This photo is the real thing. It was taken around 1960 when these were being built in Palm Springs, California. The roof shape has fondly defined this as a Butterfly Alexander. Alexander Construction built these but they were designed by architect William Krisel.
If artificial turf isnt your style, but you want a surface you dont need to water, look for a ground material that will provide minimal bounce. Decomposed granite, sand or crushed oyster shells are all options that do not require water. These are especially appropriate for arid climates and for re-creating an authentic Italian villa feel.