Property For Members

The Italian village where foreign buyers pay no property tax

Silvia Marchetti
Silvia Marchetti - [email protected]
The Italian village where foreign buyers pay no property tax
All second homes in Italy are subject to property tax but the village of Latronico in the southern Basilicata region is a surprising exception. Photo by Johannes Beilharz on Unsplash

In Italy when it comes to second homes, beach cottages, or mountain holiday retreats, the property taxes paid can be quite high. But there is one exception, explains Silvia Marchetti.


In a tiny village in southern Italy anyone, including non-European buyers, who snatch up a cheap turnkey dwelling are rewarded with a huge gift. 

Unlike elsewhere in the country they won’t pay property taxes on their holiday home, even if they are not residents. 

This is Latronico, set in the rural region of Basilicata, which was roamed in the past by outlaws, wolves and pilgrims. It’s a region where locals keep leaving in search of a better life elsewhere. Emigration has long been a problem, and still is. 

But now, this depopulated town is being brought back from the grave.

Basilicata, Italy

The village of Latronico is known for its mountain views, oxygen-rich air and slow-paced lifestyle. Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

Around 50 homes have so far been snatched up by foreign buyers looking for a slice of life under the Basilicata sun and a slower-paced lifestyle. 

Property prices are also very low, starting from €7,000 for a little old cottage in the historical centre, including furniture and utilities. 


“In Latronico people who buy an old farmers’ dwelling as a holiday home are exempted from paying property and waste disposal taxes for five years,” deputy mayor Vincenzo Castellano tells The Local.

“If they also decide to spruce it up with a minimal makeover, the exemption is for 10 years. That amounts to saving roughly some €2,000 - €3,000 per year.”

Depending on the size of the home, of course property and waste disposal taxes vary, he explains, but it is correct to say that roughly €2,000 would be saved from not paying the property tax and €1,000 from avoiding the waste disposal one. 

“In Italy owners must pay property taxes on all holiday or second homes, they’re exempted only if they take up permanent residency there, turning it into their first home, so this is indeed a great plus point for our village”, says Castellano. 

The exemption was introduced in 2018 and Castellano estimates that today roughly 200 foreigners now spend their holidays in Latronico, often on a regular basis, and many plan to move there for good. 

While there had been roughly 50 home sales, each family comes in at least pairs of two, if not more with kids and grandchildren, so actually 200 newcomers come here to enjoy the year-round sunshine and enjoy the nearby beaches, including Maratea’s stunning coastline. 

Latronico is an under-the-radar place few Italians have ever visited, or know about. 


Set within the wild Pollino national park, once an outlaw lair where kidnapped people were held in exchange of ransoms, locals here speak a Greek-sounding dialect due to past invasions of colonisers from Ancient Greece. It’s part of the so-called Magna Grecia. 

Tourists come here for the oxygen-rich air, the healing thermal baths, the mountain views and local delicacies such as sanguinaccio sausage made with pigs’ blood.

Mount Alpi, Basilicata

A view of Basilicata’s Mount Alpi, at the foot of which lies the village of Latronico. Photo by no dichotomy on Unsplash

“Each year 5,000 locals continue to move out of Basilicata in search of a brighter future elsewhere, depopulation is unsustainable but luckily Latronico is experiencing a revival thanks to foreign buyers, mostly Americans, Argentinians and Dutch”, says Castellano. 

The exemption from paying property and waste disposal taxes is closely tied to another move aimed at luring foreign buyers

In 2018 Castellano launched a website ( advertising all empty houses up for sale and rent, aware that many villagers had empty houses they no longer needed which were just lying under the sultry Basilicata sun waiting to rot. 

He placed up on the market, liaising with old owners, not only cheap abandoned homes starting at €7,000, but also villas and farmhouses with a patch of land at €9,000, while apartments for rent cost as little as €200 per month. 

All buyers who have grabbed one of these forsaken dwellings are benefitting from the tax exemptions. There’s little red tape, too, assures Castellano. 

The notary fees are €2,000 for the sale deed, but a team set up by the local authorities handles all thorny bureaucracy, translation and even offers buyers assistance in renovating their property by finding local firms, architects and masons. 

As most buyers are foreign-based, Castellano, who has studied law, is often given power of attorney by them to finalise the purchase deed and take care of the entire process.

Frank Cohen, an American buyer who snapped up two cheap dwellings, says “without Vincenzo, the whole thing would have been really hard, especially the language barrier, but his dream team is fabulous”.


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