Dreaming of a 3,000-square-foot restored farmhouse with room for all your family and friends...or a villa that you can do up and then run as a B&B? Or perhaps you picture yourself in a cozy village house just big enough for two...or a home overlooking the piazza (square) in a small historic hill town. A villa beside the looking-glass Northern Lakes? An apartment on the Mediterranean or Adriatic coast...or in a major city such as Rome, Florence, or Venice? Rolling fields and hillsides crowned with castles? The excitement of the city? Whatever your taste, you can find it in Italy.

Although many areas of Italy have been discovered, not all regions are expensive. In rural areas and small towns, plenty of homes are on offer for less than $100,000. Often a lot less...

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Pocket-Money Real Estate Bargains in Europe

What’s not to love about cultural riches and cobbled charms? Throughout most of Europe, the property market remains in the doldrums, which means you can find bargains. From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean…from Ireland to Greece, there’s a tempting array of move-into properties that will leave you change from €100,000 ($137,000).

Renting a Piece of the Old World

It’s called the “Old World” for a reason, and despite two world wars and decades of development, history is evident in the architecture of Europe. You can stroll cobbled streets where lords and ladies once rushed to galas, climb castle steps in the footsteps of armored knights, and explore villages preserved for 500 years or more.

Italy-Lake

Yes, You Can Afford to Retire in Italy…

Whether it’s for a summer or a lifetime, Italy isn’t only for the wealthy. I first got hooked on la dolce vita when I was young and had very little cash to spare. But as I was in love with the vagabond lifestyle, relative impoverishment was no barrier to doing my own version of a Grand Tour.

TheCharmsOfEurope

The Charms of Europe’s Second Cities: Buy Property from $82,000

In the popular imagination, it’s the great capitals of Europe that get the most attention. Tourists flock to Paris, Rome, Madrid, and London for the big-city flair, museums, and monuments. It’s the thing to do. And granted, you should seize any opportunity to stroll the Champs-Élysées on a beautiful spring evening or explore London’s international cuisine and regal parks.

Views from Castellabate are outstanding and prices much lower than on the neighboring Almafi Coast. © robangel69-IStock

South of Amalfi, Italy: Where Properties Cost Less

We arrived at our rented villa just in time to see the sun slipping down toward the liquid-blue horizon. Perched on the terrace, we sipped rosé wine bought in a winery down the road and watched as nature splashed a rosy hue across the western sky. Fishermen returning with their catch left a silvery wake in the waning light. One hour in Cilento and we were smitten.

The Perched Villages of Europe

In medieval Europe, keeping an eye out for and guarding against invasion—a frequent occurrence in those days—was no easy feat. But one of a nobleman’s greatest defensive weapons was a castle perched on a rocky hilltop near an important mountain pass. The location itself—surrounded by steep cliff—offered protection.

Living la dolce vita in Italy is more affordable than you may think.

A Month in Italy at New Year’s—Less Than $1,900

It was New Year’s Eve 2012 and the view outside my window was perfect. In the darkness, I could just make out the rolling Italian hills, dotted with brick houses with terracotta rooftops. A lone bell tower rose from a small, ancient church into the sky. And as the bell tolled midnight, the sky lit up with fireworks from three different directions.

TrailRunInEurope

The Secrets to Finding a Rental for a Trial Run in Europe

You’ve made plans, set tentative dates…you’re almost ready to take off on your three- or six-month European tour…the next step is a roof over your head. But the short-term rentals offered online can be sickeningly expensive. Fully furnished and ready to go they may be, but with prices often multiples of those you’ll find on the ground, there are better ways to look.

European Ski Village edit

Renting on the Slopes of Europe for Ski Season

For thousands of years skiing was just a way to travel in winter, carry mail and goods to snowbound towns, or—believe it or not—charge into battle. Then in the mid-19th century the first races took place and before long enthusiastic amateurs had taken up the sport.

basilicata

Italy v France: Round Two

France is nice, I guess. Lavender fields and a vast wine country surely hold a certain appeal. But it’s Italy that captures the heart and feels like home. My cousin bought a house in a lovely little village in southern France, but when she comes to Basilicata, Italy she feels a pang of regret. How could she not, with so much home-spun seduction enveloping anyone who sets foot in the region?

Scalea-in-Calabria

Italy v France: Round One

Mi dispiace, France. I’m sorry. It’s no contest. Even in your rainy-day Brittany region, you can’t come up with a two-story house that a buyer could move into for 18,000 euro ($24,000). We can. It’s not a doll’s house either—there’s 1,290 square feet of living space.

Property Bargains in Italy's Basilicata Region

Property Bargains in Italy’s Basilicata Region

Because the area has lost residents in the past half-century, there are lots of properties available, but you have to make an effort to find them. Most towns don’t have real estate agents. We found our little 300-year-old casa in the village of Trivigno thanks to the village’s former mayor. We paid just $32,000 for the habitable house with three separate stone-hewn cantinas, used to store firewood and wine.

matera-basilicata

Affordable Palazzos in Italy

I don’t blame them. Basilicata is possibly the least-known region in Italy. Located at the ankle of the boot, it cuddles up to Puglia, Calabria, and Campania and is the most sparsely-populated part of the country.

Three Little-Known Havens in Italy, France and Spain

Three Little-Known Havens in Italy, France and Spain

If you’re in love with classic Europe and its history, romance and culture, take heart: Spain, Italy and France aren’t only for the vacationer who saves for months just to visit. Each one of these three countries has numerous small towns and villages that lie under the radar—places with enticingly affordable properties to rent or buy

Slow Down and Enjoy the Moment in Tuscany

Slow Down and Enjoy the Moment in Tuscany

Each summer, my husband and I perch ourselves on the house’s upper terrace and gaze out at the valley below. Shimmering there in the heat is Florence. It thrills us that beneath the haze lies a trove of Renaissance treasures: Michelangelo’s David… Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome… Botticelli’s Venus, standing tall and tranquil on her scalloped sea shell. In just 20 minutes we can be down there…

Europe: Now More Affordable Than Ever for North Americans

Europe: Now More Affordable Than Ever for North Americans

Right now, doom and gloom in Europe runs deep. But there is a story not being told…one of opportunity borne of this crisis. A story of places where you could own your own piece of the Old World…for less than half the price of a budget family sedan. In Greece and beyond—prices are falling like a rock. And for anybody who ever mused about a European retreat, that’s the silver lining.

Homes-In-Wine-Country

Homes in Wine Country

If a small Italian farmhouse with a vineyard sounds sweet, then look to the Abruzzo (pictured), a region of southern central Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea.

Europe on Sale? Baloney!

Europe on Sale? Baloney!

The economies of the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain) are in disarray. Europe is in the throws of a banking crisis brought on by (among other things) exposure to Greek sovereign debt. Many of you have been asking if now is the time to jump in.

Italy

Affordable Lakeside Living on Rome’s Doorstep

Around an hour from Rome, Lago di Bolsena shimmers in the Lazio sunshine like a liquid forget-me-not. Unlike northern Italy’s lakes, Bolsena is almost unknown to foreign visitors. But so too is the Maremma, the old name for northern Lazio and the southernmost reaches of Tuscany.

Live Well in Europe: Where to Find the Good Life for Less in France, Spain, and Italy

Live Well in Europe: Where to Find the Good Life for Less in France, Spain, and Italy

Europe has so much to offer a potential expat…great food, a diverse choice of cultures, stunning countryside where life is quiet and relaxed and the buzz of everyday life seems a million miles away, awe-inspiring mountains for skiing and soft, sandy beaches for wiling away summer days…

But isn’t Europe expensive? That’s the observation we hear most about Europe and the answer is that Europe can be expensive…unless you know the right places to look!

In this report we’ll tell you about our favorite places in “Romantic Europe” and hope to make you dream of new places in the “Old World.”

Homes for Under $70,000—and Other Glittering Prizes of Uncharted Italy

Homes for Under $70,000—and Other Glittering Prizes of Uncharted Italy

The Latin phrase festina lente (make haste slowly) suits the Maremma in Italy. It’s as if the air compels you to slow down and really savor Italy’s sweet life. But why savor it only on vacation? A move-into village house could be yours for $63,000. And consider this: You’d only be a 90-minute drive from Rome.

A Home in Tuscany from $57,000

A Home in Tuscany from $57,000

In the heart of Licciana Nardi, the three-bedroom house I’m viewing doesn’t require any work. It has 1,290 square feet of living space, and a cantina for storing those lovely bottles of wine and olive oil. A covered terrace overlooks the town’s old borgo (main laneway).

The Italy Secret: Rip-off Tuscany Versus Real Tuscany

The Italy Secret: Rip-off Tuscany Versus Real Tuscany

There’s a world of difference between Northern Tuscany and Central Tuscany. Most foreign visitors only explore the Chianti villages and the “Golden Triangle” cornered by Pisa, Florence and Siena. But unless you veer away from the well-trodden paths, you’ll never realize how affordable Tuscany can be.

Tuscany’s “Land of a Hundred Castles” from $57,000

Tuscany’s “Land of a Hundred Castles” from $57,000

My nose keeps getting distracted—the air is scented with fresh foccaccia bread and cornetti, Italy’s version of the croissant. As real estate agent Sylvie points out, this house comes with breakfast on the doorstep. A traditional bakery is just across the street.

Tuscany For $46,000, or Less

Tuscany For $46,000, or Less

Perched on a wall, scoffing a mint-and hazelnut ice cream, I’m watching an Italian mountain rescue collie go through his paces. No spectator fee for this local dog show. It’s happening on a grassy square outside Barga’s medieval walls.

Tuscany for $46k or Less

Tuscany for $46k or Less

Perched on a wall, scoffing a mint-and-hazelnut ice cream, I’m watching an Italian mountain rescue collie go through his paces.

Tuscany Property in Bagni di Lucca

Tuscany Property in Bagni di Lucca

Above the grand villas with their lichen-covered statuary and wisteria blossom, little villages cling to the hillsides. When their lights come on at dusk, it’s like a myriad stars twinkling away. One small house up there—stone-built, chestnut-beamed and habitable—is on the market for $72,600.

An Italy You Can Afford

An Italy You Can Afford

Read more about affordable Italy in International Living Postcards—your daily escape I am here in Cancun, Mexico, at IL’s Ultimate Event, showing attendees how to find Italy’s best property bargains. During my talk about village homes at prices that just seem too good to be true, I got a few suspicious looks from the attendees. […]

Invest in a Piece of Italian History…From $31,000

These trulli homes are more affordable than they look…. Wednesday, April 30, 2008 Alberobello, Italy Learn more about buying property in Italy in International Living Postcards—your daily escape Small, conical, dry-stone-roofed houses, or trulli, cover the hill like barnacles on a turtle’s shell. The Lord of the Rings is what first springs to mind when […]

High Rental Returns on Your Italian Sea-view Apartment

You can find properties for $103,000 just a stroll from the soft, sandy beaches of the Ionian Sea. Tuesday, April 29, 2008 Bevagna, Italy Last chance to sign up for tomorrow’s FREE Brazil Beachfront Webinar. Register now! Last day to save 28% on everything in the IL Bookstore Anniversary Sale! Read more about Italy in […]

A Home With a View of the Adriatic Sea: $186,000

A long stretch of the deep turquoise waters of the Adriatic comes into sight almost as soon as you leave Bari airport, and the sandy beaches of the Ionian to the south are no more than 40 minutes’ drive away. For me, one of the best things about Italy’s “boot heel” province of Puglia is that you’re never far from the coast.

The medieval magic of Italy’s hill towns—a vineyard of your own for less than $100,000

Two hours east of Rome, hemmed by the glittering Adriatic, Abruzzo offers dreamy hill towns, tiny farms, ruggedly wild countryside, and the diamond-bright peaks of the Apennines. Most towns and mountain villages are within an hour’s drive of sandy beaches. Hot summers, cold winters. During my February visit, the air was scented with wood-smoke. Everyone […]

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