On a visit to Gubbio a few years ago with my Italian fiancée, I told her I thought Umbria was very much like Cumbria but without the C.
Proud Italian that she was, she took it as an insult, having once endured a wet weekend in Cumbria’s Lake District in North-West England. And, cheap wordplay to one side, I can see why she was a little miffed. Given a choice between Umbria and the chilly, hilly countryside of Cumbria, I know which I’d pick.
Umbria – The Green Heart of Italy
Landlocked Umbria bills itself as The Green Heart of Italy – a big boast but one that it lives up to. Located in the centre of Italy, more than 50 per cent of its area is given over to its national parks, woods and valleys. To the west of Umbria lies Lake Trasimeno, while the River Tiber and its tributaries also run through the region.
It is also home to splendid medieval hilltowns such as Perugia, Assisi, Todi and Spello and even though over-run Tuscany is just across the border, Umbria – with fewer than 100 people per square km – remains one of Italy’s least densely populated regions.
Umbria – Popular with Investors
So no surprise that Umbria is one of the most popular regions of Italy for foreign investors in the property in Italy market to buy.
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The establishment, in 2006, of an international terminal at Perugia airport, allied to the proximity of pricey Tuscany, has pushed up Umbria property prices.
Yet it is still relatively easy to find a home at prices that won’t break the bank. Properties close to or with a view of Lake Trasimeno are immensely popular. In Città della Pieve on the lake’s southern shores, expect to pay around €150,000 for a two-bedroom apartment with garden. One of the attractions of Città della Pieve is that is has the atmosphere of Tuscany at a fraction of the prices.
There are also bargains to be had on the northern shores. In Tuoro sul Trasimeno, one-bedroom apartments can start from around €100,000, new-build two-bedroom ones from €120,000 and a new-build three-bedroom villas at around €220,000.
In truth, a budget of around €250,000 should get you a decent-sized holiday home in most parts of Umbria. If you’re happy to tackle a restoration project, €120,000-€130,000 may get you a rundown farmhouse in the countryside around Perugia. There are also bargains to be had in the south of Umbria. In Narni for instance, €150,000 can get you a two-bedroom home.
Homes and Villas Abroad are a Blog from Italy contributor.