Hi everyone,This is my first time on

07/21/2014 - 02:30

Hi everyone,This is my first time on the community. My wife and I are looking to purchase a holiday home, with a view to permenantly living in Italy (from UK) as time goes by. Our initial thoughts are with Tuscany, as we've been around that area several times, though this is by no means set in stone.We'd appreciate any thoughts anyone might have on that, and look forward to meeting people with similar objectives. Thanks in advance.



Hi MartinoI would suggest you read as my expats views as you can, get a good book on the subject "buying a house in Italy" and start a list of your requirements (I can almost guarantee it will change over time). There is a lot to learn, but if you get it right, it is a wonderful dream come true! Goog luck and enjoy...

Its a intimidating process to be sure but with the right help, you will find that perfect gem. My personal advice is to get a trusted agent who can show you some good properties in the area you are looking at. Make sure to personally visit several times and get an inspector in there to see if there is any mold damage. You will probably need a translator or someone who you trust that can help you navigate the process, we are planning to have a 'Ask an expert' here in the community forums coming this fall, including a housing agent/lawyer who can asnwer questions like yours for a week's time. ps. welcome to the community! 

Hi there ,
In 1997 we bought a house in the beautiful Trentino region of Italy. The property needed complete renovation but we hired an architect to oversee the work, it was expensive but the end result certainly paid off. As we were at the time living in the UK & running our Restaurant business we could only visit twice a year to check out the progress & hand over cash to the builders etc. We sold the restaurant & our house & moved out in 2003 & never looked back! We had searched in many regions of Italy Tuscany being one of them, but with a limited budget properties in that region were at an inflated price. My husband is Italian which was a great advantage other wise we would not have taken on a renovation project ! My advice is to buy a house that requires no structural work as this is where your money will disintegrate ! Keep your options open regarding the area where you would like to live & being close to all services is a must ! Being out in the sticks is fine for a holiday home but not suitable for permanent living ! This is not an advertising plug for our house which is now on the market, as we now need a larger home for business reasons, but it might just give you an idea of whats available in other areas. You will find it on the Property section listed as a featured property in Comano Terme . Good luck with your search both of you & where ever you put down your roots in Italy you will have a lifestyle that would be almost impossible to find in the UK !

Hi Martino and welcome! Some 10 years ago, we were in the same predicament. We wanted to buy a property in Italy, initially as a holiday residence which could be a place where to live in the future. At the time, we started looking at several options and finally, some eight years ago, we decided that we wanted something in Tuscany, in the Val di Lima - Garfagnana area. The reason to choose this location was the excellent communications, with two international airports (Pisa and Florence) within easy reach and the possibility to travel around extensively without much effort. We had been staying in Lucca and it happened that we were renting an apartment there from an agent whose office was located in Bagni di Lucca. We went there to pay the rent.... and we fell in love with the place. It was the perfect location for us, only 25 minutes away from Lucca, one hour and a few minutes from Florence, with Pisa, Sienna, the Versilia, the Cinque Terre... all within easy reach. Also, and although there were not very many properties available at the time, prices were considerably lower than in the Chianti region and we simply loved the beauty of that area, very appropriately called "Toscana Verde". Yes, it rains more than in the Southern part of Tuscany, but it is also cooler. After much searching, we finally found what we wanted and bought it straight away. It was a stone building dating back at least to the 17th Century, but it was in very sound condition and did not need major structural work. This is something to keep in mind. Unless you have plenty of experience in the restoration of buildings and plenty of money in the bank, avoid the very beautiful and romantic "ruins". They can be a nightmare. Right now, you are lucky, because it is a buyer's market and you may be able something already restored at a more reasonable price than a few years ago. In any case, my advice is as follows:

  • Look for location. Some areas can look idyllic, but you have to consider that access may not be good and that you will not be on a permanent holiday. In our case, we can simply walk to the downtown area without using the car and this is a blessing.
  • We do not know what fate has in store for us. The best laid plans can be altered and many things in our lives have changed since we purchased the property. We are practically certain that we are not going to live permanently there, but it is an excellent place to spend holidays. 
  • Be careful at budgeting, particularly if the place you intend to buy requires major renovations. If you spend too much, it can become a "white elephant" and if you need to sell it in the future, for any reason, you may be in trouble getting back your money. 
  • Take your time before deciding. Preferably, rent a place for a while and see how you feel. And try to do this not in the middle of summer or peak season. See what it is all about when you are really living in the place under the worst possible conditions.
  • Talk to the people in the area, try to make friends amongst the locals. Find out as much as you can about the area. You will feel more "at home".

The old Italy Magazine Forum gave me plenty of good information and advice. I am trying to give back to others what I got. If you have doubts "post a question".In any case, good luck and best wishes! smiley

I would second Gala’s recommendations.As we have answered similar inquiries, we offer this:You might have a look at Fivizzano and environs in Lunigiana. It is 30-40 minutes from the autostrada at Aulla on a well maintained "highway.' About 1.5 hour drive from Pisa airport. It is a fortress city, historical, good medical facilities including a hospital, etc., a train depot in another village a few miles away, bus service, a number of restaurants, bars, including Elvetica which hosts the English book library, Oxfam English library and store, active Expat community, small “supermarket,” gas station, a pharmacy, bank, and a number of small shops. An ideal location for someone who wants to be out of the tourist traffic, yet not too far from "civilization."  Had we been able to find a suitable property when we were looking, we would have bought in Fivizzano. They also have an extensive market in the square every Tuesday, I think.  There is a wide range of properties; from city apts. to town houses, to detached houses with small land areas just outside town, and some estate type properties with vineyards, boscos, etc. in the general area.It is just below the mountain range that has a fairly good ski resort. Not sure of winter snowfall ,in town, if any, or temps. Maybe someone from there might weigh in on that subject.Good luck,Fred

Have you ever thought about

Submitted by hazy on Wed, 2014-07-23 08:27Have you ever thought about looking at Le Marche? Gorgeous countryside, superb sandy beaches and stunning mountains - everything you could want at prices certainly less than Tuscany, Umbria etc. Good advice, Hazy. When we first considered Italy, Le Marche was first on our list as it was at the time, ’05, being promoted the “new Tuscany,” however much less expensive.We looked at a number of properties, none of which “ticked the boxes” of what we “thought” we wanted, although the countryside was beautiful, good amenities, beaches, etc. We had thought we wanted just a small footprint to start and first looked at a small apartment built into a city wall in the foothills. Much too small and as none of the other offerings attracted us we returned to our Austrian base deciding that maybe Italy was not for us.After another week of “A Place in the Sun” featuring Italian properties, we decided to give Tuscany a chance. Drove down the following week and ended up with a very old, but habitable, farm house and small plot in a tiny Lunigiana village of 14 Italian families which we have since expanded with a vineyard planted over the ruins of a Malaspina castle and a 14th Century bell tower (rings every half hour) literally in our back yard. After a year’s renovation, we sold our Austrian properties and became resident in Italy.From considering a tiny apartment in Le Marche to buying a small farm in Lunigiana in one week shows how changeable one’s criteria can be.Bottom line; keep an open mind, be flexible, and be prepared to alter your perceptions.

Yes I agree you just never know where your property search will end ! We looked for years in Italy for our ideal home , we felt like Crusaders looking for the Holy Grail ! On one of our property search holidays I picked up a travel magazine called Dove but didn't actually get around to reading it until we returned to the UK. I picked it up a few months later & found a really interesting article on properties to renovate in the Trentino region of Italy , the photos were stunning , views of alpine meadows with a backdrop of the magnificent Dolomite mountains. The next year we took a holiday there & viewed a few properties & within a week we had bought a rustic wreck in a small village ! It took us 6 years to renovate the building , with a mixture of blood sweat & tears , but so glad we had the courage & foresight to take on such a challenging project ! This has been our permanent home now for 11 years , but with Gypsy blood in my veins the call of another region of Italy is resounding in my head ! The Piedmont area could be our next destination !

There are very "calm" areas in every region of Italy. It all depends where you choose to go. Certainly, you cannot compare Florence with say... Ghivizzano, if we are talking about Tuscany. We would not like to live in Florence, but we do like to visit frequently, that's why we chose Bagni di Lucca, which allows us to have the best of both worlds. And if you want to really enjoy Italy, anywhere in Italy, avoid the month of August. The beaches are impossible, the roads are a nightmare and it is really hot! cool

As others have suggested, Marche is a wonderful region, with sea and montains in abundance, winters are short and milder by the coast, wheras in the mountains can be quite cold and prolonged.>>My advice, for what its worth is to have your property inspected by a builder, or other professional BEfore buying if at all possible, it could save you a lot of money and above all stress.I know of a builder who is anglo-itlalian and will inspect property (at a reasonable price - anywhere in Italy) supplying you with a report and approx costing of any works (if any) that need to be carried out. For the rest..enjoy. 

Ciao Martino,My advice would be to remain open about the area you want to buy in, I spent years looking all over Italy from the Veneto to Calabria, initially I wanted to buy in the north, but discovered so many houses for a fraction of the cost in the south, then stumbled across Abruzzo and fell in love with the region and moved here for a fifth of the price it would cost in Tuscany 

Barry, I do agree in that it takes time and effort to find the property that suits your individual wishes and budget is a major constraint; however, I do not agree with your statement regarding Tuscany. The very high prices you refer to are those of the Chianti region or Florence. Certainly, if you wish to have a villa in Cortona "Under the Tuscan sun" style , it would cost you a lot; however, other areas of Tuscany towards the north, but equally beautiful and well communicated, such as the "Toscana Verde" , Val di serchio-Garfagnana, Lunigiana, Swizzera Pesciatina... to name a few cost only a fraction of those prices and compare very well with properties in say... Abruzzo, Le Marche and others. It is a matter of making a thorough research and this is a good guide, as it gives average prices per square metre throughout Italy.I have checked prices for my area (Bagni di Lucca) and they seem to be fairly accurate in general. Have a look: http://www.immobiliare.it/prezzi-mq/