In 1984, Count Antonio Bolza decamped to the Umbrian countryside, where he settled alongside a 10th-century estate that once belonged to the Marchese del Monte and, later, the bishop of Todi. A decade hence, ignoring skeptical friends, he acquired the surrounding 2,700 acres, which included 50 abandoned farmhouses and a dilapidated 10th-century castle.
But it wasn’t until Count Benedikt, Bolza’s son, who studied architecture, took over the project that the family began the painstaking process of a house-by-house renovation. For decades, Benedikt traipsed around the gardens with a camera hanging off his shoulder, studying every angle of the space. “We’re not property developers,” he told Condé Nast Traveller. “It’s been 26 years, and it’s still not finished.”