Do you long to idle away days in an Italian idyll? These are the hot properties to buy now – at all budgets.

We have long been a nation in love with Italy. From her incomparable cuisine to the romance of being awoken by the peal of campanile bells; from the rolling, Cypress Tree-studded Tuscan hills to the twinkling azure waters of Amalfi coast; from the hauntingly exquisite Venice to the sheer majesty and life of Rome, it is a country that deals in beauty more than most.

Never have we longed for a dose of Italian romance more than now. For, very committed British travellers aside, vastly diminished numbers have set foot on her soil since the pandemic scuppered so many overseas holiday plans. And whilst this hiatus may be chiefly an irritation to some, to others, it has strengthened the resolve to spend even more time being lulled by the Italian dream. How? By buying a place there, of course.

While we are – we hope – moving beyond the worst stages of the pandemic, there is also the impact of Brexit on buying properties in Europe to consider, too. It was, of course, never going to be as easy to buy a place as it was when we had freedom of movement. However, our exit from Europe does not mean you should forget the dream altogether. Non-residents can still purchase a property as a holiday or second home, so long as they do not spend more than 90 days out of any 180-day period in the country. Should you wish to rent it out to earn an income, that is also acceptable in a post-Brexit world.

If, however, you have your heart set on living the Italian dream full time, you can apply for residency, so long as you meet certain criteria, amongst them that you are financially self-sufficient without the need to find employment in Italy. Find more details here and here.

Meanwhile, indulge the dream by perusing these properties, which range from the large and ultra-luxe to the somewhat humbler but every bit as charming.

Chiusa, Siena, Tuscany


Great Estate, £1,955,322


Just a little south of the lovely Arezzo and the famous wine-producing region of Montepulciano sits this beautiful five-bedroom farmhouse. For those with deep pockets who are looking for a property to move straight into, this has all the rustic Tuscan charm you could feasibly want, all laid out over 450sqm. We love the beautiful stone fireplaces, the classic mottled walls and beams and, of course, the inviting swimming pool. Perfect for both summer and winter. Find more details here.


La Spezia, Liguria


The Scrutton Group, £1,487,745


If your aspiration to own a place in Italy is as much about business as it is pleasure, then this place could be a contender. Already run as profitable business, the hotel comes with fifteen bedrooms and a fully functional spa and beauty salon. Situated a few kilometres from the sea, its La Spezia address is ideal for holidaymakers who want to use it as a base to explore the romantic La Cinque Terre, as well as the equally lovely Lerici and Portovenere. An exciting prospect for the right buyer, especially since there is an opportunity to extend. Find more details here.


Perugia, Umbria


Abode, £1,483,494


Whilst Umbria is hardly undiscovered territory – as, alas, is reflected in its prices – you can still get more for your money than in its neighbouring Tuscany, while not compromising a jot on the beauty of the landscape. This dream of a classic stone farmhouse comes with nine bedrooms, all of which have been lovingly restored. The stately 900sqm main villa is reached via a sweeping cypress tree-lined driveway and is situated within three hectares of land. There are two self-contained apartments on the first floor that could be rented out to generate an income, while the rest is designed to be used as a private home. We love the large kitchen, with its high ceilings, it beams and its exposed medieval brick, as well as the gorgeous stone fireplaces. Plus, it’s right on a lake, and it’s just 60 miles from Florence. Heaven. Find more details here.


Ragusa, Sicily


Great Estate, £850,140


Ragusa, in southern Sicily, lies just further south than the northernmost part of nearby Tunisia. It is, then, nigh-on guaranteed good weather, making it an ideal prospect for a business. This property offers 300sqm of space, contained within which are five independent apartments that can house 27 guests in total. The particular draw – both for buyers and potential holiday-makers – is the beautiful pool, which is set in well-kept lawn. The interior, meanwhile, is functional but could do with a bit of a makeover. Find more details here.


Lucca, Tuscany


Knight Frank, £850,140


Anyone who has ever been to Lucca would be hard-pressed not to have come away just a little bit in love. A medieval walled town, you simply cannot turn a corner without being presented with a new picture-perfect sight, each more gorgeous than the last. For those who really fall hard and want to inhabit this extraordinary place, this four-bed apartment in a medieval palazzo, arranged over its third and fourth floors, has been beautifully renovated while retaining all of its characterful historic appeal. What we love most of all, however, is the large covered terrace with views over Torre Guinigi and the red rooftops of Lucca. The perfect spot for an al fresco supper. An ideal property for anyone who prefers to be in the thick of a town (which happens to be served by a good railway station), as opposed to deep in the Tuscan countryside. Find more details here.


Bellagio, Como


Progetto Casa, £643,340


Bellagio is often thought of as the jewel in Lake Como’s crown, its most dazzling of all the villages dotted along its length and breadth. On the flipside, like so many picturesque spots, it can become overrun in the summer months, while the shops are chiefly those catering to the tourist knick-knack market. The ideal, then, is to base yourself a little outside its warren of pretty streets and enjoy all the tranquillity of the lake, while being able to dip into the village here and there when it takes your fancy. This four-bedroom apartment in a converted monastery, surrounded by exclusive-use park and gardens, is perfect. The views across the lake are glorious, while residents can use the private pool and boathouse. Find more details here.


Arezzo, Tuscany


Cortona Immobiliare, £638,235


Arezzo is one of the loveliest towns in Tuscany, and this house lies just outside it in Cortona. We love its solid stone edifice, which dates back to the 1500, and inside which there are three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Outside, there is a 4000 sqm garden which is enclosed within a stone wall and comes complete with the requisite inviting swimming pool. Find more details here.


Siena, Tuscany


Max Abramo, £399,960


For anyone looking for a smaller but perfectly formed Tuscan home, this two-bedroom hilltop farmhouse – spread over 200sqm – is outside the majestic Siena and we think it’s pretty enchanting. Light, spacious and full of character, its layered garden is also a thing to behold, particularly from the outdoor dining space, from which you may also survey the hills beyond. Find more details and take a video tour here.


Macerata, Le Marche


A&G Agenzia Immobiliare, £297,843


If you really want a bargain in Italy, you have to go beyond the well-trodden paths of Tuscany and Umbria. Bordering the latter is the underrated region of Le Marche, where you can still buy a 460sqm, eight-bedroom farmhouse for the price of a small flat in in a less sought-after part of London. Not only that, but it is set with 20,000 sqm of land, with mature olive and fruit trees and a swimming pool. The interior needs some light renovating, but the bones of this property are hard to argue with, especially at this price point. Find more details here.


Pisa, Tuscany


L’Architrave Immobiliare, £97,862


This small but pretty apartment near Pisa would be a brilliant buy for anyone looking for a base to explore the region but without much in the way of upkeep. There is a lovely spot to eat dinner outside, while being just an hour from Pisa airport would make it ideal for holidaymakers flying in to the city. Find more details here.


By Nancy Alsop
September 2021

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