So, where do we begin? Forget the big cities like Milan and Rome at this point. These explanations are mainly focussed on the regional areas and towns surrounding the bigger towns in the less populated regions such as Molise and Abruzzo.
Some of the different houses I’ve noticed while looking for a home in Italy are quite different to what we have in Australia and the US. I generally divide them as thus:
Town Houses (not a Townhouse like in Australia) these are houses that are in the little town centre. An example of a town centre might be, Civitacampomarano in the Molise Region.
This small village/town has a population of about six hundred odd. So, we are talking about small towns. I’m not sure what classifies as a village or a town, but I sort of see them as villages. Again, that’s imposing my Anglican thoughts onto an Italian landscape.
Also, in these villages are Apartments, of which is pretty self-explanatory. Then there are Country Homes, that are generally on the outskirts of these small towns, but still within the parameters of the town. Could be half a mile out or 5 miles.
Then there are Villas and Luxury Homes. These can overlap depending on the area, and in a way it’s kind of subjective. Basically, the way I see it is that villas are big houses on a decent size block, such as 1 hectare or much larger. They can have a pool, garage and even a guest house. Luxury homes is not even something I want to look at, at this stage. That may change later, but for now I want to look at things from the budget minded point of view. I am definitely more interested in exploring the small town houses, apartments, country homes and villas. Some of the villas and country homes can be expensive as well, but you can also find run down or overlooked gems that are just waiting to be looked after.
So, I guess, taking into consideration the definitions of the kind of dwellings we are confronted with in Italy, we can then try to ascertain what kind of life we want to live. That will certainly help to decide which is right for us.
Let’s look at an example: You might be an older couple that wants to retire in Italy. You may want to be very close to other people, have zero or little upkeep on a property, need the company of others that are very close, may not have a car, and don’t particularly like living on a large property outside of conveniences. In this case I would look at town houses and apartments, and forget about country homes and villas. Whether you get an apartment or town house could also depend on many factors. How much room do you need? Are you okay with not having a separate building (although town houses are generally not stand alone, although they can be.)?
Alternatively, you may not care about living so close to other people, you drive and prefer the space of a country home. Also, how will you earn a living? Are you retired and don’t need to worry about that? Will you need to be close to the community so as to be able to be part of the community? (Always a good thing! J)
I guess, these questions can only be answered by you.
Think about your motivations and then you can have a clearer picture of what you want to look for and any agents that you come across will also be able to help you easier and more efficiently. Another thing that you may not have considered is that during the process you may change your motivations based on the dwellings you are coming across. This can happen to anyone and will just involve a change of focus.
Good luck, and speak soon.