In the woods in the north of Italy lies an unusual village. In amongst the trees are a small cluster of squat, mushroom-shaped houses, with curved cream walls and domed roofs.
It’s no wonder: the wider town, Bardineto, is famous for its porcini mushrooms.
The houses were constructed in the 1960s and 70s by Mario de Bernardi, combining his love of mushrooms and masonry.
Today, the houses are known as “Il Villagio dei Puffi” (Smurf Village), because of their likeness to the fictional mushroom huts that those little blue men called home.
For those interested in a piece of prime Smurf real estate, now is your chance: a house in Smurf Village is currently on the market for just £94,800 (€109,000).
This is a third of the price of the average one-bedroom flat in London, which currently stands at £289,300.
Covering 915 sq ft over two floors, the property has one bedroom and has been recently renovated.
Downstairs, there is a circular living space, bathroom, utility area, dining room and a kitchen, complete with wood-burning pizza oven. The bedroom —also circular— is upstairs, with a larger bathroom and study.
As well as the “mushroom house”, the price includes almost 1.5 acres of land, a barbecue area, outdoor courtyard and a woodshed.
Also listed are “five valid reasons to buy it”, including the famous, characterful village; the individuality of the property; the unusual landscape; the recent renovation and the adjoining land.
Buyers should expect some curiosity from tourists, however. Smurf Village attracts a number of visitors a year, despite the houses all being privately owned – something which travel blogs and local media have taken to reminding prospective visitors.
In the past, residents have complained to local media of “incursions” by tourists, leading owners to keep their doors and windows closed and to limit photography to outside the perimeter of the village.
Still, for mushroom —or Smurf— enthusiasts, this could be the op-porcini-ty of a lifetime.