Villa Astor

Via Marina Grande 5, Sorrento, Campania, Italy

Rebuilt from 1905 to 1908, by William Waldorf Astor (1848-1919), the former U.S. Ambassador to Italy in the 1880s who during that time developed a passion for Italian art and sculpture. He bought this 16-room villa in 1905 from an Italian nobleman for what was then a mere 102,110 Lira. He then reportedly spent ¬£10 million - about $110 million today - renovating it. He extended the estate and planted lush botanical gardens; and, he recreated a Pompeiian villa on another part of the estate that he filled with priceless artefacts and antiques. On his death, in what was then a rare display of "preservationism" the Italian government declared the house, contents and gardens so valuable to the nation's culture that they must remain untouched. It remained the property of the Italian government until the late 1970s when it was sold to shipping tycoon Mario Pane. In 2012, the Panes sold it to the current owner who hired Interior designer Jacques Garcia to update its amenities while restoring it to its Astor-era glory. 

This house is best associated with...

William Waldorf Astor

The Rt. Hon. "Willy" Astor, 1st Viscount Astor, of Hever Castle, Kent



Contributed by Mark Meredith on 31/03/2020 and last updated on 01/04/2020.
IMage Courtesy of Dave & Margie Hill / Kleerup, CC, Flickr; Inside a Vacation Home for the Richest Family in the World, by James Tarmy for Bloomberg, 2017; Villa Astor: How Paradise Was Restored on the Amalfi Coast, by Paul Johnston for Sothebys


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