In many European countries destinations in the north and south seem to hog the limelight. In France its places like Paris and the Côte d’Azur that capture property buyers’ attention. In Spain it’s Barcelona and the Costa del Sol that offer the allure. Italy seems to break the mould, however, with house hunters often drawn to the country’s heart. What awaits are three spectacular regions that between them stretch from one coast to another: Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche.
Having arrived in Italy’s very own green and pleasant land you can explore each regions diverse landscape, from the shores of the Mediterranean through gently rolling hills and up mountainous peaks down to the Adriatic Sea. Want to know more? Join us as we explore this great swathe of central Italy.
Stretching from the Apennines to the Tyrrhenian Sea, Tuscany – the largest of our three regions – is a perennial favourite with overseas property buyers, and for good reason. This is a land of olive groves, vineyards, stone farms, sunflower fields and medieval castles, where time seems to have stood still since the 10th century when the Etruscan’s were around. You have several options on your Tuscan viewing trip: Renaissance cities like Florence, Siena, Arezzo, Lucca and Pisa where art, culture and exquisite architecture endure; and ancient hilltop towns and villages like Cortona, Pitigliano, Barga and Montepulciano which cast their historic eye over the spectacular landscape beyond.
Tuscany’s reputation for attracting big budget buyers is given further credence by the presence of some high-profile homeowners, like Sting, Ed Sheeran and George Clooney who recently added to his Italian property portfolio. That said it is perfectly possible to find your dream property for well under €500,000, or even snap up a rural renovation project for as little as €40,000 (£35,300).
No longer Tuscany’s lesser known and less alluring neighbour; today Umbria is celebrated in equal measure – especially by property buyers looking for an affordable home. If Kent is the “garden of England”, this fascinating region is Italy’s “green heart”. Don’t tell property buyers across the border but Umbria has all the attributes of Tuscany, plus a few more. The same glorious pastoral scenery can be viewed for miles around, before giving way to spectacular mountainous landscapes that soar higher than anything its neighbour can offer.
Ok, so there’s no coast and it might lack a Renaissance heavyweight like Florence or Siena, but charming towns adorn even more hilltops around here – Perugia, Assisi, Orvieto, Gubbio, Todi, Spoleto and Norcia to name but a few. If you want to live somewhere even more intimate, smaller historic centres like Montefalco, Bevagna, Spello, Trevi, Narni, Bettona and Città di Castello, Città della Pieve should tick all the boxes.
Umbria also holds the upper hand in terms of property prices. According to Numbeo the average price of a city centre apartment in Umbria’s capital Perugia (€3,125 per square metre) is considerably cheaper than in Florence (€4,690 per square metre).
Le Marche literally means “the borderlands”, but don’t let its position to the east of our two established tourist titans fool you. From the rugged shores of the Adriatic to the high-rise Sibillini Mountains – part of the Apennines mountain range – this unspoilt rustic corner of Italy is awash with old-world charm. Picturesque cities include Raphael’s old stomping ground, Urbino; Ascoli Piceno, which perfectly combines history and hip; and Macerata with its famous open-air opera theatre and festival.
Some property buyers head inland to the towns and villages in the foothills of the Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini, like Loro Piceno, Urbisaglia and Mogliano, where medieval ramparts, stunning views, cobbled lanes and tiny piazzas are the norm. Others choose to explore the towns on the Adriatic coast like Pesaro and Fano, where a budget of around €250,000 (£220,550) will be more than enough to secure a comfortable apartment of your own.
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