According to the United Nations, there are some 65,000 Brits living in Italy. It’s a relatively niche market though those that do live in the country are enthusiastic advocates. Perhaps it’s the culture, style, simmering heat and romance of the country that generates such passion.
The climate is typically Mediterranean with long hot summers and cool, wet winters. The north and the Alps as well as the Apennines are good for winter sports.
Italy’s property market has been fairly soft for much of the last decade and is only recently showing signs of a very modest recovery. Despite the recent falls in Sterling versus the Euro, Italian property still represents good value.
The infrastructure is very good with an extensive road, rail and air network. Travellers from the UK should have no problem getting to most places in the country fairly quickly.
The most popular areas for Brits to purchase are around Tuscany, The Lakes and Umbria whilst there is growing interest and more affordable properties in Marche, Abruzzo, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
Tuscany evokes images of rolling countryside and sweeping coastline. It is stunningly beautiful. Once you add the rustic ambiance, old medieval properties, the culture and easy lifestyle, it is easy to see why this part of the world is so admired. A Tuscan farmhouse lined with Cypress trees and nestled in olive groves is, for many, the dream property.
The area around Lucca is popular along with La Spezia, Lunigiana and Monte Agentario. Siena, Arezzo, Montecatini Terme, Montepulciano and the Volterra areas are very fashionable.
The Lakes, an area north of Milan, is another stunning location. It is close to the Alps and ski resorts so you will experience four very distinct seasons. Lake Como, Lake Garde and Lake Lugano are the most popular choices. The area around Cernobbio at the southern end of Lake Como is very fashionable at present. Surprisingly affordable options exist further north.
This landlocked region can be found south-east of Tuscany. Again there is sweeping countryside, valleys and rustic charm aplenty with vineyards, olive groves and traditional villages perched precariously in the hills. Whilst no coastline exists there are a number of lakes with the regional park around Lake Trasimeno popular. Umbria holds a great central location for relatively easy access to all the major cities.
If we travel further east, we come to Marche situated on the lovely Adriatic coast. With beautiful sandy beaches, coastline and easy access to the ski resorts of the Sibilini mountains, this region is growing in popularity. The coastline from San Benedetto del Tronto to Pescara is popular with attractive property prices particularly when compared to Tuscany. Even more affordable options exist inland with the towns of Amandola, Fermo, Macerata, Offida and Ripatransone all gaining interest.
Further south along the Adriatic coast we come to Abruzzo which holds similar advantages to Umbria. The areas close to the airport at Pescara are the most popular and prices in this region are again extremely affordable.
Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria
Once an unfashionable area, the southern end of Italy is now showing a lot of interest driven in part by the arrival of a number of low-cost airlines. This is an unspoilt and under-developed part of the country and the market outlook is very positive.
The beaches in the area are sandy and the waters generally crystal clear. The cuisine and wine of the area is sublime.
Prices are again very attractive with Ostuni, Francavilla Fontana, Martina Franca, Lecce and Brindisi in Puglia, Matera in Basicalicata whilst for Calabria the developments at Zambrone, Madama and Pizzo are popular along with Tropea and Scalea.
Sicily and Sardinia
These islands are enjoying an increase in interest again on the back of a number of new airports and low-cost airlines.
Sicily, just off the toe-boot end of Calabria, offers a very distinct culture and lifestyle. Being in the central area of the Mediterranean, the climate is also very good. The popular areas are on the east and south-east corner of the island. The north side tends to have very rocky beaches.
Sardinia is a favoured European holiday destination. Tourists are attracted to the tranquility and relaxed lifestyle, clear waters, great beaches lovely climate and fantastic cuisine. The south west of the island is the most popular area for Brits whilst there are some very chic resorts in the north east around Porto Cervo on the Emerald coast.