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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 and beautiful.
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 most rural 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.

Unrestored 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 (giardiniere).

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 forums.


Click here for a list of Notary in Italy


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