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Italy

About Italy

Italy is renowned worldwide for its stylish and chic approach to life, love and food, Italy is a founding member of the EEC in 1958, which became the European Union in 1993. It has been a Schengen member since 1997 and has open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino and the Vatican City. Italy has the third largest economy in the Eurozone and the eight largest in the world. It is also in the Top 10 countries of the world for quality of life. Most properties for sale are original, rather than built for the property investment market.

About Italy

Capital: Rome
Currency: Euro
Language: Italian
Schengen Area Member: Yes

Renowned worldwide for its stylish and chic approach to life, love and food, Italy is a founding member of the EEC in 1958, which became the European Union in 1993. It has been a Schengen member since 1997 and has open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino and the Vatican City, which is a state within its capital Rome, also known as ‘The Eternal City’. It has a population of some 61 million, making it the fourth most populated country in the EU. It is well served by international airports throughout the country and has an excellent train service for internal travel.

Italy has attracted foreign residents for centuries who want to share in the lifestyle and the ancient and modern culture. Artists, writers and poets have flocked to Italy for inspiration and living here is a dream for many people, whether they are artistic or not. Tuscany is famously popular with the British to the extent that it is known as ‘Chiantishire’ and Puglia, right down in the heel of Italy’s ‘boot’, is fast attracting new buyers, because it provides better value for money than Tuscany.

Italy has not been over-developed to serve a foreign investment market and has far fewer expats than Spain or France, even though it has a similar climate to both of these countries.

Italian economy

Italy has the third largest economy in the Eurozone and the eight largest in the world. It is also in the Top 10 countries of the world for quality of life. The country is also well known for its influential and innovative business economic sector, an industrious manufacturing sector and competitive agricultural sector (Italy is the world’s largest wine producer. It is also the largest market for luxury goods in Europe, partly thanks to it having more private wealth than any other EU country.

Italian culture

Roman ruins, opera houses and some of the greatest art collections in the world, plus stunning countryside that has a timeless look are just some of the things that make Italian culture the envy of many other countries and a dream for many buyers. It also does style like few others – even its supercars by Ferrari and Lamborghini have that special something, which sets them apart. Italian cuisine is loved worldwide and where better to sample it than in small Italian trattoria where the food is most likely cooked by ‘Mama’. The Italians are warm and welcoming, although do be prepared for lots the bureaucracy that seems to accompany many activities.

Location and price

There are very few residential resorts in Italy of the type found in Spain. Buyers tend to favour villages and towns where they can buy original properties. Renovation of properties is particularly popular in Italy, just as it is in France. British buyers in particular will find that there are very few English-speaking estate agents and lawyers in Italy, compared with France and Spain, but in the most popular residential areas with overseas buyers, you are sure to find some.

Lakes Como and Maggiore have always attracted the wealthiest buyers, whilst Lugano is for those who want a Swiss-Italian approach to life. The cities, such as Rome and Milan are expensive, as is Venice. In Tuscany and Umbria, the cities of Florence, Siena and Arezzo are also on the top end of the price range – expect to spend upwards of a million for a large property here.

The Abruzzo and Le Marche regions are gaining in popularity. Abruzzo is relatively undiscovered and is a very pretty region with plenty of greenery and it is very affordable, with prices starting below €100,000. Puglia has gained a lot of press thanks to its celebrity owners, like Helen Mirren, but you don’t need a Hollywood pay packet to buy here- there are village houses for less than €100,000. Liguria in the north is also very affordable and you will even find some great value properties on the chic island of Sardinia.

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