Many foreigners may have seen picturesque historical city centers as well as large metropolises across Italy either in person or through pictures, but many might not be familiar with less touristy areas or with remote and small villages in Italy. If you have travelled to Italy and fallen in love with the country, and you have decided to purchase a property there, you might already know which specific geographical area to choose. However, you might still need to consider which neighborhood specifically is a good match for your needs and desires, be it in the city center or in the suburbs. In order to guide you through this uneasy choice, this article will describe Italian suburbs and it will analyze their characteristics in comparison to U.S. suburbs. Finally, the article will outline the main advantages of living in a suburb in Italy, especially with regard to requalified areas.

Italian suburbs may not be what you expect. In fact, contrary to common beliefs, Italian peripheral city areas often lack independent houses; instead, there are many apartments in tall buildings and condominiums. On the other hand, villas and cottages can often be found in small towns and villages, far from major cities. This is the reason why spacious two-floors houses that possibly feature a cozy front porch, a flourishing backyard and even a wide pool are quite rare in these neighborhoods, unlike in other countries, such as the U.S. Thus, it is very likely that if you choose to purchase a property in the Italian suburbs, this will mean selecting a flat.

The conformation of Italian suburbs is linked to economic factors. In fact, city centers in Italy often feature more costly real estate properties than suburban areas since the latter are deemed less desirable. Conversely, U.S. houses may be very expensive even in suburbs, depending on the specific city. Nevertheless, it is worth noticing that Italian suburbs are still well-equipped with essential amenities, such as shops, markets, cafés and public transportation. On the contrary, U.S. suburbs are often purely residential and therefore people need to rely exclusively on their cars to reach stores and public spaces. Therefore, apartments located on the outskirts in Italy can be considered interesting investment opportunities, even if they are generally thought to be less appealing due to their lower economic value.

Choosing to purchase a property in the suburbs rather than in a city depends on your needs, lifestyle and preferences. Arguably, living in a safe neighborhood for minor children is among the most relevant factors when choosing an area for many families, for instance. Indeed, many families prefer to reside in quieter and greener areas where children can play outdoors, far from traffic and pollution. On the other hand, there are also many families who wish to live closer to city centers, which offer several recreational services, sport activities and useful amenities for both children and parents. Thus, in some cases families may favor a dynamic, active and social lifestyle over a tranquil and rural way of life.

However, the differences between cities and suburbs are not as sharp as you may think. In fact, it is worth noticing that many Italian municipalities are adhering to innovative initiatives that aim to bring new life to their suburbs. Specifically, city governments are encouraging construction works to build and renovate residential neighborhoods which are located just outside city centers. In particular, in many municipalities, construction companies are renovating unused properties and building new apartments, shopping centers and other facilities. This will attract aspiring buyers who are interested in investing in areas where the quality of life is higher.

Drawing from this, one of the first and most compelling examples of redeveloped areas in Italy is the case of Milan2, the well-known renovated neighborhood within the metropolitan area of Milan. In the seventies, the municipality agreed to face the city’s overpopulation by designing and building a new residential area in Segrate, in the north-east periphery of the city.

The neighborhood was embellished with beautiful architecture, functional apartments, numerous cycle lanes, pedestrian zones and parks. The success of Milano2 subverted the reputation of Milanese suburbs, offering an ideal alternative to people who preferred being close to the city center yet far from traffic, pollution and high criminal rates. Therefore, this case exemplifies how municipalities can work towards making peripheries not only more liveable, but also more attractive for potential investors.

Another important advantage of choosing to live in the suburbs is the proximity to the city center. In fact, renovated peripheral neighborhoods in Italy are usually relatively close to the city center. Thus, even if you live in a suburban area, you can reach the city center relatively easily either by using public transportation, or by cycling or walking. Therefore, you may choose to settle in a suburban district where you can enjoy a nice, comfortable and quiet home, whilst being close to the city center and not having to spend too much money on commuting.

In conclusion, besides your personal taste and desires, when planning on purchasing a property in Italy it is definitely worth checking the local governments’ plans and projects for developing areas and suburbs as there might be newly built apartments and houses in affordable and modern areas which are worth investing in. Indeed, purchasing a property in Italy, either in a city center or in the suburbs, constitutes an invaluable opportunity, a life-long investment and a way to experience life in the country which is known for its “Dolce Vita”.

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