Retire to Italy’s Most Enticing, Affordable Region

This beautiful and peaceful part of Italy boasts bargain housing prices.

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A recent listing for a house in Italy describes a 130 square meter house with a living room with fireplace, large kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom and private garden of 2,000 square meters. This recently restored property costs just 75,000 euro.

Kathleen Peddicord
Kathleen Peddicord
The house is in Loreto Aprutino, one of the most enticing hill villages in Italy. While it’s not in Tuscany or Umbria, this house is in a corner of Italy that is at least as picturesque. The beaches are golden, and the sea rolls out like a giant bolt of turquoise silk. Stitching together seascapes with lush mountain valleys, this is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets. You can have the best of all worlds here at prices a fraction of those in this country’s more discovered spots.

If your budget is small, you could still afford to retire in Italy if you opt for the Abruzzo. This region of Italy is enticing and affordable. Real estate prices here are up to 80 percent cheaper than in Tuscany and up to 50 percent cheaper than in Umbria. And while 75,000 euro (about $100,000) already sounds cheap to most people, in other villages of the Abruzzo, small but habitable village houses are on the market for as little as 28,000 euro. At current exchange rates, that's about $38,000.

There’s no over-crowding or heavy industry. Hiding away down its curvy roads are castles, vineyards and villages made of stone and memory. Life in the Abruzzo hasn't changed much over the years or even over the centuries. It's like wandering into a gentler, kinder yesterday, with little or no crime and neighbors who watch out for each other.

Old ladies in pinafores bring their chairs outside and sit in gossipy groups, stringing onions into plaits. Instead of playing computer games, young boys are outside playing soccer. Families shop at open-air markets, not hypermarkets, and if they don't produce their own wine, they buy it from local vineyards. Sure, it's everyday wine, but at 8 euro (less than $11) for five liters, who can complain?

Relatively unknown to foreign visitors, the sparsely populated Abruzzo is where central Italy merges into the languid realms of this country’s deep south. Even though many parts of the area are only an hour or two's drive from Rome, this region clings to its secret, ancient feel.

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 28 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring and investing overseas in her free e-letter. Her newest book, How To Buy Real Estate Overseas, published by Wiley & Sons, is the culmination of decades of personal experience living and investing around the world.