The Brenta Riviera is the area between Padua and Venice along river Brenta. This area is strongly characterized by the course of the river: from 16th to 18th century the rich Venetians were competing to build the most luxurious villas on the green banks of the Brenta. The classic forms of villa Foscari, in Malcontenta - designed by Palladio – and villa Soranzo in Fiesso, the baroque style villa Widmann in Mira and villa Pisani in Stra - sumptuous residence of the powerful Pisani family - are only some examples of the many magnificent buildings of that golden age.
The best Venetian sculptors and painters were called to decorate the villas and the gardens. The proximity to Venice and Padua and the transport facility provided by the river, joined with the beauty of landscape and relaxing quiet of the rural environment, made this land eligible both for commerce and leisure. These special features are substantially lasting even today. The ten little towns overlooking the Brenta Riviera (the larger Mira, Dolo, Stra as the smaller Fossò, Vigonovo, Fiesso) provide good services and speedy links to Venice and Padua and are surrounded by the greenery of a gentle landscape.
You can find terraced or independent houses with a garden as well as country houses: the prices are around 2,000 euros per sqm. Demanding people can look for an ancient home or a “barchessa”, a historical Venetian rural building annexed to the villa. Not easy, not cheap, but not an impossible wish.
Varigotti – West Liguria Riviera
Varigotti is a small village in the municipality of Finale Ligure, 40 km west of Savona, on the West Riviera (“Riviera Ligure di Ponente”). It is not famous as its renowned counterparts on the East Riviera: sites as Portofino, Santa Margherita, Tellaro. However it lies on one of the most pristine stretch of the Liguria coast. Saraceni Bay, the beach east of Varigotti, dominated by the rocks, away from any building, is among the most beautiful in Italy. The strategic and repaired position of the site was appreciated from an ancient time.
Probably, before year 1000 the Turkish (called Saraceni in the local language) established here a fixed base, taking advantage of the natural harbour of the bay. The influence of Arabic architecture can still be gathered in some houses of the old hamlet, showing details unusual to Liguria buildings. The old hamlet is located between the Aurelia road and the beach and it is doubtless the most valuable part of Varigotti. The houses in front of the sea (once upon owned by the fishermen) form a coloured curtain on the sand beach and often the sea water comes to lap the walls. The overlooking Punta Crena hill, with the ancient watchtower, dominates the village as a big cetacean. The inland consists of wild highlands covered by typical Mediterranean greenery and steep rock peaks, appreciated by climbers for training.
A house in the old hamlet will cost no less than 7,000 Euros / sqm, even more if it is located on the sea-front. On the interior, good solutions can be found at a much lower price, often with spectacular views. Just take into consideration the difficulty of parking on the coast during the summer season.
Suvereto – Tuscany
The hill where the medieval village of Suvereto lies, in Cornia Valley, half a way between the two cities of Livorno and Grosseto at the border with the vast plain of Maremma, is dotted by cork oaks woods (here called “suvere”, from which the name of “Suvereto”). Around Suvereto, the corks oaks are mixed with olives and vines, the typical trees of Mediterranean landscape and along the slopes of the hill you find everywhere small producers of oil and wine. The typical wine produced is a quality red wine made from blending of the local Sangiovese grapes with international Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah. Don’t forget we are next to the vineyards of Bolgheri, wich offer their internationally renowned wines such as Sassicaia and Ornellaia.
The climate is mild, you can walk through the corks and spy the deep blue of the wonderful Baratti Gulf. As many Italian villages set on the hills, Suvereto has mostly retained its medieval appearance. Inside the ancient walls, the narrow streets paved with stones describe a circular path around the old 13th Century castle (now being restored), on the top of the hill. Half of the 3,000 residents live in the village, the remaining part live in farmhouses or in the other small villages of the municipality (San Lorenzo, Montioni, Forni, Prata, Belvedere).
The price for a terraced house in Suvereto goes from 2,000 to 3,000 Euros / sqm. There is a good selection of farmhouses (here called “casali”), with more or less large extension of around land: in this case, expect paying a minimum of 500,000 euros.
Todi – Umbria
Todi enjoyed its moment of fame in 1992, when University of Kentucky professor Richard S. Levine chose it as the model sustainable city. Then, it was considered "the world's most livable city". Really, if you come here and walk around the city or travel the road to Orvieto through the green gentle slopes, you get the impression that things and nature have a harmonious balance. It is the same harmony that Bramante infused in the volumes of “Santa Maria della Consolazione” church, outside the walls, or that you can find at the heart of the city, on “Piazza del Popolo” (People Square), bounded at the opposite sides by the medieval buildings of the Cathedral and the Priori Palace.
Todi was founded in 8th century BC with the name of “Tutere” (Border) because it was at the border with the Etruscan kingdom. In 18th century a historian counted 365 castles, villas and fortified places in its municipality, so he wrote that Todi could boast to have one different castle for every day of the year. Nowadays, the 37 remaining castles spread on the hills constitute the villages of Todi municipality, one of the largest in Umbria.
The prices for a whole farmhouse on the hills or a flat inside the Todi walls or in a restored cottage are quite appealing (from 1,000 to 2,000 euros / sqm) and good solutions are not lacking.
Massimo Viola is the founder of Liguria for Sale, a web guide for people who want to buy a home in Liguria (Italy). In the Blog Section of the site, you can find topics about Italy and Liguria tourist property market.
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