Is an Italian property with a sea view high on your property wish list? Or would you prefer a beautiful lake or countryside view. There are properties for sale in Italy surrounded by beautiful scenery, as picturesque as in a painting.
When a landscape painting can cost you thousands, consider how much a real view from your Italian home is worth. An amazing view can come at a premium, but what price can you put on a work of art that changes with the seasons and refreshes the soul. You may be surprised how reasonable the prices are. Here I have selected three very different towns, with three stunningly different views.
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Sanremo – A large town with sea views
Sanremo is located in north western Italy on the Ligurian coast, also known as the Italian Riviera of flowers. Now, how picturesque does that sound? Here the houses are stepped up the hillsides allowing many of the 55,000 residents and tourist guests to enjoy a panoramic view of the sea. There is always something to see and do around Sanremo, including refreshing winter walks along the promenade.
By the beach
If you are looking for a sea view a short distance from a beach, Sanremo has several to choose from including the beaches of Foce, Empress, Center Morgana, Tre Ponti and Bussana. Around Sanremo beaches are mainly golden sand and the seabed is gently shelved, making it ideal for less experienced swimmers.
Along the coast there are bathing establishments which offer the classic rental services for umbrellas, sunbeds and deck chairs. Many have a bar and restaurant service, with a lively nightlife. Despite being in the north and only 2 hours from a ski resort, Sanremo has a mild micro-climate, due to the mountains protecting the coast from cold northerly winds.
Sea views are not only popular from the Sanremo coast, many people also have yachts in one of the marinas, to enable them to also enjoy the views from the sea. Porto Turistico San Remo Portosole is the most centrally located and is also near a yacht club. The charming old harbour is called Porto Vecchio. Although quite small, you can find a few restaurants along the waters edge, where you can dine and view harbour life.
Buildings in Sanremo
From the harbour you can wander along the seafront and main boulevards into the town centre. In Corso degli Inglesi you’ll find many of the grand villas and gardens. The Tourist Office is in one of the most impressive buildings here and is called Palazzo di Riviera. Between the harbour and the tourist office you can also see the 17th century Santa Tecla Fort which dominates the centre of Sanremo.
In the western part of town the casino is one of the most well known buildings, due to its impressive Art Nouveau style. The adjacent Corso Matteotti is the main shopping street in San Remo. It is a very chic place to shop for fashion and the side streets have some excellent restaurants.
In contrast the medieval centre of the town has old narrow streets to explore. Known locally as La Pigna (translation: pinecone) this area of tall medieval houses clustered close together offer a village feel, which is so different to the grandeur of the luxury villas on the east of town.
Villas and Gardens of Sanremo
Among the imposing villas is the place where Alfred Nobel (founder of the Nobel prize) once lived, and another that was home to the composer Tchaikovsky. In Corso Felice Cavallotti just behind the port is a beautiful large garden called Giardini Nobel. Close by you can also meander through the gardens of Villa Ormond.
The village of San Remolo is only a few kilometres above the town to the north-west and has lovely views across Sanremo. Another unique place is Bussana Vecchia, a few kilometres to the north-east. This is an abandoned village that has now been taken over by a thriving community of artists and has a particular charm and character. Flower lovers will also like the nearby towns of Arma di Taggia, Bordighera and Ospedaletti, as they contribute to the cultivation of flowers for the international flower market of Sanremo.
Love flowers? Then you’ll love Sanremo
Sanremo is well known as the City of Flowers (la Città dei Fiori). The Flower Parade is something not to be missed. Every town of the Italian Riviera presents an original composition of flowers displayed on a carnival float. At other times of year you can visit the Flower Market, which is said to be the largest in Italy. Garden enthusiasts will also find several impressive semi-tropical botanical gardens to visit in the area.
Activities and Events
Sanremo entertains all year round. It is a town of art, culture, and sports, including fishing, diving, canoeing, wind surfing, and boating. On land you can enjoy golf, horse riding, swimming, and various fitness facilities. There is an excellent cycle path with a pedestrian walkway that goes all along the coast for about 25 kms.
The town hosts numerous events, such as the Milan–San Remo cycling classic. At the Ariston Theatre you can see concerts, operas and plays. The Sanremo Symphony Orchestra is one of twelve symphony orchestras recognized by the state of Italy, performing around a hundred and twenty concerts throughout the year.
The Ariston Theatre also hosts the celebrated annual Sanremo Music Festival, a very popular song contest held in the city since 1951. This festival inspired the Eurovision Song Contest, which started in 1956, and each year it is the Sanremo festival that selects the Italian entry.
Getting to San Remo
The closest airport to Sanremo is in France, the Côte d’Azur International Airport in Nice, 40 minutes away by car. At Nice airport, you can find taxis and car rental, or you can take a shuttle to the train station and then take a train to San Remo. There is also a direct coach to Italy, which stops at the Arma di Taggia – Sanremo East exit.
The Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport offers links to Rome Fiumicino Airport and to the main cities in Northern Europe. It’s about a 1 hour 10 minute drive from Genoa to Sanremo. From Genoa Airport a shuttle bus takes you to the Genoa Porta Principe railway station, from which you can easily reach San Remo by train. Genoa also runs a direct bus service that stops at the Arma di Taggia – Sanremo East exit.
Villanova d’Albenga Airport is only 20 minutes drive from San Remo. It has direct links with Fiumicino airport and with some other Italian and European airports.
Property in Sanremo
There are apartments with panoramic sea views for sale in San Remo, from €255,000. Often the penthouses will have roof terraces with wonderful sea views. However, large stylish villas with panoramic views and waterfront properties can cost over a million.
Orvieto – a town with countryside views
Orvieto is a pretty town on top of a rocky hill in Umbria. As you approach it seems amazing that people would build a church and some houses up there. However, you can imagine what a great vantage point it is and how amazing the countryside views are from the top. Magnificent green rolling hills as far as the eye can see.
Not a ghost town
When viewed from above its surprising how big an area the town actually covers. In addition, there are residential areas on lower ground too, with a hospital, shops and supermarkets. Its population is almost 21,000, so it’s definitely not a ghost town. The question is, do you want a to be in a hill top town with a view of the countryside, or a countryside house with a view of the hill top town?
The historic centre on the hill is an amazing place to live. Narrow cobble stone streets lead to a beautiful Duomo, which has wonderful artwork both inside and out. Orvieto has lovely medieval streets with charming shops selling authentic Italian souvenirs and ceramics, a craft that the town is famous for. Locals also shop at the weekly market and there is a friendly community feel.
An unexpected highlight for visitors is going underground, down under the city, into the rock. There are hundreds of caves and you can even climb down St Patrick’s Well (Pozzo di San Patrizio). Other attractions include Torre del Moro and the Palazzo del Popolo.
Orvieto was one of the most important cities in Etruscan culture. The Archaeological Museum offers a great opportunity to view Etruscan artifacts and to learn more about Etruscan history and their way of life.
Orvieto is designated as a “Cittaslow” (slow city), awarded to those cities that promote natural and traditional food, social cohesion, good hospitality, traditional crafts, cycle paths, green spaces, renewable energy, recycling and more, to result in a good slow quality of life for residents and visitors.
Getting to Orvieto
From Rome most of the route is motorway, so the drive time is only about one and a half hours. When flying in to Perugia airport you can drive to Orvieto in about 1 hour 10 minutes. Most visitors park at the bottom of the hill and take the funicular railway up, where a bus then takes you to the cathedral. Part of the historic centre is pedestrian only, which really gives an authentic feel of times gone by.
There is a train station in Orvieto, which is on a line between Rome and Florence. From Orvieto to Florence can take less than 2 hours. The fast train to Rome can take from 1 hour 20 minutes and costs as little as €8.60.
Property in Orvieto
Two bedroom properties in the historic centre of Orvieto can be found from €190,000 and farmhouses and villas in the countryside from €270,000. See our selection of Orvieto properties.
Menaggio – a town with lake views
The town of Menaggio is situated on the western shore of Lake Como in the region of Lombardy. A Stroll along Menaggio’s lovely lake side promenade offers stunning views of the lake and mountains and a revitalizing feeling of well-being. There are trees for shade and benches to sit on while appreciating the view. Some waterside homes have moorings and those in more elevated positions have panoramic views of the lake.
At Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi you can enjoy your morning coffee with views of the lake, before heading to the shops in Via Calvi. The historic centre has charming cobbled streets with a mixture of tourist shops, restaurants and cafes. The calming atmosphere is reflected in the warm colour palette of the buildings and the fresh fruit and vegetables on sale at the Friday market.
Population of Menaggio
The town of Menaggio consists of the main town and three hamlets. Loveno with it’s elegant villas, Nobiallo’s fishing village and the rural village of Croce. The grand villas and hotels of Menaggio date back to the 18th century when tourists first became enchanted by the landscape here.
There are around 3,200 permanent residents, 90% of which are Italian. However, over 77% of its many visitors are from abroad, so English is fairly widely spoken around Lake Como by people that deal with tourists. In 2018, a reported 1,370,000 visitors came to Lake Como, which was a significant 34.9% rise in numbers since 2013.
Activities in the area include walking, mountain biking and climbing. There are also water sports and an outdoor and indoor swimming pool at the Menaggio Lido. Golfers will love Menaggios exclusive 18 hole golf course. The elevated position of the golf course provides lovely views of the surrounding country side.
Getting to Menaggio
Flights from London to Milan Malpensa airport take less than two hours. Drive time from Milan Malpensa Airport to Menaggio takes about 1 hour 45 minutes. You can also fly to Milan Bergamo airport and drive to Menaggio in two hours.
Another pleasant way to travel without a car is to take the train from Malpensa airport to Como, then the take the ferry up the lake to Menaggio. The total journey takes about two and a half hours.
If you like a good train journey, you could you get the Eurostar from London to Paris, then on to Lugano via Zurich. It will take around 12 hours.
There are direct ferries between Menaggio and other lakeside towns Varenna and Bellagio, Menaggio being the quieter of the three. Menaggio old Town is about 10-minute walk from the ferry terminal. Head in the direction of the church steeple and you’ll easily find the town centre.
Property in Menaggio
A two bedroom property in Menaggio can cost from €138,000. Even further back from the shore you can find properties with lovely views. Examples of the types of property on offer can be found on the Menaggio property search page.