After a six-year hiatus and decades of central government investment, the southern region of Calabria is set to retake its place as the up-and-coming star of the Italian property scene.
In Calabria, the renovation property sector is the one to which many foreign investors have been drawn in recent years. There is a significant reduction in the VAT rate for renovation works, as well as a very accommodating attitude towards planning permissions for extensions, with up to 100m2 being guaranteed on a property’s first extension.
Calabria is one of the few regions on the Italian mainland where you can pick up decent one-bedroom apartments close to the sea for under €40,000. It’s one of Italy’s poorest regions, but it has also benefitted from massive public investment. The evidence of decades of central government efforts to turn the economic situation around are visible in the impressive infrastructure that the region enjoys, with a motorway running along its western flank, linking up with Naples and Rome.
The 2005-2008 period certainly saw properties for sale in Calabria taking on the role of "undiscovered star" of the property market for both Italian and foreign purchasers; a role that’s certain to pick up where it left off as the national property market picks up and more investors flock to invest in property for sale in Calabria.
Much of the interest in foreign investment has centred on the coastal resorts. These include Cirella Island, Praia a Mare and Nicola Arcella on the north-west coast, while the somewhat more upmarket resort of Tropea farther south is an example of the kind of beauty that one would associate with the Amalfi Coast before it became very expensive.
The regional capital Reggio di Calabria at the very toe of Italy is a good example of the sort of promise and kinetic energy that many feel is typical of Calabria. The recent restoration work of the beachfront facing across the straits to Sicily and within the town itself give some indication of its status as a rising star of property for sale in Calabria.
On the Ionian coast, the status of growth potential is less certain, with much more by way of wild beauty and ancient historical remains from the Romans and Greeks but a less developed infrastructure.
Calabria is a region located at the most southern point of Italy; it forms the “toe” of the Italian peninsula. The region consists of 5 different provinces; Consenza to the north, Crotone to the east, Catanzaro in the centre, Vibo Valentia to the west, and Reggio Di Calabria to the south. Each province has its own series of beautiful cities and town, each with their own unique history and culture.
Known as the city of two seas, Catanzaro overlooks the Gulf of Squillace in the Ionian Sea and is the capital of Calabria. Over 156,000 people inhabit the city, also referred to as the city of the 3 Vs, which relates to 3 distinct features: San Vitaliano; (the Saint); Velvet (the city is an important centre for silk since Byzantine times); and Vento, (which means wind in Italian) which gives reference to the strong breezes from the sea.
Capitial of the Province of Consenza, the city of Consenza is located between Sila plateau and the coastal mountains. The old part of the city contains a Norman castle and the modern part is situated north beyond Busento. This ancient town possesses several museums and many other cultural attractions.
Separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina, Reggio Calabria is located at the bottom of the “toe” of the Italian Peninsula. The city is the oldest in the region; it has a rather modern layout after being partially destroyed in 1908 by an earthquake, and is home to the National Archaeological Museum of Magna Græcia.
The city of Crotone, founded in 710 BC as a colony called Kroton, is known for producing many ancient Olympic victors. Located near the ports of Taranto and Messina, it is the capital of the Province of Crotone.
Capital of the Province of Vibo Valentia, the city was originally a Greek colony called Hipponion and is an agricultural, commercial and tourist district and has many manufacturing businesses. The city claimed the name of Vibo Valentia in 1928.
Calabria owes itself to its deep and rich history of conflict, disaster, and discovery for the landmarks it possesses throughout its borders. These landmarks have been here for many centuries and endured both time and the crumbling of civilisations.
Santuario di San Francesco di Paola
This empty cave was once the home of the saint of the same name until his death in the 15th century. The cave was carved out by the saint and his followers who created the sanctuary to provide shelter for those embarking on a religious pilgrimage to the area.
The Chiesa di Piedigrotta
This underground cave is full of statues carved into the stone. The cave was carved into tufa rock by shipwreck survivors in the 17th century and other sculptors added to it over time. It was finally turned into a church and more statues were added of more modern religious icons. Tickets for the cave are available in the restaurant that sits above the cave.
This well preserved ruin is rumoured to be where knights and paladins congregated before heading off to the crusades. It was built in 6th century BC and built as a temple Devoted to Hera; the goddess of women and marriage. 15 Doric columns remain standing which is enough to still enjoy its original beauty.
Located in Scilla, this fortress has had many roles such as a castle, a lighthouse and a monastery and contains an old black boat which is called a Luntre; originally used for swordfishing but now is more of a museum piece rather than a working boat.
Shaped by the multiple civilisations that controlled it over time, Calabria has one or two stories to tell before the unification of its states.
The land of Calabria has had many groups residing in its region such as the Ottoman Empire, The Normans, and the Greeks. Not only has conflict and rule shaped the land; Mother Nature has had a hand in the shaping of Calabria too.
Romans ruled over Calabria for many years until the land was taken over by the Byzantines who then defended their land for many years against conflicts with The Ottoman Empire and the Lombards until 1000AD, where the Normans returned and took over the region – evidence of this is still seen today in the castles and villages that had been built during their rule.
Italy was eventually made up of different states that have different laws and rulers and was ruled for a brief period by Napoleon who, in 1802, renamed the area the Italian republic and then 3 years later; The Kingdom of Italy.
Italy then went through what is known as The Risorgimento; which means Resurgence. The Resurgence was when Italy unified its states and regions under one rule.
Italy is a country that varies in both its environment and the climate and this shows in the region of Calabria.
Coastal areas of Calabria boast a Mediterranean climate with low temperatures of around 8° Celsius in winter and average highs of 30° Celsius in summer, whereas inland areas have cold and snowy winters but warm dry summers.
The whole region of Calabria is a peninsula that stretches for 154 miles and only 64 mile wide. Nearly all the land is either mountainous or hilly and a very small percentage consists of plains; meaning many of the buildings, structures and even cities are built into or on top of mountains and hills.
Since the region is mostly mountainous, there are 3 main mountain ranges known as Pollino, La Sila, and Aspromonte.
Pollino Mountiains are the regions natural barrier that separate Calabria from Italy, they are rugged and partly covered in trees and vegetation.
La Sila stretches for almost 772 square miles among the central part of Calabria and has many lakes and contains some of the most dense forest areas in Italy. At the most southern tip of the Italian peninsula is the Aspromonte mountain range where the sea borders three sides of this range.
Italian culture is very interesting due to the diversity of each invading group in its history; this is the same for the region of Calabria. The region today is ever changing, with people coming from northern Africa and Albania.
The languages of Calabria vary from the different areas as with any country or region. Calabria in particular has an official national language of Italian but is derived from Latin and is closer to Latin rather than standard Italian language.
Religion is mostly Roman Catholic in Calabria apart from a very small presence of Jewish communities; where Jewish people have been a big part and influence of Calabrian culture and are said to be distinct among the different populations of Jews.
In western parts of Calabria there are communities of Evangelicals who believe in being “born again”; these communities are very small. The religions have shaped many of the buildings around Calabria such as the temples, churches and other places of worship.
Cuisine is another part of Calabria’s culture; which is typically southern Italian and Mediterranean cuisine that consists of meats such as pork, lamb and goat and also vegetables, like eggplant in particular.
The people of Calabria are major believers in preserving their food; this is down to the potential of crop failures and occurrence of natural disasters throughout the region’s history. Specialities from the region include Caciocavalo cheese, Cipollo rossi di tropea (Red onion), Frittulli and Curcuci (Fried Pork), and Pecorino Crotonese (Sheeps Cheese). In the past Calabria was often reffered to as Enotria which means “Land of Win”.
Although Calabria is the least developed region of Italy, this has some minor benefits such as the lack of pollution since there is a shortage of large cities. This makes the region a “Natural Paradise” and has become a popular tourist destination during summer; attracting many visitors from Italy and increasingly more foreign tourists.
There are a few seaside destinations in Calabria that are major hotspots for tourists, these are: Tropea, Cape Vaticano, Pizzo, Scilla, Diamante, Amantea, and Severato.
Consenza is one of the most important cities for tourism as it has many historical and artistic elements to its culture such as the castles, churches, galleries, monuments, statues, and historic centres.
Agriculturally rich, Calabria has the 2nd highest number of organic farmers and 70% of its tree crops are olive trees; the region is one of the biggest olive oil producers. Calabria is a producer of another crop, which is the Bergamot Orange that has been heavily cultivated since the 18th century exclusively to an area near Reggio due to the optimal growing conditions.
Recently Calabria has had some progress in manufacturing industries like petrochemical, engineering, and chemical within the provinces of Vibo Valentia, Reggio Calabria, and Crotone. This increase in job opportunities has been another factor in attacting overseas investors to purchase properties for sale in Calabria.