The musical origin of “La Follia” is a folk tune that can be traced to 15th-century Portugal, but over centuries it became the basis of elevated variations on the original theme, notably by Antonio Vivaldi. The Italian Renaissance–style estate in Palm Beach that bears the same name is itself a lyrical take on tradition. While the 37,000-square-foot villa, the only property on the island of Palm Beach to span from ocean to lake, was designed with the hallmark columned loggias, semicircular arches, and beautifully symmetrical features of the Renaissance tradition, local coquina limestone forms its exterior, which has gently patinated since the property was built in 1995. —By Andrea Bennett
Designed by Jeff Smith of Smith Architectural Group in a modified H-plan that maximizes views of both the ocean and Lake Worth, it sits at the highest point of the nearly five-acre property, using the gentle slope toward the west end of the property for terraced gardens of fruit trees and guest suites flanking a gracious interior pool courtyard.
“There are so many special features to this house, but my personal favorite is the entry to the home,” says broker Gary Pohrer, who with Ashley McIntosh heads a group of Douglas Elliman brokers dedicated to the estate. “As you pass through the glass and verdigris-finished front door, your eyes are pulled upward to a two-story, light-filled foyer of magnificent white coquina stone walls echoing the grandeur of its exterior.”
And while the villa may appear to have occupied this land for centuries, high-tech features bring it thoroughly into contemporary context. “Glass panels rise upward 14 feet from the basement, fitting into arches to enclose the loggias off both the dining room and the gentleman’s club, blending the outdoors with indoors for any special event,” McIntosh adds. With its cinema, five-car garage, three individually climate-controlled wine cellars, six extra-large storage rooms, and a sophisticated surveillance-and-equipment room to monitor safety, the villa is a true masterpiece. Its new owner will have an entire top floor dedicated specifically to a master suite from which to survey it all.