Property Purchase in Italy

Buying a Property by the Sea in Italy

The article topic Property Purchase in Italy

5 Jun 2014

We have been offering and selling properties by the to foreigners for several years. Every day we meet new clients who are keen to buy, but may not be so sure where or what type of property. Sometimes they have a clear idea about a place where  they would like to buy, but  they have visited the location in May when everything was quiet and sleepy and have no idea what it is like in August. Here we offer a few tips for those preparing to purchase their dream home by the sea.

Where to buy a seaside property?

Accessibility and flights prices

Have you fallen in love with a tiny village in Calabria or in Abruzzo or white beaches close to Santa Maria di Leuca during your vacation and you are convinced this the best place  to buy your retirement bolthole? Think again. The distance from the closest airport is about two hours by car and there is no direct public transport connection. Well, maybe that is ok now, but what about in 20 yeas time? And even if you don’t plan to go back often, are you planning to have frequent visits from family and friends? And what about the year-round flights? The number of direct flights to southern Italy almost doubles during the summer season. Apart from regular connections there may even be travel agency charters. Flights often change, but you can be sure there will always be a direct flight to the big cities, such as Rome and Milan. Naples and Pisa airport have also relatively good and stable flight connections and Pisa could be used alternatively with Florence if you buy in central Tuscany or Rome if you choose a holiday home in Southern Tuscany. Southern Italy could be trickier and probably the safest bet here is the area around Bari and Brindisi with these 2 international airports just one hour away from each other.

Climate and Water Temperature

Check the year-round climate in the chosen destination. In Italy, some places could be not far from each other and temperature could differ substantially. Typically, sea side climate  is relatively mild and the temperature even in the coldest days of winter does not fall much below 10 degrees. The geography of Italy is characterized by the Apennine massif. And so it happens that even if it is 25 degrees in sun by the sea in February, just one hour drive into the interior it is snowing. Don’t forget there are ski resorts in Calabria and you can even ski on mount Etna in Sicily. The water temperature is also important, although Italy generally does not suffer from cold water currents known in southern France and in Costa del Sol in Spain. Local microclimates are also important. The weather is almost always better by lake Garda than by Lake Como.

The Local Area

Most of interesting places in Italy are seasonal. Seaside resorts are popular with visitors in summer, become lively in June, busy in July and congested in August. The November comes and shops close, last holidaymakers leave and everything  is quiet until March. Although except for a few overbuilt places mainly on the Northern Adriatic coast, luckily Italy have not created many winter ghost towns, it is important to consider what do you want your future life in Italy to be like, especially if you think about living there more permanently.

What type of property?

The property in Italy maybe your second (third, fouth...) home. It is important to consider howmuch time, money and nerves do you want to dedicate to it. Apartments in Italy are usually low maintanance. The condominiums generally do not have a pool and maintanance cost as well as tax are not high. Villas offer greater comfort, privacy, but higher cost. The taxes and rubbish collection fees for second home villas close to the beach go often into thousands of Euros per year. Taxes for classical rural stone houses (rusticos) which became the symbol for Tuscan property but could be found across the whole Italy tend to be lower. However, a maintance and insurance of these properties will cost more.

How far from the sea?

Our clients often ask for a first line beach property, but after a visit they end up buying further from the beach. The main reason is usually the budget, as one gets much more for his or her money few hunderts meters away from the sea. But it is by far not the only reason. First line beach properties are usually in busy areas and especially in July and August, they could be noisy. A sea-front property also suffers much more from humidity and maintanance cost is higher.


Last, but not least… the money question… People often spend a lot of time searching for a property online and get a wrong idea about price levels. The property descriptions and photos are promotional materials, so they would generally show the best of each property and will not mention potential problems (noisy neighbours, a legal issue, humidity in the cellar etc.) which are generally reflected in price. So an absolutely stunning villa may have one floor bulit illegally or there is a noisy carpark in front of it not shown on the pictures. That’s why although an initial websearch is essential to get a basic idea what you can get for your money, be flexible and have realistic expectation.

There are many other points and questions to consider.  Contact us to discuss, we will be happy to help you.

Back to the list of articles