The Amalfi coast of Italy is numbered among the most glamorous in Europe. That’s little surprise. The More than 110km boast majestic vistas winding through a succession of picture-postcard resorts: Amalfi itself, Cetara, Positano, Ravello.
No wonder that since it became a must-visit for 19th century socialites on the Grand Tour circuit, it has drawn the world's jetset. With price tags to match as well. A property overlooking the coast here can fetch US$4m.
Yet head not too far away from here and you can have all this natural beauty and more – at a fraction of the price. Welcome to a little-known gem that has remained undiscovered for far too long. Welcome to the Cilento coast. It lies some 1hr 20mins to the south and runs for near 100 miles. It also runs along the Cilento national park, the country’s second largest and – along with Vallo Di Diano National Park – a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Paestum apart, the names of it genteel seaside towns and villages – Casal Velino, Pioppi, Policastro, Sapri – are far from high-profile but they offer the same mix of dreamy coastal towns and villages, super sun and breathtaking views over the sea but without the million-dollar price tags of the Amalfi coast – which remains close enough to be seen on a day or weekend outing.
Paestum – a city which dates from some 2,700 years ago and boasts imposing and well-preserved Greek ruins – is another World Heritage Site. Yet a 50sq m flat here could be bought for just $100,000.
As a rule, on the Cilento coast you should budget for approximately $115,000 for a one-bedroom flat and $195,000 for two bedrooms – around a fifth of what you would pay on the Amalfi coast. Even better, some digging around – and a bit of luck – can unearth even more bargains. For example: in Ascea, one-bed sea-view flat was recently put up for sale at $100,000 and a second merely 50m from the beach for $85,000.
Two of the most sought-after locations for Italy real estate investors are located at almost opposite ends of the Cilento Coast, namely Agropoli and, some 90 minutes to the south, Scario. House values will be somewhat more costly here, but again, shopping around can yield a better deal. In Agropoli, a development of new-build flats around 1.5km from the coast recently came up for sale starting at around $145,000 for one bedroom. If you absolutely require a view over the sea, budget around $160,000 for a one-bedroom and $170,000 for a two-bedroom option.
As ever, prices drop markedly if you are happy to tackle a home that may be habitable but could do with some repair. However for house hunters drawn to the countryside but can’t resist a sea view, the hills overlooking Casal Velino are a superb and affordable choice, with a new-construction single-bedroom purchase on the market from just $90,000.
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