You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to buying real estate in Italy. From the sleepy rolling hills of Tuscany to the sunny groves of Abruzzo, you’re sure to find that perfect home in Europe’s most seductive country.
This is Tuscany, but not as you might know it.For many people, Tuscany embodies all that is Italy. Here you’ll find Florence, Siena, Pisa, and the quintessential landscape of dreamy hilltowns and cypress trees that seems to come straight from a quattrocento masterpiece. Tuscany is absolutely lovely, with an almost endless supply of towns and villages just begging you to linger.
Unfortunately, this is one of the most expensive of the Italian regions for property buyers. But you can find real estate bargains if you look outside the region’s heartland. This generally means looking away from the immediate Chianti area and focusing more around Lucca and the Lunigiana areas.
Although Tuscany is one of Italy’s most explored regions, few foreigners know about Lunigiana. Lunigiana borders Liguria to the west and Emilia Romagna to the north. The Apennines and Apuan Alps (whose white marble was hewn for Michelangelo) serve as a backdrop and Lunigiana’s rolling landscape is sprinkled with medieval castles, fortified towns, and hill villages set high above twisting valley roads. This is Tuscany without the crowds, where life continues to follow the traditional patterns of the season.
Property samples in Tuscany:
- Just outside Lucca, a 861-square-foot country house fully restored in typical Tuscan style, with two bedrooms, a bathroom, a study, covered patio, and panoramic views. It’s just over 19 miles to the ocean. Price: 180,000 euro ($234,000).
- In the Casentino district, in the north-east of Tuscany, is a three-bedroom, 1,076-square-foot apartment. In a quiet district close to the PalagioFiorentino and the thermal spa, it has a large kitchen and dining area, living room with fireplace, three terraces with local views, and a garage. Price: 149,000 euro ($193,700).
Fringed by Adriatic beaches, the Abruzzo region is a tapestry of mountains, olive groves, vineyards, and pine forests. Picturesque hill towns come with cobbled streets, small churches, and medieval watchtowers. The medieval hill towns and villages in Italy’s mountainous Abruzzo region get lovelier with each passing day. Views from any village here are sensational. You can always see another collection of spires, towers, and rooftops lying like buried treasure in the folds of the Apennine foothills.
It’s hard to pick which small town is the loveliest here. With its medieval castle, proximity to the MaiellaNational Park, the natural oasis of LakeSeranella, and ruins of the ancient Samnite city of Romulea—not to mention distant views of the Adriatic—Casoli is a gem. And there’s also Introdacqua, an official ‘I BorghiPiù Belli d’Italia’—the name given to Italy’s most beautiful villages. And Abrizzo also has the town of Sulmona. Overlooked by the glittering white peaks of the ApennineMountains, Sulmona’s heart comes with all the essential medieval trappings: churches with sonorous bells and riotous carvings, dimly lit alleys and secret piazzas.
Often overlooked by tourists, the Abruzzo region has spectacular scenery, medieval castles and villages, monasteries, and Roman ruins. This really is Italy’s premier hunting ground for true Italian property bargains. You’ll find dozens of affordable houses and apartments on the market here.
Property samples in Abruzzo:
- A house to restore on two floors, located in a pretty little square on the old side of Vicoli (VicoliVecchia). This property covers 645 square feet in size, and is in the middle of the Gran Sasso National Park. Ski resorts are just 40 minutes away as are the seaside and Pescara airport. Price: 23,000 euro ($33,592).
- In the little village of Fresagrandinaria, only 20 minutes away from the Adriatic Coast, is a two-bedroom, one-bathroom townhouse. The bedrooms have double-glazed windows, the bathroom has recently been retiled and has a new bathroom suite. The living room has views of the sea on a clear day. Price: 55,000 euro ($80,330).
- In the town of Suloma there’s a 1,184-square-foot apartment with two bedrooms in a newly restored block is on the market. Price: 165,000 euro ($240,995).
Note: The exchange rate used here is 1 euro = $1.46
*Prices as of 2013