Renting or buying a house is the essence of living abroad; it’s what separates you from the tourist. The experience of owning a home in the Italian countryside has become almost legendary, as have the headaches that go along with it. While renting an apartment is less of a responsibility, it also presents its pitfalls.
The same can be said about owning or renting property anywhere, but Italian real estate poses unique benefits and challenges. Italy has a historical claim to some of the most admired architecture in the world. This may be the reason you decided to live here. You wanted to carry your groceries from the open-air market past Baroque palaces and medieval frescoes, and step into your Liberty-style apartment building with a wrought-iron elevator shaft and bicycles parked in the courtyard. Or you wanted to hide away in a tile-roofed villa with terra-cotta floors surrounded by vineyards, where you can lean out your window to smell basil in the garden and hear the chatter of grandmothers. [...]
Renting vs. Buying - Whether you should rent or buy in Italy depends, naturally, on your future plans, and especially on the housing market. Trends in Italian real estate prices have more or less mirrored those in the United States: skyrocketing in Italy in the 1990s, but crashing closer to Earth in recent years with the global crisis. It is a good time to buy. [...]