill-advised in Wigan, grapes and wine are always good.
This property immediately twangs the olive oil-drenched heartstrings. A broad York stone sun terrace welcomes the owner like a centurion returning from some Mesopotamian skirmish or Lusitanian tête-à-tête, while the garden's Ionic columns wouldn't look out of place on the banks of the River Tiber, although you'll have to make do with the River Douglas in this case.
First thing is first though: this property is accessed via not one but two pillared driveways before you can even set foot in the garden. The outside is beautiful - the appropriated outdoor impluvium could've come straight from an Etruscan villa - but inside, through the nationally confusing French-style oak double doors, an ornate oak banister and chandelier hover over a limestone-tiled hallway.
Adding another dash of Francophile joie de vivre to this Italian extravaganza, a thick-set French rouge marble fireplace sits in a drawing room so vast it comfortably needs as many windows as Ancient Rome had invasions. The formal dining area lies to one end of the room, while another sitting room opposite boasts a pair of stone mullion windows overlooking the picturesque gardens.
We all know how much the Romans loved their food (cue classic lie about them having a vomitorium) and this house certainly plays up to the culinary passions of our Umbrian friends. The breakfast kitchen boasts marble work-surfaces and an island unit, while a four-oven Aga makes making an Italian-inspired Lancashire hotpot a must (just add some basil and fra diavolo sausage and pronounce 'hotpot' in an Italian accent and you'll be fine).
A central mosaic feature over which built-in bookshelves for your copies of Machiavelli and Elena Ferrante's works loom can be found in the rear hall, and happily for those hoping to take their Dante Alighieri out among the stonework, the vestibule offers access to the charming garden. And we all know that the garden is where you want to be.
Upstairs, the regal master bedroom offers occupants the decadence of a columned archway, a built-in wardrobe, and a walk-in dressing room as well as the classic marble tiled five-piece en suite complete with a bidet for those who really want to get continental. Pampered doesn't quite cut the Italian mustard (I looked it up, there is such a thing, but it's made with candied fruit and sounds a little unappealing).
For those for whom pampering is just a fancy word made for spa retreats, there is also heaps of workshop space in which to get artisinal. Skylights, potting sheds, endless garage space... you'll be feeling like a market stall owner in the shadow of the Colosseum in no time. Keep wandering and you'll find yourself ensconced in and orchard teeming with fruit trees, a tennis court and wild bluebell woods. If green-fingered pottering is your thing, a striking Victorian glasshouse with Jasmine climbing up the rear wall will certainly of of interest.
domum est pulchra
For more information, head to https://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/47791170?search_identifier=ac913633b1998ea436f88df5b1f93dbc