Dick House (Casa dei sette mulini) in Panarea island

Aeolian archipelago, Sicily, Italy

The complex was created in the mid-fifties by Toto Koopman and her lover Erica
Brauer. Toto was born in 1900, the daughter of the Dutch governor of Java and his Javanese partner. After the war, in Switzerland she met Erica, a German-Jewish lesbian. They became lovers and remained as partners till Toto died in the mid-eighties.

In the early fifties, Panarea was a deserted island, the inhabitants having mostly emigrated to either America or Australia.

Arriving in ’59 the couple were able to buy the houses from the families of fishermen who sold the properties for little more than 200 thousand lire. They gradually created the Sette Mulini compound which now covers about 1800 sq. mt. between the houses and the garden. The three houses are on different levels of the terraced land, one on the level of the road and the other two on the higher terraces.

Toto was the inspiration behind much of what Sette Mulini is today. Local workers were hired to rebuild the houses with the typical bamboo-covered terraces and Aeolian columns.

Today old Aeolian jars are alternated with carved Maroccan doors, Sicilian majolica and English pieces, all lovingly blended together in such a harmonious way that could only be achieved by someone who has lived within these walls.