n r e th u o s in e m o h l ta s a o c A “ Italy for 200k: but where exactly to look?” h a bit seeking a low-maintenance home wit is on ght Bri m fro ter wri ng ovi ly-l An Ita er Nye. ilicata or Sardinia, reports Christoph of character in Puglia, Calabria, Bas
To help Don with his purchase, some words of advice...
THE BRIEF WHO? Don Connigale, 41, is originally from Liverpool, but now lives in Brighton. He works as a copywriter and subeditor. WHAT HE WANTS Don has a budget of £200,000. For this, he would like a two- or threebedroom property. It must have some private outside space – a small garden, terrace or balcony. Use of a communal pool or access to the seaside would be great. He wants a low-maintenance property that he can just visit and enjoy, so a large garden and private pool would not be ideal. The important thing is that the property has a bit of character: it does not have to be old, as he would certainly consider a newer property, but it has to be a place with style.
PRESENTER OF A PLACE IN THE SUN
WHERE? Don loves Italy, and would like somewhere in the south for that Mediterranean vibe. He doesn’t know exactly where to look at present, so would like some guidance on the best areas. The must-haves are to be near, or preferably within, a coastal town or city, with an all-year-round buzz. He wants to be able to pop down for a relaxing winter weekend, browsing the markets, or for a longer holiday in summer by the sea.
WHAT ABOUT THE MAFIA?
REASON FOR BUYING NICK METTA “Why not?” says Don. He has LEGAL EXPERT worked in property investment before, and says that, with money making so little in the bank, now is the time to invest in Italy, when conﬁdence and prices are so low. He wants to Turn over to see buy the kind of property g that won’t go out of style, the four excitin and enjoy some holidays properties we in an appreciating asset. und for Don
Soﬁe Anefors, estate agent at Enotria Mia; www.enotriamia.com, 0039 34 052 66906 Basilicata’s countryside is like the smooth green hills of Tuscany, but with a touch of Sicily’s roughness, too. It’s beautiful, and includes Il Pollino, Italy’s largest national park, with mountains up to 2,000 metres that you can ski on. The southern coastline (Basilicata has two) is ﬂat and sandy. While Italian buyers tend to favour newbuild holiday homes, most UK buyers look inland at the villages, or attractive little towns like Pisticci or Tursi. Matera is particularly special, and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. For centuries, the local people lived in cave homes, which since the 1950s have been modernised into smart homes, restaurants and chic, boutique hotels. They’re not cheap, but Don could get an apartment for his budget. Pisticci is a small town, 364 metres up in the hills, a few kilometres from the seaside. He could buy a two-bedroom property here in a good state of repair, with land, for around €75,000 (£60,000). Amanda Lamb Puglia is the heel of Italy’s boot, on the country’s east coast, ending with the narrow – 50-kilometre wide – spit of land that divides the Adriatic from the Mediterranean. Once, it was something of a rural backwater – known for its olives, wine, and durum wheat for making pasta. But surrounded as it is by water, tourism has brought wealth and overseas buyers, including Helen Mirren and, well, me! There are three parts to Puglia. The northernmost area is Gargano, relatively mountainous and popular with Italian holidaymakers. The southern tip is Salento, with the sea on each side, and with a slightly Greek look about it. In the middle is the Itria Valley, famous for its conical homes called trulli. The port cities of Bari and Brindisi are handy for ﬂying back to the UK via Ryanair, easyJet or British Airways, or for sailing across the Adriatic to Greece and Croatia, but beautiful towns like Ostuni are more popular with buyers. Although hot and dry in the summer, Puglia is surprisingly wet in the winter.
Nick Metta, partner at Studio Legale Metta, Bari; www.studiolegalemetta.it, 020 8144 1881 I can reassure UK buyers that we have been working for international and Italian clients since 2004, and have never seen any evidence of maﬁa activity in the private property market. By maﬁa activity, I don’t just mean that we haven’t seen any killing or violence; we haven’t even seen any intimidating action aimed at discouraging legal action, either. Of course, organised crime exists, but even in the worst areas it will generally be limited only to large towns and cities. But then in cities such as Bari and Palermo, just as in any country, there is always more crime of every kind. This is not to suggest that buying is risk-free, especially with off-plan property. We have been working with clients where the developer is unable to complete a project – but that is linked to the normal economic problems, and is nothing to do with the maﬁa. As always, it is very wise to get a good lawyer, one experienced in property transactions. aplaceinthesun.com 25
A AT C I IL
From €203,000 (£162,800)
Where: Ostuni, Puglia
Where: Marina Village, near Policoro
Where: Staletti, nr Soverato, Calabria
Where: Bosa, Sardinia
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Property details: Ë Three bedrooms, two bathrooms Ë Lounge-diner and ﬁtted kitchen Ë Fully furnished, with air-conditioning Ë Village location, close to resort towns Ë Private garden and terrace with sea views Ë Communal pool, private parking
Property details: Ë Two double bedrooms, three bathrooms Ë 110m2 useable area Ë Spread over three ﬂoors Ë Terrace with sea views Ë Exposed stonework and vaulted ceilings Ë Can be separated into two ﬂats for holiday rentals
For more details: Savills International: email email@example.com, 0207 016 3744,
For more details: Calabrian Apartments: www.calabrianapartments.com; 0757 654 7250
For more details: House Around Sardinia; www.housearoundsardinia.eu, 0039 079 4815 431
Does luxury get any better than having your own boat mooring; listening to the lap of the waves and the gentle bump of gunwale on jetty as you sit on your balcony? For a brand new apartment on a luxurious development, these prices are more than competitive – you could pay similar for an apartment in Matera, and that’s before you’ve renovated it. Hardly surprising, then, that from this phase of building only 70 of the 360 units remain unsold. Apartments and villas range from 50m2 to 300m2. The development, which incorporates many eco-building features, is on man-made islands within a lagoon on the Ionian coast of Basilicata, the up-and-coming region of southern Italy. Although Marina Village is buzzing during the summer, it is no less beautiful in winter.
It looks like the balcony of a plush hotel, but these views of the Bay of Squillace are from Don’s own terrace if he buys this modern apartment, made for relaxing summer holidays. It stands near the hilltop village of Staletti, with the gorgeous beaches of the Ionian coast a mere ﬁve minutes’ drive (or bus ride) away. Inside and out, the apartment is all Italian elegance and clean modern lines. It comes furnished, tiled and air-conditioned, with an über-cool kitchen in red, and a lounge with sea views from the leather sofas. With its own entrance at street level, the apartment is within walking distance of Staletti, a village with shops and restaurants and 2,000-plus people. Nearby are the resorts of Soverato, bursting with nightlife, and Catanzaro, with its excellent shopping and link to the Italian railway system.
The pretty yellow outside of this house continues inside, with a distinctly jaunty ambience. Yet Bosa itself, with about 8,000 people, on a river by the sea in western Sardinia, isn’t a resort town, but a working town enriched by ﬁshing and agriculture, where the folk just happen to like painting their houses bright colours. This spacious apartment has the advantage of two entrances and enough bathrooms to be divided into two if required; great for when Don has friends visiting or for renting out. It is in a traditional style, with original features and stonework, an openplan living area and a useful storeroom. The upstairs patio/terrace has panoramic views over the town, the castle, the River Temo and the sea. Bosa is 40 kilometres from the airport at Alghero. It has avoided mass tourism, retaining its authentic Sardinian feel, yet with wonderful beaches and historic buildings.
Two bedrooms, two bathrooms Internal ﬂoor area of 70m2 Rooftop terrace, with sea and country views Open-plan living area, with ﬁreplace At the heart of Ostuni’s old town Eight kilometres from the sea
For more details: Countryside Properties: www.italiancountryside.co.uk Ostuni is a town of around 30,000 people, standing proudly on a hill near the sea, 35 kilometres north of the port (and airport) city of Brindisi. This apartment is near the cathedral in the narrow cobbled streets of the centro storico (old town). How old? Ostuni was founded nearly 4,000 years ago and has a huge range of architectural styles along streets that buzz with activity in the evenings, but which are cool and relaxed in the heat of the summer afternoons. This apartment is in a good state of repair, though with a bit of work it could have a real wow factor (and rental value). The interior is spacious for a citycentre apartment, and the roof terrace, with a pergola to protect it from the sun, is made for those long, balmy summer evenings when you can smell the sea breezes blowing off the nearby Adriatic, across the olive groves and vineyards.
Two bedrooms Spacious terrace Heating and air-conditioning Landscaped gardens Five-star hotel, restaurants, shops, sports facilities Private boat mooring optional extra
• I love the position, both in Italy and within Ostuni. It’s really easy to get to by plane, or even by train if the fancy takes me. • I can avoid renting a car every time I use it. • There would be no problem renting it out – and I suspect I’ll be fending friends and family away. • Those views from the roof are lovely.
• These really are good prices. I wouldn’t want to buy off-plan, but getting brand new for the price of off-plan is ideal. • I do like the notion of having my own boat – even just a jet-ski or a rowing boat, from which to catch my own dinner. • The properties look clean, modern and easy to look after. It would be so simple just to arrive and start enjoying my holiday.
• The interior of the apartments is ideal: really modern and cool. • It will be easy to make friends, with the communal pool and close neighbours. I wonder where the other owners come from, though. • The village location close to resorts should make it work as a year-round property, but with great rental value in the summer. • The beautiful view should guarantee long-term capital appreciation.
• When I imagine living in Italy, this is exactly the kind of property I wanted, in exactly the kind of town. • I like the look of the house inside – it’s authentic and large enough. • Being able to rent out part of the property is ideal.
• It does need a bit of upgrading, but there is cash left over from the budget for that.
• They are rather a long way from the airport. • I wonder if there is enough to do outside the development.
• Maybe the neighbours are a little bit close. No nude sunbathing possible!
HE DISLIKES: • The kitchen looks a bit underwhelming – I might need to change that. • I have some misgivings about buying on an island. It means I can’t drive there – although I suppose I could get the ferry from Genoa, or even the south of France, via Corsica.
MORE PROPERTIES IN SOUTHERN ITALY
WHAT NEXT? We’ve shown Don four properties around southern Italy. Let’s ﬁnd out what he thought about them
Where: San Michele Salentino, Puglia €300,000 (£240,500)
Where: Nocera Scala, Calabria €40,000 (£32,100)
Beautifully restored nine-cone trullo in central Puglia. It sits on a large plot of 13,000m2, with landscaped gardens and mature olive and fruit trees. Includes two bedrooms, lounge, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. Outside, there is a wood-burning pizza oven. The property is handy for Brindisi Airport. Casa Travella: www.casatravella.com; 01322 660 988
A penthouse apartment with two double bedrooms, use of communal pool, gardens and private lido on the beach. There’s nightlife on the beach and promenade, too; and, for the off-season, don’t forget the hilltop villages nearby – perfect for a little trip down with Ryanair to Lamezia Airport, 15 minutes’ drive from this bargain property. Calabrian Apartments: www.calabrian apartments.com; 0757 654 7250
I have enjoyed this little tour around southern Italy and I’m enthusiastic about buying there. Basilicata is intriguing, but I am concerned about getting there, and need to do a lot more research. What are the roads from the airport like? Is there a bus or train service? I am also interested in the hilltop villages and inland Italy: I get that they’re beautiful, but I want to meet people and have fun, so maybe Ostuni would be best for that? Anywhere that appeals to Suggs [the frontman of Madness] and Helen Mirren can’t be dull. Sardinia I originally ruled out on the grounds that, being an island, I will always have to ﬂy — but having seen that you can get a ferry from Marseille, I’m more interested. Certainly, Bosa was the most eye-catching of the towns. I wasn’t especially worried about the maﬁa — living in Brighton and Liverpool, disorganised crime is more of a problem — so my only concern was that property seemed a little on the pricy side. I wonder if I would get a better deal if I rented there for a while (being freelance I can work from anywhere) and made some local contacts?
Where: Zambrone, Calabria €239,000 (£193k) Zambrone Beach Resort is an off-plan development of nine townhouses 5-10 mins from Tropea. The three-bed, two-bath properties will have direct access to beach, large rooftop terraces with jacuzzi and BBQ area, private parking and shared inﬁnity pool within gated community. www.windrushalliance.com
Where: Pisticci, Basilicata €118,000 (£94,600)
WE NEED YOU!
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A two-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage on a 7,800m2 plot, including 70 olive trees – enough land for a rural tourist business or for a small farm. The views of the Coppo valley and Pollino mountains are stunning. Pisticci is a town of 17,000 people, with all the usual shops and restaurants, and, although it is a short drive from the sea, it has the advantage of being lively all year round. Enotria Mia: www.enotriamia.com, 0039 34 052 66906
Where: Alghero, Sardinia €155,000 (£124,300) A spacious ground-ﬂoor apartment of 97m2, with three bedrooms, a large modern kitchen and a private garden. It is just 300 metres from the beach, and within easy walking distance of a children’s playground, restaurants, bars and a supermarket. Alghero is a lively place – especially the old town – and is tourist-friendly. Its airport offers ﬂights to Stansted. House Around Sardinia: www.housearound sardinia.eu; 0039 079 4815 431