The Italian Almanac

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Villa Certosa

Italian News - June 12

The total comes to just under twelve million euros: 11,966,348 to be precise. That’s how much it cost to complete “the major ground preparation work over the whole area” at Villa Certosa in Sardinia, including the now celebrated hillock looking out to sea, the old olive trees, the amphitheatre and all the rest. The information is tucked away in the supplementary note accompanying the 2005 accounts of Immobiliare Idra, the company that owns the former premier’s properties. It is the outcome of a slow but inexorable real estate investment campaign by Mr Berlusconi which has focused on Sardinia, where the properties at Porto Rotondo now extend, as it says in accounts which would not shame a medium-sized company, over “almost one hundred and twenty hectares”.

In other words, the estate is twice as large as the Vatican City, or half the size of the Principality of Monaco. Over the last year, Mr Berlusconi has continued to buy land, spending 574,000 euros in addition to 1,453,676 euros paid “to the professional studio overseeing the entire project”. But those were not his only investments in Sardinia. Apart from purchasing a licence, valid until 2028, to moor a boat at the tourist marina of Porto Rotondo for 165,235 euros, Mr Berlusconi has also had “necessarily to install a GSM relay station” and spend 276,000 euros for security camera installations. A further 600,000 euros went on miscellaneous equipment, televisions, lawnmowers, garden tractors, tricars and a boat. Some 538,000 euros went on furniture, about the same amount as was spent last year on the villas at Macherio and Arcore. Major work was carried out on both residences last year. At Arcore, Mr Berlusconi paid 2,337,000 euros for restructuring work while the sum spent on Macherio was lower at 1,800,000 euros, a figure that refers substantially to expenses for a “stable for equines”.

The Immobiliare Idra accounts, which had shown a loss in 2004, were in the red again in 2005 for a total of 3,700,000 euros. What is the reason? Rents are too low and fail to cover expenses, even though Mr Berlusconi is charged 18,000,000 euros for the supply of services at Macherio, Arcore and Villa Certosa. Immobiliare Idra chairman Giuseppe Spinelli warns that the only thing to do at this point is to “raise the amounts due for rental charges”, which today stand at 1,700,000 euros. Negotiations are believed to be under way between the landlord, Silvio Berlusconi, and his tenant, Silvio Berlusconi.