A 200-acre estate in southeastern Connecticut that was the home of late Italian tenor Sergio Franchi has hit the market for $12.6 million, a record asking price for the town and among the state’s most expensive active listings.
The Stonington compound, the town’s largest, includes a 19th-century Colonial main home as well as four cottages, a pond, art studio and chapel. The seven-bedroom slate-roofed home spans 6,300 square feet and has a dining room with stained glass windows, sunroom with pool, an office and an attached three-car garage.
Both individual buyers and developers have shown an interest in the property, said Tammy Tinnerello, the William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty agent who has the listing.
‘It’s split right down the middle,” Tinnerello said. “Fifty percent are big developers, and then the other 50 percent are just people that want to actually live there and want that authentic house.”
Purchases by primary and secondary home buyers have soared in Connecticut during the pandemic, although the state’s most expensive homes are typically in the state’s “gold coast,” closer to New York. Luxury home sales in Fairfield County jumped 49 percent in the second quarter from a year prior as average prices rose 30 percent, according to a report by Douglas Elliman.
The Franchi estate would be a Stonington record by far if it were to sell close to the asking price, according to Henri Gourd, a Stonington agent at Berkshire Hathaway. The next most expensive local home, a waterfront estate on Wamphassuc Point, sold for $7 million in December 2018.
Eva Franchi told the Day newspaper, which reported the listing earlier, that her husband had planned to split the estate into 64 lots.
Franchi’s home is about 10 minutes inland from Stonington Borough, a harborfront enclave of historic houses, antique shops and seafood restaurants where the median price of a single-family home stood at $430,000 last month, unchanged from a year ago, according to William Raveis. It’s also not far from the tourist magnet of Mystic.
The property’s asking price lags several others in Connecticut. An 18.75 acre estate on the Connecticut River in Lyme, including a beach, boathouse and dock, is on the market for $19.9 million, while tennis star Ivan Lendl listed his Cornwall mansion in March for $16.4 million. Lendl’s Litchfield County home, in the northwest, is 18,000 square feet and sits on 445 acres.
Franchi’s wife, Eva, has lived at the home, on Sergio Franchi Drive, since the singer’s death in 1990 and is selling the home to move to Beverly Hills. He kept a car collection in a detached seven-vehicle garage.