What is property like in Italy?
Italian property and living standards used to be very basic, particularly
in rural areas, where many properties had no bathroom or toilet. However,
with the huge rise in the standard (and cost!) of living in the last
few decades, Italian properties have been changed into being in general
better than most of europe. Houses are quite rare in cities and people
generally live in apartments. Italian apartments are usually surprisingly
small and it’s hard to find apartments with three
or more bedrooms. Most do, however, have two bathrooms. New detached
homes (called villas) are generally luxurious internally, but often
have bland exteriors. Whether old or new, Italians take great pride
in their property and no expense is spared to make them comfortable
Property in Italy are as varied as the climate and people, but one thing
they all have in common is sturdy building materials. The exterior will
usually be made of fire resistant materials e.g. brick or stone. Interior
walls are usually white stucco plaster (intonaco), and this can be painted
in pastel colours and makes a perfect backdrop for paintings and tapestries,
while bedroom walls are often covered with wallpaper. Wood floors (parquet)
are common in northern Italy but are considered a luxury in the rest
of Italy. Marble or travertino is often used in entrance halls (ingressi),
corridors (corridoi) and living rooms (saloni), while kitchens (cucine)
and baths (bagni) are generally enhanced by ceramic tiles. Bathrooms
are usually fitted with a toilet, washbasin (lavandino), bidet and a
shower (doccia) or bath (vasca), or perhaps a bath with a shower attachment.
In addition luxury homes often have a Jacuzzi (idromassaggio). When
there’s no separate utility or laundry room (lavanderia), the
hotwater heater (scaldabagno) and washing machine (lavatrice) are usually
stored in the main ‘service’ (servizio) bathroom.
Italian property are completely empty when purchased, except perhaps
for the bathroom porcelain and the kitchen sink. All the furnishings
and appliances are chosen and bought by the new owner, who can have
the kitchen fitted by a local carpenter or buy factory-produced kitchen
cabinets. Ovens may be electric or mains gas (which is available in
properties) and country properties may also have an outside pizza/bread
oven (forno a legna) and sometimes a tinello or taverna that acts as
family room or a summer kitchen/dining room. Very few Italians use clothes
dryers (the sun and wind suffice), but washing machines are very common.
In rural areas you may possibly find a public washhouse (lavatoio),
which is good for washing voluminous things such as curtains in addition
for swimming for children in the summer.
country properties rarely have any kind of heating except for numerous
fireplaces which mean lots of atmosphere and a well-stacked wood pile.
The thick stone walls ,which can measure over one metre, of older homes
help keep out the cold in winter thus reducing heating (riscaldamento)
costs, while in summer they act as insulation against the heat. In northern
Italy and mountainous areas, double-glazing is a necessity. Heating
systems may consist of an oil fired furnace, mains gas or gas bottles
(bombolone) in rural areas. In apartments (condominio), hot water and
heating are usually centralised and paid for along with other fees including
cleaning of common areas, (pulizia scale), porter (portiere) and gardener
Windows are usually protected with shutters, which are usually closed
at night to keep the heat in and prying eyes out. In city apartments
they are known as tapparelle or avvolgenti (rolling shutters) and are
made of metal, wood or plastic slats.
Before deciding to buy a home in Italy, it’s advisable to do extensive
research and read a number of media especially written for those planning
to buy real estate, or live or work there, such as Italian property
Click here for a list of Notary