With the pound remaining strong against the euro, now is as good a time as any to purchase your retirement home in Italy. The strength of sterling allows you to perhaps stretch your original budget where you previously couldn’t a few months ago. With the new year well under way and many new year resolutions abandoned, perhaps now it’s time to focus on what really matters, your future and your plans for a happy and fulfilling retirement.
Italy offers a whole range of locations, climates and housing to suit every taste and budget. The mountainous region of Abruzzo for example being an expat favourite with long sandy beaches coupled with accessible mountains for winter skiing. There is a large expat community in this region with an integration between locals and English speakers alike, enough company for help should you need it with the space to be off the beaten track. Choosing your ideal property is all about location, what is your preferred scenery? Do you want to live in a bustling city with all the local amenities right on your doorstep? Or would you prefer an uninterrupted view of the crystal Mediterranean with a beach at your disposal? The type of property you desire also has an impact on where you should stage your search, do you want a quirky renovation project? A traditional farmhouse or a chic apartment? You are unlikely to find cheaper properties in Tuscany due to the close proximity with Florence, Pisa, Siena and of course Rome. Likewise the further flung regions of the south offer less infrastructure but more affordable properties. With more and more airlines flying all over Italy, nowhere is out of reach for the discerning property hunter.
If you love mountains, you should look to the northern regions of Piedmont, Aosta Valley, Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige all close to the spectacular mountain ranges of the Alps and Dolomites. It would be a fair comment to say that if you love snow and skiing this would be the perfect region for you, the spring and summer also offers amazing walking opportunities as the snow melts on the foothills. The northern most regions of Italy also boast more costly, yet desirable places to live: Venice, lake Como, Cinque Terre and Milan.
The central part of Italy houses the capital, Rome, the famous regions of Umbria and Tuscany. Many expats relocated here years ago and so there are well established communities and groups who regularly meet up to share a drink or book swap. The region is famous for rolling hills, Cyprus trees and is steeped in history with the beautiful towns of Siena and Florence to name but two. There are still affordable properties in this region, renovation projects or villas ready to move straight into. The little market towns may be perfect for those who love smaller village life, a more relaxed way of living and glorious views from their front doorstep.
Moving south, this region was neglected for many years but has recently become a bit of a boom. The poorer regions offer dramatic sandy coastlines, favourite with holiday makers, rocky landscapes and volcanic regions. Basilicata, Puglia, Campania, Sardinia and Sicily all offer something unique, the coastline of the south is gradually being developed with demand for rental apartments and holiday homes becoming increasingly popular. There are still bargains to be found here and restoration projects aplenty. The more famous islands of the south have been discovered long ago and developed, the large cities of Naples or Palermo may be unappealing but Calabria offers mountains, a rugged coastline and affordable homes for future development. Puglia is regularly in the news at the moment and has experienced a housing boom in the last ten years. There are still properties to be found here, local farm houses called ‘masserias’ offer a glimpse into the historical side of Puglia being walled mini-fortressed farmhouses, or the odd little Trulli famous in the Itria Valley offering the chance to own a unique home in the sun.
It is not possible to describe the virtues of Italy here, within your own budget you have the chance of a lifetime to make an investment in Italy. Rest assured that the diversity Italy offers will not disappoint. The only thing stopping you from finding your retirement home is deciding where to start searching!