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Bergamo, Italy
Bergamo, Italy
Bergamo, Italy

Real Estate in Italy

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: People living in Italy offer advice about real estate. How do you find a home in Italy? Should you buy or rent? What is the cost of housing?

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William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

How do I find a place to live in Italy?

Live in Italy? Answer this Question

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"On accident, really. We were in Perugia in an AirB&B. We noticed a poster for a concert on Isola Maggiore on Lake Trasimeno. We went, and were charmed with Passignano sul Trasimeno. We found an apartment and moved," remarked another member in Passignano sul Trasimeno.

"I researched a year before moving on the Internet and found apartmentsflorence.com who skyped with me from Florence. Lorenzo the owner described many different options and I felt very comfortable making the decision which apartment to rent before I moved. Took care of the first months rent online, very efficient," explained one expat living in Florence, Italy.

"Searched the internet for months before arrival to become familiar with the area. Stumbled upon our purchase by accident at our first visit.," said another person in Minturno.

"We were desperate as we couldn't find anything to fit our needs so we just took the one we could find. It is not a great fit for us and we have continued to search for another apartment to no avail. Italy is a place where you have to know someone and we are just now finding those connections after 2 years," added another expat who made the move to Parma.

"We chose the hills "Percolina/ Colina" area, because of the availability of yards for our kids to play outside. Parks in the city were made for kids 5 and under. We have school aged kids. There's one in the Park of Rememberance. Prices for places with yards and 2 family shared homes were about the same as in an apartment buildings we saw in the city. We had to buy a car though. Was very worth it. We were taken around by agents from HomeBase. They were hired by my husband's company, but I would recommend Judy Stein at or +39-338-985-1432. Judy is from the US originally and knows the expectations North Americans have for housing. I wish I could have found housing with her instead of HomeBase," explained one foreigner living in Torino, Italy.

"My husband and I looked at over 35 apartments before finally finding the "right" one. We used leasing agents. We lived in a corporate apartment for 3 months and walked around/drove around a lot looking at the buildings and neighborhoods. A lot of the apartments we saw were too dark, the spaces were all cut up into smaller areas, weren't big enough, no elevator available (big consideration when you have small children), etc," said another in Rome.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Italy?

Live in Italy? Answer this Question

"A mansarda, attic apartment. We know some expats who have bought "rustico" homes and embarked on extensive, and expensive, remodels. Others purchased apartments. We are renting a cheap apartment, but it is too small, too noisy, and are hoping to find something better," remarked another foreigner who made the move to Passignano sul Trasimeno.

"I chose a two bedroom apartment because my 28 year old daughter came with and we wanted our own bedrooms. Plus, we knew we would have relatives and friends come. There was an elevator that maybe half of the apartments have with washer in the unit. Not many houses to rent except maybe in the country," explained one person living in Florence, Italy.

"Apartment, there is only one other expat couple in town and they followed us here," said another expat in Minturno.

"We live in a two-family duplex with a yard in the wooded hills area just outside Torino city limits. Very typical of most expats I know who have children. It's closer to the international school in Chieri. And easy to get to the city (10-15 min.). And much quieter. Easy to get to shopping," remarked another member in Torino.

"We have a large country property with a 200 year-old stone farmhouse on it that we restored. We have a 100% organic 'azienda agricola' with 500 producing olive trees and 250 citrus trees with other ornamental trees and two natural water springs on it. It is heavenly. The other expats in the area are a mix of apartment dwellers and countryside lovers like us (there are just a few of us)," explained one expat living in Catanzaro, Italy.

"We live in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom (140 square meter) apartment with 3 separate balconies. This is typical for the type of housing available in the city. A little further out of the center, you can find "villinos" which are like townhouses or even villas with gardens. Apartments here are either furnished or unfurnished. In an unfurnished apartment, you may even have to provide your own lights, kitchen appliances and counters," said another person in Rome.

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What is the average cost of housing in Italy?

Live in Italy? Answer this Question

If you are thinking about moving to Italy, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Housing prices vary a great deal. A decent apartment can be had for 130,000 euros. Homes in the Umbria region though are disappointingly high priced. We've seen places for over 200,000 euros that needed extensive remodeling and repair. Rome and Naples and Florence are higher priced. The other factor is there are many homes that have poor lighting, no fly screens on the windows, very hard water that clogs pipes, and mold problems. It's hard to find a modern-designed home like you'd easily find in any town in the US," remarked another member in Passignano sul Trasimeno.

"The euro was high in 2013 when I moved there at 1.47 so my first apartment was 1200 euro a month. I moved closer to the city center by the Ponte Vecchio and I paid 1600 euro which is much higher than Minneapolis. You can stay within 1000 for a two bedroom if you don't mind being out of the center of town or in a lower neighborhood," explained one expat living in Florence, Italy.

"Lower cost for initial purchase. Check the internet real estate sites. Cost is based on location and housing requirement just like anywhere. We downsized a bit in the process as part of a life plan," said another person in Minturno.

"Much higher. Meat is expensive. Gasoline/diesel is high. It's cheaper to buy clothes and house items in the US on holidays and bring them back in the suitcase," added another expat who made the move to Torino.

"Well, property taxes here are incredibly low. At least compared to my native California. Houses and even apartments can be very expensive here though. There are places here in Catanzaro, apartments, overlooking a parking lot asking over 400,000 EURO! We bought our beautiful property (just outside of Catanzaro and about 15 minutes to the Mediterranean sea) with a lot of land and producing orchards and rebuilt the home spending around 600,000Euro. However, going outside the city into a rural community, even 10km outside of town, you can pay half of that. Here, neighbours are an issue and there are many lawsuits when they cannot get things sorted out (especially in our area where there are many lawyers who are unemployed). We got lucky and have a large piece of property with no problems. Here, in the country you can get a good deal. If my property were in California, we would be paying well over 1,000,000 dollars easily! We enjoy our life in the country here and wich those thinking of coming here the same good fortune," explained one foreigner living in Catanzaro, Italy.

"Housing costs are much higher here than where we used to live outside of Seattle, WA. We pay 2077 euros a month for our apartment. This is probably a little below average as our apartment is on the 1st floor. The higher you go up in floors, the higher the rent. We only paid $1500 in a mortgage payment when we lived in Washington State," said another in Rome.

Should I buy or rent a home in Italy?

Live in Italy? Answer this Question

If you have not spent a lot of time in Italy, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:

"We paid an attorney in Rome to ensure that the process was easy. He was expensive, but well worth the money. Without good language skills one is at the mercy of the system. Our attorney stood the ground for us when necessary," remarked another member in Minturno.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Italy GuideItaly Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Italy.

Italy Forum Italy Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Italy on our Italy forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

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Help others in Italy by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Italy.

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Expats in Italy offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Italy.

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