With its medieval castles, sparkling rivers, chestnut forests, vineyards and wildflower-filled fields, northern Tuscany offers its own set of delights for visitors and those seeking the Tuscan lifestyle at an affordable price. Within an hour’s drive of most major airports, investors can purchase restored homes in Barga, Bagni de Lucca and Tuscan towns for under $100,000. See the following article from International Living for more on this.
Perched on a wall, scoffing a mint-and hazelnut ice cream, I’m watching an Italian mountain rescue collie go through his paces. No spectator fee for this local dog show. It’s happening on a grassy square outside Barga’s medieval walls.
Barga in Italy has a castle, Renaissance palaces and a backdrop of marble mountains. It’s a typical Tuscan jewel-box town, but I’m not surprised if you’ve never heard of it. Few North American visitors get to Barga—or to northern Tuscany’s other lovely towns and hill villages.
The Pisa-Florence-Siena triangle—Tuscany’s heartland—has a deserved reputation for astronomical prices. But farther north, fixer upper stone houses cost as little $24,000. Such properties aren’t among sunflower fields and avenues of cypress trees. But northern Tuscany has a picture-book landscape too: one of sparkling rivers, chestnut forests and wildflower meadows. Medieval towns are dominated by castles, vineyards drape the lower hills, and homes often come wrapped in wisteria garlands.
Restored village houses regularly list for under $100,000. And one $24,000 cheapie with around a third of an acre of land isn’t a complete ruin. Including a terrace, it will provide 1,182 square feet of living space.
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Ignoring Tuscany’s secret byways, most tourists never get beyond Lucca, a stunning walled city brim full of renaissance art. But continue north into Lucca province and you’ll reach Bagna di Lucca, and the Lima and Serchio valleys. Further on lies Barga and the mountainous Garfagnana.
Depending on location, much of northern Tuscany is within an hour’s drive of either Pisa, Parma or Genoa airports. From some parts of the Lunigiana, the Mediterranean Sea and Liguria’s dramatic “Gulf of Poets” is only a 30-minute drive. It’s also easy to reach Tuscany’s Versilia Riviera and its golden sands.
In a village above Bagni di Lucca, $46,500 buys a two-bedroom apartment in a building with only one other unit.
Fivizzano is a Lunigiana market town once under Medici protection. Here, a 430-square-foot apartment with views across the valleys is $66,500.
In larger towns such as Aulla and Carrara, many apartments are in the $150-$210 per-square-foot range. In contrast, even on Lucca city’s periphery, you’ll pay 20 times that.
A move-into house in Tuscany for under $129,000? No problem. Gardens always boost the price, but rusticos (small country cottages) and restored village houses with chestnut beams and terracotta floors remain plentiful.
In Lucca province, Bagni di Lucca makes a good base. Its hills are sprinkled with little villages, served by local buses. Ten minutes from town, a bijou stone house with a small patio is $73,150. Restored in rustic style with many original features, it only needs internal redecoration.
Or this in a charming village near Licciana Nardi where there’s a wider choice of shops, bars and restaurants—on two levels, the house has two bedrooms and French doors opening onto two terraces. This lists at $103,700.
This article has been republished from International Living.