Northern Italy advice

pottssteve Posts: 4,069
edited June 2018 in The cake stop
Dear All,

My other half and I are trying to scrape together enough money to buy a small holiday home. We are keen on Northern Italy, specifically the hilly region from Pisa north and along the coast to San Remo. We will obviously need to avoid the more popular areas such as Portofino unless we win the lottery. I know that several people on the forum spend considerable time in mainland Europe and would appreciate recommendations for place to look. Our criteria are the usual for a second home;

Not too far from an airport.
Access to beach and/or mountains.
Small town or village that has some amenities.
Reasonable transport links.
Nice walking/cycling opportunities.

Any advice on potential locations or buying in Italy in general would be appreciated.

Head Hands Heart Lungs Legs


  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,082
    I'd love to help, especially since we actually have a holiday home in Italy nearish, but that corner of Italy is the one I know the least. Soz.

    The main thing I would suggest is really familiarise yourself with the house buying process and get a trustworthy guy on the ground who can help smooth everything over.

    Knowing the local enforcement who won't penalise your house for being built 20cm bigger than the '1946 planning permission allowed, and knowing that if you want to wall up the door it's fine as long as you stick a door to the wall where it ought to be - that kind of advice is invaluable to navigate the inevitable "shitaly" side of Italy.
  • Pep
    Pep Posts: 501
    I lived my first 19yr in northern Italy, and an extra 5yr in Pisa. People from the North do not consider Pisa in North, rather in the center.

    Why do you prefer a place in the North, rather than somewhere else? If you want hills, in Italy you can have them almost everywhere.
    For what you want, Toscana, Liguria or Emilia Romagna would do. Toscana and Liguria you are almost always near the sea (Mar Ligure, or Mar Tirreno) AND the mountains (the Appennines, not the Alps), up to ca 2000m. In fact, in both Toscana and Liguria one can also ski (if lucky with the snow conditions, generally not as good as further north where it's easier to reach higher altitude).
    Umbria is also in the center of Italy, is charmier, less expensive, has got smaller hills, but far from the sea.
    Marche and Abruzzo I would say same as Liguria or Toscana, probably cheaper, just on the east coast.

    As for place you can't go wrong.
    Do not forget taxes (4% if it's your main residence, 10% if it's a holiday-place or a buy-to-let, plus taxes for owning the place), agent, notar etc etc.
    In case you don't speak the language already you better learn it. You can do things without, but knowing the language you will get an overall more positive experience.

    In bocca al lupo.
  • pottssteve
    pottssteve Posts: 4,069
    Thank you for the replies, which confirm what I had already heard. I think I need to get better at the language and learn to embrace the bureaucracy if we are going to go ahead!


    Head Hands Heart Lungs Legs