x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Three islands for sale - with a lot of buzz

Private islands are the rage in international property circles.

Italy's Li Galli Islands have had only three owners.
Italy's Li Galli Islands have had only three owners.

Blame it on Marlon Brando.

When the late actor bought an island in Polynesia in 1965 he started a trend. Suddenly you didn't have to be royalty or a Greek shipping magnate to own an island paradise.

Today, private islands are a cottage industry, complete with magazines, blogs and agents specialising in such properties. Sales and listings create worldwide buzz, especially when a celebrity is involved.

Only about 800 islands around the world are available for private sale, according to industry estimates. Prices vary widely, and it is often difficult to track true ownership.

But with supply limited, some islands immediately attract attention when they come on the market, which is why a new listing for three small islands off the coast of Italy, near Positano and Capri, is sure to generate speculation and interest.

The pedigree of Li Galli Islands dates to Greek mythology, and there are Roman ruins on the largest island. The islands have had only three owners, including the late Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, in modern times.

The main island, which has reportedly hosted film stars such as Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Anna Magnani and Sophia Loren as well as Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of the assassinated US president John F Kennedy, features three villas, a private grotto, a desalination and power plant and a heli-pad.

The €195 million (Dh989.5m) price tag includes the Villa Tre Ville, a 2,900-square-metre estate on the mainland once owned by the director Franco Zeffirelli. The villa features 19 suites, two kitchens and accommodation for 17 staff members.

The islands and the villa have been on the market for a month and generated interest from private family trusts in eastern Europe, Asia and some Middle East family offices based in Geneva,says Christine Ngan, the executive vice president of the Paris-based Triangle Capital, which is marketing the property.

"Given the response and the fact it has only traded hands three times in the last 110 years, we believe a new owner will be on board prior to the beginning of summer," she said.