At roughly 13,000 square feet, "Il Podere" has all of the features that a globetrotting, outdoorsy family would want in a Tuscan estate–all nestled in the foothills of hiking and skiing trails of Vail, Colorado. For $29.5 million, the property, with the "million dollar driveway" can be yours.
You heard correctly. The main mansion, caretaker house and barn are situated close to the family's favorite hiking and skiing spots. The patriarch, toy company titan Dick Rothkopf–who was once affiliated with Thomas the Tank Engine–and the family were hiking in the area one year, when they came across the site they thought would make an excellent place to build a home. But that spot is also at a 700-foot elevation, and it is 1½ miles away from the nearest road. The driveway took two years to build, and required consulting with engineers in order to complete a remapping of the hilly area.
The property is worth the trip up! Major features include what the current family calls "the dungeon," a recreation area with a home theater, indoor basketball court, billiard room, a 1,200-square-foot gym and a sauna. Oh the torture! The unfortunate guests of Il Podere, Italian for "the farm," might have to march through a stone tunnel with vaulted ceilings that connects to the recreation rooms before enjoying themselves. There is also a pool and a pool house.
Inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture, Il Podere also has lots of stone patios and cathedral windows that frame stupendous views of the surrounding mountains. Dramatic archways introduce visitors to the wine cellar and the gourmet kitchen, which also has a brick oven.
The estate has easy, 25-minute access to invigorating ski slopes in Vail, Colorado; Aspen is just 45 minutes away, and if a few members of the household want to take a day trip into Denver, it's an easy distance of about an hour and a half.
If you are wondering why the owner didn't just build a helipad on the site somewhere, two things: 1) maybe a family member with a daredevil streak thought it would be fun to go speeding down the road on days with fresh snowfall and 2) perhaps the family will build one on their new property. They just checked out the Sonoma Valley and love it so much that they are planning to build a new estate there. If you buy this farm, it doesn't mean you are saying your farewells. It means you know how to live!