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HOMES

Amazing Italian homes for less than €100,000

Fancy owning a stunning home in Italy for the same price as a shed in London or New York? With the weak euro, now is a good time to scour the country for a dream home. Here's our list of properties going for less than €100,000 (£72,000, US$112,000).

Amazing Italian homes for less than €100,000
A property in Calabria which is selling for €81,000. Photo: A Place in the Sun

1. Penthouse in Pizzo, Vido Valentia, Calabria – €81,000

Just a 20 minute drive from Lamezia Terme airport, you could find yourself sipping an aperitivo on the large terrace of this one-bedroom penthouse, while soaking in the views of the Gulf of St Eufemia along Italy's Calabrian coast.

The apartment is a 15-minute walk to the centre of Pizzo, a seaside town famous for its chocolate truffle ice cream.

The town's historical centre sits on a headland above the sea. With its beautiful coastline, warm weather and pretty hilltop towns, Calabria is one of Italy's so-far hidden gems, still largely untouched by mass tourism.

2. One bedroom apartment in San Siro, Como – €89,000

Lake Como is a popular place but we don't all have to be of George Clooney's ilk to afford to live there. This one bedroom apartment is within walking distance of the lake and the town of San Siro.

Popular sites in the town, situated on Lake Como's north-west shore, include Villa Gaeta, where scenes in the James Bond film, Casino Royale, were filmed.

The bright apartment includes a living room, dining area and fully-fitted kitchen and bathroom.

San Siro is within a 1 hour and 30 minute drive from Milan's Malpensa airport, or about two hours by train.

3. Three bedroom house in Licciana Nardi, Lunigiana, Tuscany – €90,000

Lunigiana is located in northern Tuscany, in the province of Massa Carrara, and borders the coastal region of Liguria and Emilia Romagna.

This three-bedroom restored house is set on top of a 16th century stone building in a picturesque area near the village of Licciana Nardi. Retaining its original features, the property comes with a large attic room, a terrace with a pizza oven, a living room with a wood burning stove and a bathroom with fitted shower.

With an abundance of medieval castles and breath-taking scenery, Lunigiana has been likened to a “magical kingdom”.

The nearest airport is Pisa, followed by Genoa. The area, popular for hiking and cycling, is also within reach of Cinque Terre, Lucca and Florence. 

4. Two bedroom house in Pretoro, Chieti, Abruzzo – €89,000

This two-bedroom property, located 15 minutes from a local ski resort and 25 minutes from the Adriatic coast, has been completely restored in stone and rock. It comes with a terrace with views over rootops and towards the sea, a dining room/kitchen, living room and fireplace.  

The nearest airport to Chieti, a mostly mountainous area, is Pescara. The area is well-known for its wine and olive oil. 

5. Two-bedroom villa in Francavilla Fontana, Brindisi, Puglia – €89,000

Puglia, the sun-kissed region on the heel of Italy's boot, comes with a glorious coastline and many beautiful towns.

But, compared with the likes of popular Tuscany, it is still relatively untouched by mass tourism.

That said, foreign property buyers have been lured to the region in recent years by its characteristic trulli homes, with their coned rooftops.

But many of those require restoration.

Here we have a two bedroom, ready-to-live villa in Francavilla Fontana, a town within reach of Brindisi airport.

Spread over 100 square metres, the property also consists of a living room, kitchen/diner, bathroom and two large covered porticos as well as a roof terrace.

It is also surrounded by a well-kept garden with olive trees, ornamental plants and ample parking space.

6. Two bedroom apartment in Lajatico, Pisa, Tuscany

You'll find this property in the hilltop village of Orciatico, which is part of Lajatico, the birthplace of Italy's famous tenor, Andrea Bocelli.

Each year, visitors from all over the world descend on Lajatico for an open-air concert in its amphitheatre. 

Volterra, San Gimignano and the airports of Florence and Pisa are all within an hour's drive.

The 100-square-metre property, which is currently being renovated, will come with two bedrooms, a living room, bathroom and balcony with a view over the village. The renovation is expected to be completed within four months. 

The surrounding area is popular for hiking, mountain biking and horse riding.

7. One bedroom apartment in Rotella, Ascoli Piceno, Marche – €87,500

Surrounded by rolling hills, the picturesque town of Rotella has just 985 inhabitants. 

The property, which is on the ground floor, provides spacious accommodation including a newly fitted kitchen, living room with sofa bed and French doors leading onto the patio, bedroom and bathroom.

The apartment is said to be “tastefully furnished”. The nearest airport is Ancona.

8. One bedroom apartment in Potenza Picena, Macerata, Marche – €99,000

Another gem from the rolling hills of the Marche region, this one-bedroom apartment, part of the Ecocittà property development, has been described as “class A”.

Located in Porto Potenza, Macerata, and close to the sea, the property is said make an ideal holiday home. The development itself includes shops, a central square and green areas.

Hosting one of Europe's oldest universities, the hilltop town of Macerata has a vibrant student scene.

9. Three bedroom apartment in Teulada, Cagliari, Sardinia – €100,000

The first and only on our list from one of Italy's islands, this modern three bedroom apartment is located in the picturesque town of Teulada, and is just a five minutes drive from Sardinia's stunning south coast.

The property comes with two large bedrooms, a kitchen with all appliances, two large bathrooms and a lounge/dining room. There is also a guest bedroom and balcony.

10. Two-bedroom apartment in Vallabona, Imperia, Liguria – €95,000 

Italy's Ligurian coast, which stretches from the French border right the way down to the famous Cinque Terre, is dotted with several pretty towns set against a mountainous background.

This property is located in Vallabona, a town founded in the Middle Ages, in the province of Imperia. 

Located on the first floor of a typical Ligurian house, the apartment comes with two bedrooms, living room, kitchen, bathroom and cellar.

It is surrounded by places to visit, including Bordighera, Alassio and San Remo, and is close to the south of France, giving you the choice to either fly into Nice or Genoa.

These properties have been brought to The Local via A Place in the Sun, a British Channel 4 lifestyle programme about buying property overseas.

For more details on these and other properties in Italy and elsewhere, please visit www.aplaceinthesun.com.

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PROPERTY

‘It’s so frustrating’: My 25-year Italian property renovation nightmare

When US-based Davide Fionda embarked on renovating his mother's Italian property, he couldn't have imagined the obstacles and the timescale in store.

'It's so frustrating': My 25-year Italian property renovation nightmare

Building a home in Italy was almost inevitable for Davide, as he’s been visiting the same area in the Le Marche region, where his Italian-born mother grew up, since he was five years old.

Although he lives in Boston, US, and speaks with a charming East Coast twang, he’s also an Italian citizen and has long dreamed of having his own place to stay for the summer.

He began making this dream a reality back in 1997, when a barn that had been in his mother’s family for generations, in the village of Schito-Case Duca, was damaged by an earthquake.

“My mother, who had both her mother and sister in Italy, decided that it would be really nice for us to build our own new home instead of relying on family to host us each time we visit,” Davide said.

“The goal was simple. I would acquire the barn from my mom, renovate it and move in for the summers, as I’m a college teacher and can spend time in Italy,” he added.

“Simple” the goal may have been, but the project itself proved anything but, as Davide came up against unforeseen bureaucratic problems, legal hiccups and personal disappointments.

READ ALSO: The hidden costs of buying a home in Italy

As a former entrepreneur in his professional life, he said he’s “used to getting things done”, owning five companies and selling three.

But conquering Italian property renovation is his biggest challenge to date: “Never in my life have I had so many complications as I’ve had with this house,” he told us.

The earthquake-damaged barn. Photo: Davide Fionda

“In the beginning, I knew exactly what I needed and the costs to carry out the project. My mother was, and is still, living in the United States: the project started when she was approached by her godson, who is a geometra (civil engineer), to help her rebuild this barn.

“I started with what I could control. I sat down with an architect and we created a design. I did research on furniture and fixtures. But then the problems started,” Davide said.

His mother wanted a simple design: an open plan house with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the mountains, spanning two floors – a ground floor and a first floor for the bedrooms.

When they went to look at the progress in 2004, he said they were “horrified” at what they saw.

Instead of windows across the front as we asked for, with views of the spectacular Gran Sasso mountains, he took the entire view with two hallways for entering the property and for the bathroom. The bedrooms upstairs were unusable,” he added.

Davide describes himself as “not a typical Italian”, at two metres in height ,and says he always looks for suitable showers and beds when visiting Italy.

It was one of the reasons building his own home was so attractive, as he could custom-make it to fit his needs.

READ ALSO: What taxes do you need to pay if you own a second home in Italy?

But when they viewed the build, he discovered the first floor had ceilings of just one metre and 40 centimetres – not liveable for most people, never mind someone with Davide’s towering frame.

The results didn’t match the renovation plans that had been filed with the comune (town hall) – they wouldn’t have been approved otherwise, as Davide discovered Italian regulations deemed this height of ceiling in a bedroom uninhabitable.

He said he grew up with the geometra and knew him well, saying they were “best friends”. However, on raising the problems with him, Davide said the building professional “refused to fix the house”, adding, “he took my mother’s money and built a house with no bedrooms”.

He said his mother decided to stop construction after spending almost $100,000 on a house that they “could not live in”, adding that they “returned many times over the years to see the shell of the building that we thought we were going to call our home”.

READ ALSO: My Italian Home: How one ‘bargain basement’ renovation ended up costing over €300K

Faced with a stalled project and unsure what to do next, Davide tried to sell the property but got nowhere. He said the “market wasn’t right” for selling it, so he considered his options for fixing the botched renovations to date.

His Italian property project has been stalled for over two decades. Photo: Davide Fionda

Then, eventually, in January of this year he decided “he was sick of looking at it and it was time to act”.

He intended to use Italy’s Bonus ristrutturazioni (Renovation bonus), which allows homeowners to apply for a 50 percent tax reduction on carrying out renovation work.

On asking for professional opinions on whether the house qualified for this bonus, he said he asked five different people and got five different answers.

In the end, he discovered it was eligible and so he could, in theory, proceed with his latest plans.

READ ALSO:

The aim is to create his mother’s original vision – an open plan space with huge windows overlooking the mountains and bedrooms on the first floor – but habitable this time.

Since the beginning of this year, however, Davide has been stuck and hasn’t made progress.

Setbacks have included trying to get a permit to renovate the house, which has proved difficult since the first geometra reportedly didn’t update the changes to the building.

This thorny issue goes back to exactly who owned the house, as Davide told us it had been sectioned off and parts of the house were owned by various members of the family.

The building headaches roll on for Davide. Photo by Martin Dalsgaard on Unsplash

“Italian law makes you want to rip your hair out,” he said.

Getting the deed in his name has been a huge obstacle in itself, as his mother wasn’t the sole owner and some parts of the land that belonged to her were never recorded.

It’s meant months of waiting while archives have been searched and deeds have been drawn up and transferred, made all the trickier by coordinating it all from thousands of miles away.

Plus, the house category was never changed to a residential one, listed previously as farmland and therefore illegal to live in.

It’s just more unexpected bureaucracy for a project that seems to have no end.

“It has been months and months of all these twists and turns, it’s so frustrating,” he told us.

“This has been a 25-year nightmare,” he added.

A partly restored, but unliveable barn for Davide now. Photo: Davaide Fionda.

Although Davide had originally planned to sort out the more practical parts of the project by the end of May, with a ticket booked to Italy to choose the windows, he’s still stuck in the paperwork part and can’t move forward.

Nothing has happened since January. Three or four times I said, ‘screw this’. But it’s not in my DNA to give up,” he said.

Although he has a strong will, the house has taken its toll on him.

Every time we go, this house stares us in the face and it’s upsetting. Family always ask us, ‘when are you going to finish the house?’ It’s a real source of heartache,” he told us.

From this point, he hopes the paperwork will be completed by August and then he can meet with the contractors to get the process started.

That in itself was a tall order, due to the construction demand and shortage of building companies Italy is currently experiencing.

READ ALSO:

It’s a problem made even more challenging by the fact that he’s based in the States and had to find a company that would apply for the credit for the bonus on his behalf.

Despite it all, he’s hopeful that he will get the house they dreamed of by next August and says he’s learned a lot about renovating property in Italy.

For other would-be home renovators, he advised people to “adjust their timeframe expectations” and expect “anything to do with land or real estate to take forever”.

So what is his secret for not giving up, despite the rollercoaster of events and emotions?

It seems he’s holding on to his vision of blissful summers in il bel paese.

“The beauty of Italy is to be, sit in a town square and have conversations,” he told us.

“It’s a beautiful thing.”

See more in The Local’s Italian property section.

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