If you haven’t spent much time in Italy, this will surprise you: Regional differences are so great that some folks have trouble understanding each other’s dialects.
Standard Italian is the dialect most people understand. It’s what’s used on TV and in the national media and also what you’ll be taught when you learn Italian.
With Standard Italian, you shouldn’t have trouble understanding and being understood in most parts of the country… although there are some Italians who can’t speak it.
Regional differences go beyond language. In general, the Italy you see in pictures is Northern Italy. That’s where you’ll find buildings that lean and waterways for streets. Northern Italy is an industrial center and home to fine clothes and cars with prancing stallions.
Southern Italy—The Other Italian Nation
I’m in love with another Italy, one towards the south… one you most likely don’t know much about. Today I want to introduce you to the region of Calabria.
This Italy has a rich history replete with Arab pirates and Roman centurions. It’s an absolutely beautiful, exotic land where high mountains dive straight into blue-green seas. It’s Hawaii crossed with the South of France.
On a personal note, I’m not rich and don’t strive to be. If you’re looking for an investment property to own for three years and then sell for a handsome profit, Overseas Property Alert has better opportunities than Southern Italy.
I bought a nice little place in Scalea for 44,000 euros (US$50,980). I rented it several months a year to vacationers and stayed there several months a year. My family also took advantage of the house.
Later, I sold it and got my money back plus a little profit. It wasn’t a huge moneymaker, but I enjoyed using it and it paid for itself through rentals.
Are You Interested In Living Or Investing Overseas?
If you’re looking for the best bang for your investment buck, my little home in Scalea isn’t for you as the return wasn’t good… But if overseas living is what you’re after, it was an excellent opportunity. My job is internet-based, so I didn’t miss a day of work while there… And if you have to work, it might as well be on the beach.
Italy is no different from other places around the world—folks are moving to big cities in search of higher-paying jobs. The exodus in Southern Italy has left property prices depressed, while home sales are growing in major cities like Milan.
Although reports show that in 2017, Italy happened to experience its fastest economic growth in seven years (with 1.5% GDP growth), the market is near bottom because this growth is actually modest for a European country. I’m not an economist… but it appears that the time to buy is now. Since 2017, properties all around the country have averaged a loss of 23% of their value.
Unfortunately, nobody knows when the market will turn… but make no mistake, Italy’s property market will make a comeback, and the time to make your move is now.
You Don’t Need To Be Wealthy To Live In Italy
A regular guy like me can’t afford a penthouse in Rome, so I’m stuck spending winter on the beach in Southern Italy. It makes me smile whenever I say something like that to friends and watch their faces react. It strokes the ego.
On the other hand, Italy’s mortgage market is strict. You have to clear a high bar if you want financing because it takes five to seven years for a bank to reclaim a home. You can’t blame them for being careful.
Once you make the leap, the good news is that it costs almost nothing to live there. Think about it this way: You’re going to make dinner tonight. That dinner is only going to cost you a few dollars because you are eating at home… Why not have dinner someplace you only dreamed of in the past?
When you own a little place somewhere exotic, the airline tickets to and from home are what cost the most. It really doesn’t matter if you’re there three weeks or three months, the flight costs the same.
A Word Of Warning…
On my last trip I gained 23 pounds in 2 months. Did I mention Italian wine and cheese? I did get those pounds off, but now I’ve put them back on. I find myself working to lose weight yet again.
Of course, I have no intention of returning to Italy and behaving myself. I eat olives, drink too much, and relax at every opportunity. You know that Mediterranean diet thing? Neither do I.
Back To Buying Property
What are your goals? If you are looking for short- to mid-term, high-return investment, I recommend a big town in the north. If you don’t have a lot to invest and want your money back plus some, then the south is for you. In either case, the experts say now is the time to buy because the market is at its bottom.
My formula was simple: Buy a modest little place for cash, rent it to the holiday market (using something like Airbnb), and let that pay the bills for the year. Then take several months to enjoy the property myself. After that, let the family come. It really is that simple.