First came the castle. Then the golf course.
The nearly 300,000 fans descending on the Marco Simone club for the Ryder Cup this week will be able to see the 11th-century castle with the same name from various points of the course — it’s wedged between the sixth and eighth holes and has a big Italian flag waving from its tower — but they won’t be able to visit it.
That’s because it’s the private residence of fashion designer Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna, who owns and runs the golf club. Biagiotti Cigna’s parents bought the castle in 1978 — the year she was born — and then decided to build the surrounding golf course. While the golf course recently underwent an 11 million euro ($12 million) complete restyling in order to host the sport’s biggest team event, keeping up a 1,000-year-old castle is a job that never ends.