4274 - Casa Sette Mullini, Italy

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Originally an incongruent cluster of disparate buildings, the “Seven Millers’” house was created as a single villa by two ladies who were amongst the first to discover the remote Sicilian island of Panarea back in the late 1950s. Toto Koopman and Erica Brausen were society ladies who lived together for over 40 years, and who are as responsible as any for making Panarea into the most chic and glamorous island in Italy. Koopman was a celebrated model in the pre-war era, the first to grace the cover of Vogue magazine in colour, and Brausen ran one of the most successful contemporary art galleries in London, launching the careers of artists such as Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti. Many of their illustrious friends and clients, including Hollywood celebrities and aristocrats, came to Panarea as guests in what was - and still is - the most beautiful villa on Panarea Their house is now owned by a South African family, who have carefully and sensitively looked after the cascading gardens, the many tiled terraces with stunning views to the Mediterranean Sea, and the myriads of rooms with interweaving pathways. As is customary on Panarea, the whitewashed cuboid buildings are set into an almost surreal landscape of huge boulders, lemon and fig trees, colourful bouganvilleas, and flowering cactus plants. Toto and Erica understood the simplicity of Aeolian architecture, and their house remains one of its most stunning examples on this most beautiful of Mediterranean islands. Writer Adam Butler

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