The De Sica Family’s Storied Villa in Capri, Frequented by Artistic Luminaries From Cy Twombly to D. H. Lawrence, Has Found a Buyer

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A stunning villa known as Four Winds, on the island of Capri, has just sold for an undisclosed sum. The two-bedroom retreat, nestled among the sheer slopes of Mount Solaro, boasts panoramic views of the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius in the distance. While its price could not be confirmed with the listing agent, Lionard Luxury Real Estate, the property has been estimated to be worth $3–4 million.

The sweeping view of the Bay of Naples at Four Winds. Courtesy of Lionard.

The sweeping view of the Bay of Naples at Four Winds. Courtesy of Lionard.

With its 2,690 square feet across two floors, Four Winds features marble floors, vaulted ceilings, citrus and olive orchards, and a tiled outbuilding used as a spa. The villa, a short walk from the scenic Piazzetta di Capri, was acquired by the De Sica family of film directors in the 1930s and remained in their possession until 2015, when Christian de Sica sold it to a private buyer.

According to the listing, during the 20th century, the villa became a haven for writers and artists. Elihu Vedder, the American Symbolist painter and poet, had it built in 1903 and christened it Casa Vedder, using it as his studio and residence. It was later renamed Villa dei Quattro Venti (Villa of the Four Winds) after the four weather vanes that can still be seen atop the terraced roof. 

Four Winds villa on the island of Capri. Courtesy of Lionard.

Four Winds villa on the island of Capri. Courtesy of Lionard.

During the 1920s, the island hideaway changed hands to a compatriot of Vedder’s—Earl Henry Brewster, a painter, writer, and Buddhist scholar. Brewster was also the biographer and close friend of D. H. Lawrence. Four Winds served as the long-term abode of the famed British author, the spot where he penned his last and perhaps most scandalous novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It was among these verdant hills that Lawrence envisioned the affair between the wealthy young English lady and her hired gamekeeper. Published first in Italy, then France, the book was banned elsewhere and became the subject of an obscenity trial in the U.K.

The spa at Four Winds. Courtesy of Lionard Luxury Real Estate.

The spa at Four Winds. Courtesy of Lionard Luxury Real Estate.

In the ensuing decades, according to Lionard, Four Winds was frequented by artists including Joseph Beuys and Cy Twombly. While it’s unclear what brought Twombly to Four Winds specifically, the artist’s affinity for Italian art and culture is well-documented, beginning with his first visit to the country in 1952, accompanied by Robert Rauschenberg. The avowed Italophile later bought a villa of his own in the town of Gaeta—across the bay from Capri—where he made annual pilgrimages and painted some of his most important works, including those from the “Four Seasons” series, now owned by MoMA. Twombly’s 1988 painting soared to nearly $17 million at a recent Christie’s sale.

 

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