Italian holiday homes: Which nationalities favour which coastal regions?

Which foreign nationals are looking to buy and rent homes on the Italian coast? And which areas do different nationalities prefer? New stats reveal some answers.

Italian holiday homes: Which nationalities favour which coastal regions?
Which nationality is most enchanted by Italy's famed Lampedusa island? Photo: AFP

While there are many property bargains to be had in Italy, prices are notably higher in coastal areas. Not only do many Italians own a second home by the sea, but these areas are of course very popular with overseas holiday home buyers.

And different parts of the country are often popular with different nationalities.
Based on website visits from June-September, the real estate portal Idealista has reported the areas that are most popular among holidaymakers from different countries, whether they are looking to buy or rent.
The Covid-19 crisis does not appear to have slowed down the international property market in Italy, with some property experts instead reporting increased demand in some areas – mainly thought to be speculative interest from foreign investors.
In fact, 16 percent of visits to the Idealista website in summer this year were from foreign locations – mainly the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.
But with the international second-home market remaining relatively stable, the hoped-for bargains are few and far between.
“Coastal areas, mainly tourism-oriented, have suffered the impact of Covid more severely due to mobility restrictions, which prevented the arrival of millions of tourists this summer,” Idealista writes, “But even so, prices have not dropped substantially as many expected in early March.”
Still, from the number of searches, it seems that relatively high prices along the coast don't seem to be putting off would-be buyers looking for their place in the sun.
Here's a look at the nationalities showing the most interest in Italian property, and the areas they want to relocate to.
The map created by Idealista clearly shows the two nationalties most interested in buying a second home in Italy: Americans and Germans.
This may not come as a surprise, particularly if you know that German tourists make up by far the biggest percentage of visitors to Italy – in normal years at least – at around 13 percent.
US nationals account for around three percent of tourism to Italy, and British and French visitors one and two percent respectively.
The vast majority of foreigners searching for property in Tuscany were from Germany and the US; Idealista writes.
The particularly expensive area of Forte dei Marmi (6,884 euros/m2) came from the US, while Monte Argentario (4,336 euros/m2) was another American favourite.
Germans appear to prefer Castiglione della Pescaia (4,549 euros/m2), and also completely dominated searches for homes on the Tuscan islands of Giglio and Elba. 
On the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, German buyers again dominate the market in remote and coastal areas, while Americans appear to be more interested in the cities, Idealista writes.
Sardinia is particularly popular with German buyers, especially the provinces of Alghero and Stintino.
In Sicily, house hunters from the United States were most interested in Lampedusa, Taormina, San Vito Lo Capo and Favignana.
In Liguria in the north, things vary a little more.
While Germans and Americans still dominate the searches, Swiss residents prefer some areas including Finale Ligure (4,190 euro/m2) and the towns closest to the French border are the most popular with French citizens.
Germans meanwhile go for areas such as Alassio (5,413 euros/m2) and Americans search most often in Santa Margherita Ligure (4,890 euros/m2).
Americans usually make up the vast majority of visitors to the Amalfi coast, so it's not surprising to find that they also top the rankings for home searches in this area,
US buyers prefer Positano, Amalfi, Praiano,Sorrento and Capri. 
Meanwhile, most foreign buyers searching for property on the island of Ischia come from Germany.
Further south, the region of Puglia offers lower property prices.
The wild Gargano area is preferred by German visitors, who account for most searches in Peschici (€1,475/m2) and Vieste (€1,644/m2). 
Germans also cominate searches in some areas further south in the region: Gallipoli (€1,652/m2) and Ostuni (€1,527/m2). 
Most demand for homes in the “white city” of Otranto (1,965 euros/m2) comes from Switzerland, while the region's most famous tourist town, Polignano a Mare, (€2,173/m2) is particularly popular among Americans.

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How to get a discount on the cost of solar panels for your Italian property

Solar panels are an understandably popular choice in Italy, and if you're thinking of installing them on your own home there's funding available to help lower the cost. Here's what you need to know.

How to get a discount on the cost of solar panels for your Italian property

As utility bills rise, more home and business owners in Italy are looking at installing solar panels as a possible way to reduce costs in the long term.

Solar panels are already hugely popular in Italy, with the nation ranking top worldwide for solar-powered electricity consumption.

READ ALSO: Who can claim a discount on energy bills in Italy?

And no wonder: it’s a solid bet in a country where there is sunshine in abundance. But what about the costs of installation?

The good news is that there’s financial help available from Italy’s national government aimed at encouraging uptake of solar energy, as well as other incentives from regional authorities in many parts of the country.

It’s in the government’s interest to incentivise solar power, as Italy has vowed to transition to greener energy with its National Integrated Plan for Energy and Climate (Piano Nazionale Integrato per l’Energia e il Clima 2030 or PNIEC).

So how could this benefit you? Here’s a look at what you can claim at both a national and a regional level.

Regional funding for installing solar panels

As well as the national government subsidies available for covering the cost of solar panel installation, some regions have introduced their own bonuses or discount schemes.

The sunny southern region of Puglia and the wealthy northern region of Lombardy have seen the highest number of residential photovoltaic systems installed, according to market research.

it’s not surprising, then, that these two regions’ governments are offering cash incentives to help cover the cost of installing solar panels.

Depending on the type of system you opt for, you could expect to pay between around €5,000 and €13,000 for installation, design, labour and paperwork.

To contribute to this initial outlay, the local authority in Puglia has created a pot to help homeowners on lower incomes move towards renewable energy.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about installing solar panels on your home in Italy

Newly introduced in 2022, the so-called Reddito energetico (energy income) offers households with an annual income below €20,000 a bonus of up to €8,500 for installing photovoltaic, solar thermal or micro-wind systems in their homes.

The bonus is intended for residents who have citizenship of an EU country or, if you are a citizen of a non-EU country, you can still claim the bonus if you have been resident for at least one year in a municipality in Puglia.

The €20,000 annual income refers to a household’s ISEE – an indicator of household wealth calculated based on earnings and other factors.

A worker fixes solar panels. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

For this particular scheme, if you claim this bonus from the authorities in Puglia, it precludes you from also claiming funds at national level concurrently – such as through the popular superbonus 110 home renovation fund (see below for more on this).

Although there are other government bonuses, such as the renovation bonus (bonus ristrutturazione) that offers a much higher maximum total expenditure of €96,000, it can only be claimed as a 50 percent tax deduction spread over 10 years in your tax return.

For lower income families in Puglia, this may not be as cost effective as the grant from the regional authorities, which may equate to more money towards the cost and supply of solar panels.

For more information and to apply for Puglia’s renewable energy bonus, see here.

Lombardy is also stumping up funds to continue the solar power momentum experienced in the region.

While the coffers for private properties are currently closed, the region has made funds available for those with small and medium-sized businesses – again, in a move designed to lessen the impact of rising energy costs.

Business owners can claim a 30 percent grant for the installation of solar panels. There are more funds available to cover the cost of consultancy during the process too.

For more details on applying for this energy bonus in Lombardy, see here.

Other regions have also taken the initiative with encouraging more homes and businesses to change to solar-powered energy.

The region of Tuscany is offering an incentive on installing solar panels to residents in the form of tax deductions spread out over several years.

Works permitted include installing winter and summer air conditioning and hot water systems using renewable sources. This covers heat pumps, solar panels or high-efficiency biomass boilers.

For further details and information on how to apply, see here.

Each region may have its own solar panel bonus, either in the form of grants or tax deductions, available to private residents and/or businesses.

Check your regional government’s website to find out what may be currently on offer.

Solar panels are an increasingly popular option for those renovating homes in Italy. Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

National subsidies for installing solar panels

If your region isn’t offering any cash incentive to install solar panels on your property, there are government funds available, which cover all 20 regions.

The authorities introduced and extended a package of building bonuses in order to galvanise the construction industry following the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

While there is no single, separate package of incentives for installing solar panels in 2022, you can take advantage of other government bonuses that include the cost of solar panel installation and supply.

As noted, you could use the renovation bonus (bonus ristrutturazione), which amounts to a 50 percent tax deduction spread over 10 years in your tax return – or through the superbonus 110, a scheme that promises homeowners a tax deduction of up to 110% on expenses related to property renovation and making energy efficiency measures.


The property must make at least a double jump in energy class or reach the highest efficiency rating when accessing these bonuses.

There’s a substantial amount of funds on offer to install your solar panels.

Using the renovation bonus, there is a maximum total expenditure of €96,000 (per single housing, including condominiums). Remember this amounts to a 50 percent tax deduction, so the maximum saving you would make is €48,000.

The renovation bonus has been extended until 2024 and, where solar panel installation is concerned, you can claim for the costs of labour, design, surveys and inspections, as well as VAT and stamp duty.

You must tell Italy’s energy and technology authority, ENEA, that you’ve done the works within 90 days in order to access the state aid for solar panel installation.

If you choose to use the superbonus route to claim funds for your solar panels, however, you can spread out the tax deduction costs over five years. Alternatively, you can apply for it as a discount on the invoice (sconto in fattura) or through the transfer of credit (cessione del credito).

The limit when using this bonus is €48,000, which can now be accessed for a while longer as the government extended the deadline for single family homes.

See HERE for details on how to claim it.

See more in The Local’s Italian property section.