Thursday, October 15, 2009

Silvio Berlusconi Pledges That Work On The Messina Bridge Will Begin Soon

Silvio Berlusconi said that construction of the Messina bridge will begin between December this year and January 2010.

He quoted, "In December-January we will begin that great and fundamental piece of infrastructure for Sicily, which is the bridge on the Strait of Messina,"

When it is completed, it will be the longest suspension bridge in the world, at over 3.3 kilometres in length.

Berlusconi also commented that Italy must "wake up from a long sleep!" There have also been reports that he has set up a PR machine that will face head on any bad publicity in the International press.

If I was him I would also be concerned about his own profile globally - maybe he should tone things down a little!!

Updated Progress Photos From Palm View Site

Hello everybody, firstly I am sorry there have been so few posts of late but I seem to be speading myself a little to thin lately. We will continue to try our best to get regular updates from the Palm View site over the coming months, so you can all start to see some real progress on all of your respective apartments.

These pictures have been taken over the last few days and although really work had to stop in August there has been progress.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Calabria - Cheap Flights

Air Malta is extending its €39.50 special Sicily fares by offering €99 return including tax to Rome, Milan and Reggio.

This offer, the airline said, is valid for travel between November 5 and December 16 (tickets have to be issued by October 15); between January 8 and March 23 (tickets have to be issued by October 31); and between April 12 and July 10 (tickets have to be issued up to January 27).

Tickets from the airline’s office at MIA would be subject to an additional service fee of €10, while a fee of €5 would be levied on tickets from the airline’s call centre.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rocco Forte Opens 120m Euro Golf Resort in Sicily

Rocco Forte, the succesfull hotelier will finally open a golf resort in Sicily after an incredible 7 years of bureaucracy. Mr. Forte has a strong record in the hotel business and has since made huge successes of "the faded stars" within the luxury hotel sector, turning them into profitable establishments once again.

The Verdura Golf Spa & Resort will cover over 230 hectares and have a total of 203 rooms. The will be a total of four restaurants and 1.8km of its own private coastline. There will also be a massive spa.

He commented that he always wanted to do a golf resort, because he didn´t think anyone in Europe had got it right yet! This also illustrates that regardless how deep your pockets are, red tape can still take time to overcome in this region, the good news is that you can get there in the end.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Calabria Property Palm View Construction Pictures

For those of you who have purchased property in Palm View - Reggio Di Calabria here are some construction photos kindly supplied by the developer. These pictures were taken on 11th July.

We will continue to post these photos here as and when they come in.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Italy Tourism Minister Halts Rip-Offs

Michela Brambilla has made it clear she wants to stop the systematic fleecing of tourists in Italy. A recent incident regarding a Japanese couple being charged €700for a meal in Rome seems to be the catalyst for a new initiative to stop sharp practice within the many services industries involved with serving holiday makers.

She has announced the formation of a commission that will monitor the price across the sector and has given her assurance that it will stop the ridiculous rip-offs that unsuspecting travellers have to endure.

Perhaps the same idea might be employed in London!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reggio Di Calabria Records Highest Increase in Consumer Price Index

The consumer price index in Italy decreases from 0.9% in May to 0.5% in June. This is its lowest level for the inflation index since September 1968! The highest increases in the index were recorded in Trieste (+1%) and Reggio Calabria.

Source : The Italian National Institute of Statistics

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reggio Calabria Included in GO/Air Malta Collaboration

GO and Air Malta have teamed up to launch a great travel offer – Fly Two – exclusively for GO fixed phone post-paid customers. Fly Two gives these GO customers the chance to book the holiday of their dreams or travel for business on Air Malta flights to a range of 21 destinations. The offer covers two persons on a return basis at a cost of e199 which includes taxes, fuel surcharges and fees for both passengers travelling together for the entire journey.

The Fly Two offer is valid for travel to the following destinations: Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin, Birmingham, Budapest, Catania, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Istanbul, Leipzig, London Gatwick, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Paris, Reggio Calabria, Rome, Sofia, Vienna and Zurich.

Those interested in the exclusive travel offer may simply log on to and register their participation by filling in and submitting the form provided – after inputting GO in the reference field. They will automatically receive a confirmation to be presented at registration stage later on. All GO fixed phone post-paid customers will be receiving information on this offer with their bills.

Fly Two registration and ticketing will be done at the Air Malta sales office at the Malta International Airport and in Victoria up to 8 August. GO customers can utilise this offer and fly between 5 November, 2009 and 23 March, 2010 (excluding the blackout period 17 December, 2009 to 7 January, 2010).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Air Route - Reggio -Verona

Air Italy announced the new services from Verona-"Catullo" airport to Reggio. Flights will be on Tuesday and on Thursday starting from July 28 till September 3.

Bureaucracy Damages Progress for Reggio Airport

€4m is currently waiting to be invested into the development of new air routes.
The reason the money (from the Italian government) has not been allocated is bacause of something referred to as "Conference of the services". The governor of Calabria, Agazio Loiero, was supposed to call this in 2008 and until he does this money will remain dormant.

I really can´t understand why this hasn´t been done, as surely the region of Reggio Di Calabria and its businesses involved in tourism could do with added footflow.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bob Geldoff and Silvio Berlusconi

Further to my post on the heated meeting, here is the article published in The Times today -

Bob Geldof joined the Pope to turn up the pressure on Silvio Berlusconi yesterday with a strident attack on the Italian Prime Minister’s record on aid before this week’s G8 summit.

In a hard-hitting interview published yesterday, Geldof forced Mr Berlusconi to apologise for failing by a huge margin to meet his commitments on fighting poverty.

Shown figures by Geldof proving that Italy had cut aid after promising large increases, Mr Berlusconi said: “I am sorry, we made a mistake . . . Our Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti has made a commitment to readjust in line with our undertakings within three years.” The singer and antipoverty campaigner labelled Mr Berlusconi “Mr 3 Per Cent”, saying that he had delivered only 3 per cent of the aid that Italy pledged at the G8 meeting at Gleneagles in 2005, when Mr Berlusconi was last in office.

“How can you lead the G8? Where is your credibility?” asked Mr Geldof, who guest-edited La Stampa, the Turin daily, for a day. Mr Berlusconi admitted that Italy was “behind with its payments” but said that after Gleneagles he had been out of power for two and a half years, blaming the intervening Government of Romano Prodi and the financial crisis.

When Mr Berlusconi complained that he was being “attacked by the press, the Left and magistrates”, Geldof brushed it aside as irrelevant.

At Gleneagles, the G8 countries vowed to increase aid to Africa by at least $26 billion (£16 billion) by 2010, later revised downward to $21.8 billion.

A report by Geldof’s ONE campaign group last month said that Italy was trailing behind other G8 nations in aid to Africa, putting the whole group’s performance at risk.

Mario Calabresi, the Editor of La Stampa, said that the interview had been “like a boxing match”, and at some points he had expected either Mr Berlusconi or Geldof “to get up and walk out”. He said the Italian leader was suffering from chronic neck pain. The interview followed an open letter from Pope Benedict XVI to Mr Berlusconi on Saturday urging the G8 leaders, whose meeting starts on Wednesday, to “defend the poor”.

The pontiff appealed to them to “listen to the voice of Africa”, adding that the economic crisis meant there was a “real risk not only that hopes of emerging from extreme poverty will be dashed but that populations that have benefited from a minimum of material wellbeing will fall into poverty.

“I appeal to G8 member states to maintain and boost development aid, not in spite of the crisis but precisely because this is one of the main solutions to it,” the pontiff said. He is to publish an encyclical, the most authoritative document a pope can issue, on poverty and globalisation tomorrow.

He praised Mr Berlusconi’s decision to move the summit from Sardinia to L’Aquila after the April 6 earthquake in Abruzzo, however, saying that the relief efforts there served as an example of how to “face challenges”.

The Times

Two Great Restaurants in Reggio Di Calabria


Seafood - try the Antipasti caldi for starters followed by Risotto ai frutti di mare!

Il Fiore del Cappero

More seafood and everything is amazing.

via Zaleuco 7 I - 89125 Reggio Di Calabria
Tel: 0965 20955

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Silvio Berlusconi - Where is Your Credibilty

This question was put to the Italian Prime Minister by Bob Geldoff, "how can you lead the G8, here we have the signature of a country and the honor of a man," said Geldoff alluding to the dis-parity between promised and actual charitable donations from the Italian government for foreign aid.

Geldoff suggested that foreign aid was cut by €400m, " I am sorry we made a mistake" Mr berlusconi cites Italy's public debt mountain and the global economic crisis had forced it to cut spending cuts.

In fairness Italy has had enough heartache and tradgedy on its own shores will the horrific earthquake, but that did not ease geldoff´s line of questioning.

Ryanair - Standing Room only

The latest source of advanced cost cutting for Michael O´Leary and Ryanair is to look at the possibilty of standing passengers on its airline.

I kid you not, in an article published in The Times newspaper O´Leary heard about Spring Airlines, a chinese carrier looking into the possibilty of ultra-low price air travel. This plan apparently reduces costs by 20% and increases capacity by 40% by creating standing room on the aircraft and having no baggage, food or drinks. Like catching a bus!

Already checking out the feasablity with Boeing, the leader of Ryanair is reported to have said, "if I can get it past the Irish Aviation Authourity I will be doing it."

I have heard of Coach class and economy class, but I think cattle class is taking it too far.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Calabria Airports get €40 Million Investment

Operators of the airports in Calabria (Lamezia Terme, Reggio Calabria and Crotone) signed an agreement today, that will enable them to modernize and develop all three locations. The agreement includes a global investment of 40 million euros.

Said agreement aims to fund infrastructure, information technology, telecommunications for the control tower and weather forecasting facilities.
  • Reggio Calabria airport (550,000 passengers in 2008) will receive 16.7 million euros;
  • Lamezia Terme airport (1.5 million passengers) will receive 12.6 million euros;
  • Crotone airport (100,000 transits in 2008) will have 10.3 million euros.

There has already been funding to the tune of around €65 million.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Palm View Progress and New Artists Impression

We have now managed to start getting more images from the developer and as you can see above. I will be posting photos as and when I get them for you all to see. I know that many clients were getting concerned about when the project was going to start, but as you can see the plot has now been totally prepared for foundation works to commence.

The new project looks great and the footprint of the the structure sits far better on the plot , in my opinion.

Our company has been particularly busy in the Calabria region over the past month and there has been elevated interest in the area. Long may it continue.

I hope now this development will progress without event so that you can all sit on your terraces and enjoy your sea view with a G & T !

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Plans for Palm View

We have just found out there are new plans for the Palm View development in Brancaleone. There will now only be one block consisting of 16 apartments, as only this amount of apartments were sold.

The developer has told us that each unit will remain the same as originally promised and even the original apartment numbers. Also because the size of the development has been greatly reduced, the completion date should still be December 2009.

Please note you should contact your lawyer regarding the legal implications of a change in the project.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Reggio to Salerno Motorway Contract Awarded

A group led by the Italian Maire Tecnimont has been awarded a 400 million-euro motorway contract in Calabria.

Maire Tecnimont, who has approximately 200 million euros of the proposed work, said in a statement the group would be responsible for building 20.5 kilometre section of a motorway between Salerno and Reggio Calabria.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Palm View - Site Work Begins

Work on the Palm View project has begun. There have been adverse weather conditions that initially delayed the start date, but now it is all systems go for this development.

I hope to be producing photos as often as possible on this blog.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More Blue Flag Beaches in Italy

The total number of Italian beaches that have achieved the Blue Flag accolade has grown again. The announcement was made by the International Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) on Wednesday.

The region now has 227 resorts that have been successful in passing the FEE's tests for water and sand quality, that is 12 more than the previous year.

Now Italy is number 5 behind Spain and Greece, both of these countries having over 400 each, France and Turkey have 200. There are now 113 environmentally highly ranked beaches in Italy.

Sicily, Calabria and Lazio all gained one to stand on 4 while Friuli and Sardinia claimed two as in 2008.

The factors that are accessable are water quality, environmental information and safety, cleanliness, provisions for waste and recycling and strict zoning of different beach activities.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wind Farm Deal Signed and Sealed

Enel Green Power finally signed the agreement with Eurus Energy Europe enabling them to obtain control of 50% of wind power projects being developed at sites in the Calabria region.

Enel Green Power boss Francesco Starace stated, "The construction of these wind facilities will significantly increase the installed wind power capacity of Enel Green Power in Italy. At the end of 2008, Enel Green Power's installed wind power capacity in Italy had risen to 380 MW. "

This finalizes the San Sostenne wind farm I mentioned in my earlier post.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Keep an Eye on The Euro This Week

The European Central bank is widely expected to reduce interest rates to a record low this week. The Euro is currently weakening because of this so it may be a good time to buy the currency.
Keep your eyes peeled on the rates as there may be some other measures take by the ECB that may further weaken the currency initially.

Rick Stein in Puglia and Sicily

Rick Steins tour of Europe found him visiting a fish market in Sicily and touring and experiencing some real culinary delights in Puglia.

In typical fashion he described the region as "like Spain before the tourism" and clearly loves the place as he has been on holiday there for the last three years! The rustic simple cuisine he showed us is what I love about Southern Italy.

I particularly enjoyed the time he spent with the Mcalpine family who owned the convent hotel and restaurant, Mr. Mcalpine had been brought up in The Dorchester, so he knew a thing or two about food, but decided simplicity and the warm sun of southern Italy was where he most wanted to be.

Increase in Searches for Calabria property

Checking Google advertising statistics it shows on average 6600 monthly searches are being performed on Calabria property. Given the uncertain economic climate it shows that globally people are perhaps looking past the recession.

We have noticed a considerable upturn in enquiries from the Scandanavian and Russian markets, both of whom give competitive pricing as a reason to look into the Calabria property market.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Calabria property Purchasing From a Non-Eu Country

Given the increased level of purchasers from outside the EU I thought I would give a brief insight into residence permit -

Non-EU citizens who wish to stay in Italy for more than 90 days must apply for a residence permit (“permesso di soggiorno”), issued by the District Headquarters of the Police of State (“Questura”). Staying in Italy without such authorization may result in the immediate deportation from the Italian territory.
The residency permit issued by Italy also allows the non-EU citizen to stay in all the other EU countries (with the exception of United Kingdom) for a maximum period of
90 days without any need of visa issued by such countries.

Yearly, the Italian government sets out immigration quotas divided per country of origin and type of residency permit. An average of 150.000-200.000 residency permits
are issued every year (last year over 700.000 applications were made).

In order to obtain the residency permit, the non-EU citizen must fulfil two crucial conditions:

1) he must have a job in Italy granting him and his family (should he wish to have
his family in Italy as well) adequate economical resources;

2) he must have the availability of a adequate lodging on the Italian territory.
In light of the above, non-EU citizens owning properties in Italy cannot apply for a residency permit adducing this sole reason.

A specific type of residency permit (choice of residency permit: “permesso di soggiorno per residenza elettiva”) may be issued should the non-EU citizen be able to prove the availability of ample economical resources coming from properties rentals, pensions,etc.

In such case the condition of having a job in Italy is not required.

Moreover, this type of residency permit is very difficult to obtain, due to the wide discretion that Italian authorities have in the assessing of the economical resources of the applier.
On the other hand, it is possible to get the residency permit in Italy taking advantage of certain Italian immigration rules favouring foreign companies in doing business in Italy. The quotas rule explained above does not apply to this type of residency permit.

The applicant should be employed by a foreign company, which will grant him a salary
and an adequate lodging. Depending on how high the salary granted is, even the
spouse and the relatives of the applicant may apply for this type of residency permit.

The first step to take is the incorporation of a foreign company. Strongly recommendable for that purpose is the UK Limited Liability Company (LTD), due to its strong reputation worldwide and its management flexibility.

The following activities should be carried out:

a) incorporation of the company (chosing case by case the best option in terms
of name of shareowners); it is understood the applicant should have the full
control of such a company;

b) appointment of a nominee director, acting on behalf of the company through a
power of attorney;

c) management of the company and drafting of the annual balance;

d) drafting of the “apostille”, giving legal effect abroad to the relevant documents
of the company;

e) drafting of the employment contract between the company and the applicant.
The second step to take is the registration of the foreign company in Italy and the registration of the employment contract to the competent Employment Office.
The following activities should be carried out:

a) registering the company at the competent Chamber of Commerce, appointing a fiscal representative on Italian territory;

b) applying for the registration of the employment contract to the competent Employment Office;
c) looking after all the legal and fiscal duties connected to the presence of a foreign company in Italy.

After that, the due documentation will be submitted to the competent Italian Consulate, so that the applicant will be able to apply there for the entry visa. The Italian Consulate will issue a employment visa, allowing the Non-EU citizen to enter in Italy and to apply for the residency permit.

In this further step the activities to be carried out will be as follows:

a) drafting of the applications required for the issuing of the residency permit;

b) finding a suitable lodging in Italy.

The foreseen timing for the completion of the whole procedure will be six-seven

Once the applicant has obtained the first residency permit (whose length is connected
to the length of the employment contract granted by the foreign company: usually 1 or
2 years), he has the right to obtain its renewal.
After 5 years of residency permit, the applicant has the right to apply for a “long duration residency permit”, which, unlike the “basic” one, does not need to be renewed.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Amantea - One of the Prettiest Towns in Calabria

Amantea has such appeal, situated on the Tyrrhenian coast within the area of Cosenza this should surely be regarded at one of the premier Calabrian seaside towns.

Amantea also has real natural beauty, its aesthetic charm and its beautiful architecture make sure that its one of the most visited areas within Calabria. There are many interesting sights to see including the Jesuit college, and the cathedral of S.Biagio.

Amantea is regarded as one of Calabrias' best towns for fishing and is famous for its anchovies and sardines.

Check out the Oasi Blu dell'Ischia, this is a stretch of the red sea bed that rises to become two 800 metre columns.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Calabria Property - What Happens When You Complete and Go to Deed?

It is important to clarify that the preliminary sale agreement is not to transfer the property (which actually does not exist yet ) , but only to create a reciprocal obligation between buyer and developer / vendor . The property will be transferred at the signing of the deed of sale.

The deed of sale ( “ rogi to” ) is the agreement through which the property , once completed, is transferred to the buyer . It must be drafted by a Notary , a public officer acting on behalf of the state and in the interest of both the parties.

Once signed, the deed of sale will be handed over to both the parties and registered at the “Conservatoria dei Registri Immobiliari ” ( the competent Registry ) , while a further copy will be stored in the Notary’s archive. The deed of sale will prove the ownership of the property.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

San Sostene - Extension to Wind Farm

The wind farm currently operational in San Sostene, Catanzaro is having a further 15 turbines added.

Nordex, the company responsible for the extension to the site has already started work and envisages completion by July 2009. When completed the site will provide "clean" energy for 20,000 local homes annually.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Goodbye Joyriders in Calabria!

This Lambourghini Gallardo is the latest policecar patroling the Salerno-Reggio di Calabria highway. This car is capable of 192Mph!

I wonder if these cars were used in England, would joyriders still try and get involved in chases.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Silvo Berlusconi - Further Gaffes

Mr. Berlusconi seems to have a penchant for insensitive comments. As we know the recent earthquake and subsequent aftershock have left thousands of people without their homes. He commented that the homeless people, now living in makeshift tents, should regard this as a "camping trip".

There seems to be little interlocutor between his brain and his mouth, at a time when people are having to deal with both physical and emotional loss.

Restaurant Piazza Mazzini - Filippino Lipari

Further on from my previous post on the Aeolian Island of Lipari I thought I would give you details of an exceptional restaurant for you to enjoy whilst you are there.

Please don´t pay any attention to the look of the poor signage or 80´s decor,as you will be truly amazed by the delicious food on offer.

Word on the street has it that this is a favourite of none other than Sting!

Please note this restaurant is closed from middle November to late December.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Blurred Perception of Who Does What

I did a post a couple of months ago entitled who does what, that gave you some insight into how the sale of international property generally works.

There still seems to be a misunderstanding of what a developer is and what roles a master agent/promoter are responsible for.

Another Clarification of Roles

A developer sources and purchases the plot, ensures it has the correct zoning for the type of structure they intend to build. Employment of an architect, a project manager and then all the relevant sub-contractors that get the building up.

The developer very rarely sells a project directly to the public, as their skill set isn´t generally that of a marketer. Promoters and Master agents have a clear understanding of what literature and marketing materials buyers need in order to make a qualified decision about purchasing. A master agent will then recruit real estate agents to sell the development directly to the general public.

I know I have posted on this subject before, but the process seems to be confused and I think purchasers have the right to know specifically where the responsibilty falls on each stage of the overseas purchase process.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Barack Obama Quoting Monk From Calabria

Mr Obama had quoted a medieval monk named Gioacchinoda Fiore, from Cosenza, who was the founder of the monastic order of San Giovanni in Fiore three times during his Presidential campaign.

Barack Obama cited the monk as "a moral authority and visionary".

Italian reports said officials have invited Mr Obama to the abbey of San Giovanni in Fiore, where Gioacchinoda Fiore is buried, the offer also extended to making President an honorary citizen of the local town.

"We are ready to welcome Obama," Antonio Nicoletti, the mayor of San Giovanni in Fiore, said.

Source: The Times

Give Your Rental Property a Unique Selling Point

Everyone should know the cheapest and best from of advertising is word of mouth. If somebody rents your apartment and has a fabulous time they may tell two people - guess where those two people will stay if they fancy a holiday in Calabria.

Conversely they will tell a lot more people if they have a bad exèrience, just because thats how human nature works. As Warren Buffet says "it takes years to build a reputation and seconds to destroy it."

Think of ways that will make your apartment stand head and shoulders above the competition.

The first step is how they pick up the keys, think back to previous holidays you have had where you you have worried about how easy everything is going to be when you arrive at your destination. Ensure this part of your tenants experience is seamless and unambiguous.

Leave some local wine/produce and a welcome basket for your guests upon their arrival, include easily understandable local information such as good restaurants, bars etc. Start a guest book, encouraging people to leave information good and bad about local services.

Make sure you are contactable for your renters!

Have a look at this website that is geared wholly towards property rental.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Over 40000 Jobs to be Created in Reggio Di Calabria

Public Works Minister, Altero Matteoli claims that through the construction of the Messina Straits bridge and additional road works 40,000 jobs will be created.

The government's economic committee (CIPE) met and approved €17.8 Billion in funds to assist in infrastructure and development, including much needed road links from northern Italy and a long-delayed highway extension between Salerno and Reggio Calabria.

Regardless of all the current economic woes, given the significant funding for infrastructure and the planned landmark buildings between 2010-2016, massive improvments will be taking place within the Reggio region. When completed there will be hugely increased worldwide visibiliy for the area, that will greatly benefit homeowners in Calabria. Unfortunately there will continue to be growing pains along the way, but over the long term Calabria will start to gain some parity with the north.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Banks Starting to Lend Slowly but Surely

Sometimes, as you know I like to deviate from the Calabria property market occasionally and because of some mildly cheerful economic news I thought I would today.

For the first time in 16 months there has been a slight house price rise in the UK!

Ok, before we all start jumping around with excitement Nationwide released figures, documenting average house prices have risen a whopping 0.9% in March from February.

This I feel can be directly attributed to the slow easing of banks lending again and this will slowly but surely be an upward trend as they start to relax further.

The G20 summit should have further positive impact on overall economic confidence, but until the decisions arrived at have been documented just how much benefit remains to be seen.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Visit Lipari the Biggest of the Aeolian Islands

Lipari is the "capital"of the Aeolian Islands and gets the most attention from tourists during the summer months and therefore as a result can get pretty crowded. This charming place is dominated by Mount Chirica. A pretty small island by anyones standards being only 10 km long and about 5 km wide!
The town has a reconstructed Norman church and archaeological museum nearby. Definitely worth a journey for a true snapshot of how things were in simpler times.

There is a hydrofoil that will take you to there and I have included the link below that will give the the departure times from Reggio.

Please note during the winter timetable (up until 1st June) the return boat isn´t until the following day. The service is pretty regular during the summer, to facilitate the number of visitors.

Bank Guarantees

Some facts about the much talked about bank guarantee

• The guarantee is mandatory and included in the purchase price : a preliminary sale agreement which does not come with this bond is viod, the developer cannot charge you in addition for this.

• The guarantee must be issued by a bank / insurance company licensed for this purpose by theThe payment of the deposit and the guarantee

• The guarantee should registered at a specific Registry held by the Bançk of Italy

• The guarantee must cover all the sums paid by the buyer to the developer until the signing of the deed of sale

• The guarantee covers the event of developer’ s bankruptcy or financial crisis

• The guarantee must contain a clause stating that , should the developer go bankrupt , the insuring company shall pay the due sums within 30 days directly to the buyer , without any prior need of legal action against the developer for the recovering of the sums.

All the above criteria need to be fullfilled and if they are not the preliminary contract is void.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What Should my Preliminary Contract Contain

Although this post doesn´t constitute legal advise, it will give you a guideline as to what to expect within the private contract.

• detailed cadastrale description of the land;

• ownership of the land and related title deed( s ) ;

• good standing of the land (mortgages and any
other legal burden have to be fully detailed, i f
a n y ) ;

• planning authorizations issued ;

• duration of the building works and exact time
when the property will be finished, transferred
and handed over.

Any contract must therefore contain the following annexes :

• a plan of the entire development ;
• a plan of the single building unit ;
• a detailed description of the building specifications , which the developer should carefully follow during the building works .

The above would be regarded the basic structure you should look out for in all preliminary contracts.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Worlds Biggest Black Coral Reef Discovered in Calabria

The largest forest of black coral has been found off Calabrian shores.

Marine biologists made the discovery close to the Scilla region, overlooking the Straits of Messina.

''This is the first time these rare and protected species have been observed and studied in their natural habitat thanks to the sophisticated robot,'' said project chief Simonepietro Canese.

Calabria's marine diversity is currently subject to a survey and will continue next year.

Source :Ansa

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AirFrance-KLM complete 25% purchase of Alitalia

The deal has been concluded today at a cost of €323 Millions, this will further increase their access to the Italian domestic routes Alitalia currently have, helped by their recent acquisition of Air One.

Lets hope that they address the cost of some of their internal flights!

Press Articles for Calabria Property

There have been two articles giving some negative feedback on some Calabria property developments within the space of three weeks.

Most of the projects that both articles refer to,I cannot give insight into, as we do not work with company who promoted them.

Jewel of the Sea is a project that we have offered, although it was only the front line beach phase and we have just been informed that VFI are withdrawing from further promotion of this development. Until we hear the official story we will not be offering this project until further notice.

I have questioned two lawyers within the region about environmental issues hindering the construction progress and there is little or no knowledge of this and no official statement given. I had hoped to get to Calabria this month, to try and clarify the situation personally but have had to postpone the trip.

I really don´t want to speculate until I am in possession of all the facts, then I will relay them to you in an honest and straightforward fashion. Communication is key in the current environment and although this can take time please be sure that I will always do my best to pass on relevant information.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Former Italcitrus plant in Reggio Calabria will House Futuristic New Complex.

Architects AKA, a Rome company, have just been successful in an architecture competition with their proposal entitled "Digital Origami".

The complex will house television and audio-visual production facilities, as well as exhibition spaces for temporary installations and film festivals.
The project involves restoring four of the six existing buildings, demolishing the other two and construction a new, semicircular building with a piazza at its centre.

The competition was announced on April 2008 with the submission deadline on September 2008, the jury decision was publicly announced on March 2009.

The project contract is foreseen to be held near the end of 2009. The construction timeline stands on 18 months.

Organizers: Reggio Calabria local authority.
Development cost: 6.650.000 €
Area: 10.200 sq m

Source : Dezeen

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ryanair Article From The Times Newspaper

For those of you who missed the article " 20 reasons not ro fly Ryanir" yesterday in The Times here it is...........

1. 1p flights are never 1p

Even if you strike it lucky and find a 1p flight you actually want to take, Ryanair charge you for the pleasure of paying for it. To the tune of £4.75. For each passenger. Each way.
And that doesn’t even include

2. The check-in charge

If you want to book a bag into the aircraft hold you must check in at the airport, which will cost you £4.75 per passenger, per way, if you book online and a whopping £10 per passenger, per way if you pay at the airport or over the phone. And it doesn’t matter if only one person in your party takes a bag, everyone else still has to pay to check in at the airport too.
This week Ryanair announced that it’s all change from May when airport check in will rocket to £20 per person, per way. That is a grand total of £160 for a return flight as a family of four.
All without factoring in…

3. The baggage charge

Which is an extortionate £9.50 per bag, per flight. Or £19 if you book at the airport or over the phone.

4. The sneaky weight limit

Ryanair set its weight limit for hold luggage at 15kg catching the majority of passengers off guard.
You’re not allowed to pool bags either so, even if you have a party of four sharing luggage, if the bag weighs 16kg you will be charged £14 per additional kilo. Nevermind that it makes not a jot of difference to the weight of the aeroplane.

5. Queues glorious queues

If you’re still talking to your partner following the inevitable blazing row about why you shouldn’t just pay the bloody charges listed above, you won’t be after being told to join the back of the enormous queue at the ‘payments’ desk.

6. The additional baggage charge

Probably best to wear all of your clothes at once on the flight if you are travelling somewhere for more than a couple of days (until Ryanair start charging passengers for excess body weight that is). Check more than one bag in and it will cost you another £19 per extra piece of luggage, per way.

7. The website is rubbish. On purpose.

You have no choice but to book a Ryanair flight through its website so the airline may as well make it as stressful an experience as possible. The website is ugly for starters, and it crashes. All the time.
Because you can’t easily browse for dates when cheap flights are available you have to dedicate at least five precious hours of your life to sitting in front of the screen and laboriously trying different combinations to find a good deal.
And if you don’t understand what the hell you’ve just pressed there is no one to e-mail. Because Ryanair want you to spend more money and phone its…

8. Premium rate internet helpline

Calls cost £1 a minute to speak to someone in a call centre. Be amazed if you can explain what your problem is for under a fiver.

9. You can only fly cheap mid week

To get the bargains that make the pain of Ryanair worth the gain you have to be prepared to fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, which can rule out the bargain European weekend break. Kind of why you wanted to book with Ryanair in the first place.

10. You have to travel at obscene hours.

Not only are you travelling on a Tuesday you also have to be prepared to wake up at 2am to get to the airport two hours ahead of your 6.55am flight. Or, if you choose a more civilised evening departure time, arrive in your destination at midnight with no where to stay because…

11. The destination airports are in the middle of nowhere.

Don’t expect to fly to Frankfurt if you book a flight to Frankfurt, to name one of many examples. Frankfurt Hahn airport where Ryanair land is 120 km from the city centre.

12. A bottle of water on board costs £3

I know the moral of this story is to buy a drink from WH Smith before you board, but it’s still annoying.

13. Sweaty, plasticky seats

Whatever you do, don’t wear shorts or you might be stuck to your seat forever and forced to listen to…

14. The in-flight musak

Pray that your flight is not delayed before it takes off or you’ll have to put up with the bleepy, computer-game inspired musak that is played on loop as your board, over, and over.
15. The fanfare

Do we really need the shrill fanfare that sounds when/if the flight lands on time? Or does it just ruin the first three minutes of each passenger's holiday?

16. You can’t book a seat

As if the British holiday ritual of crowding round the baggage carousel isn’t enough to warrant the use of blood-thinning medication, Ryanair invite you to partake in the extreme sport that is racing across the tarmac to get a seat next to your companion. Flip flops are a distinct disadvantage.

17. No refunds, ever Unless you have a spare few days to waste do not even bother trying.

18. Poor compensation

A report by the UK’s Air Transport Users Council has found that the world’s airlines lost more than one million bags in 2007 and more than 42 million pieces of luggage were mishandled worldwide.
Guess who it named as the worst airline for compensation if your bag goes missing or is damaged?

19. You are always being flogged stuff

No we don't want your ridiculously overpriced travel insurance, car hire or Ryanair tea-towels. Go away.

20. Michael O’Leary himself
Don't tell me you can bear to make him any more smug?

Somehow I think the journalist responsible for this has an axe to grind with said company!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Calabria Property - When its Time to Sell!

Ok, you are probably thinking why would someone who owns a real estate company be giving me this advice?

Simple. This is something that more and more people are doing, I am not going to pontificate to you about how using an agent is the only way to go, because truthfully it isn´t. You have a choice,in fact most people who try and sell their property privately will use an agent in conjunction with their own efforts, don´t forget the bigger the audience the better the chance of you selling.

Anyway, that's enough of me trying to explain why I´m offering advice, here is some information that will help you -

Selling Your Calabria Property

A real estate agents role consists of advertising property;

  • advising on value
  • taking good photos of the property
  • writing a good honest description
  • co-ordinate and conduct viewing and deal with offers.

Now I´m sure none of the above activities are beyond any of you reading this blog.

Advertising Your Property in Calabria Online

Online marketing for property is growing at such a rapid rate, that getting your property out to the masses has never been easier, so this is way you are going to go.

There are many online services you can choose to sell them privately and I´m not going to advertise any of them here.I think it is better if you do some research yourself , as I described for rental companies, use some phrases on Google search that people would type in if looking for a property. Ie Calabria property, property in Calabria etc.


  • Get good clear photographs of your property
  • Think of all the benefits and list them
  • Establish a fair price by market comparison
  • Choose a good property portal that shows high up in Google for selected key words
  • Check terms and conditions and how you are billed from the portal
  • Arrange a key holding service to show prospective clients if you are not there
  • Make sure you have a good lawyer who can draw up contracts
  • Negotiate offers hard, its your money!

I know many people who have employed this method, with varying degrees of success so it does work.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Alitalia Special Offers

Alitalia are running a special promotion on specific Italian and European destinations, Reggio Dello Stretto is included, so keep your eyes peeled for flight bargains. The offer is between 29th March and 20th September 2009.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Company Flying Rome - Lamezia

Blue Express ( )is operating a new connecting service from Rome Fiumicino to Lamezia 6 days per week.

For the initial launch they are offering 2000 tickets at heavily discounted rates (around Euros 24.99!).

Increased accessibilty is good news for everybody, lets hope we see more airlines following.

Google Statistics

I did a little research on Google to find out how many people are showing an interest in property in Calabria.

Over the last year there have been approximately 4400 searches per month for the phrase "Calabria property" typed into Google, with the highest month being April last year.

The reason I have included this is for those of you who bought property in Calabria for investment purposes, even though the market has softened considerably, there is still a healthy interest within the region.

I will include rental search statistics in my next post, as we are starting to enter the time of year where if you have a completed property you need to start getting it out there if you want some summer rental income.

The above figures are taken directly from Google Adwords and although they are not 100% accurate they give a good guideline of appetite for any given market.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Economic Cycles

Although this is not directly related to Calabria, I am reading a book published in 1937, called Investment for Appreciation by Lawrence Angas.

There is a section that outlines economic cycles and includes the sequence :

  • Revival
  • Prosperity
  • Boom and Credit Crisis
  • Collapse
  • Recession and Repeat Cycle

It shows that the current pattern of events and economic news are a piece in a jigsaw that repeats itself again and again.

We are currently in the recession stage of the cycle, so lets see how long it takes to get to Revival!

Calabria Property Snagging

For the uninitiated "snagging" is where you examine your newly finished property before delivery and create an inventory of faults, poor workmanship etc, to be corrected.

This stage is crucial, as if its not done properly you could be spending money down the line to fix things that could have been rectified by the developer.

I have included the basics here (the list could be bigger, but I have included the essentials) so you have a cursory understanding of what should be checked, although professional help is advisable if you are unsure or this is totally alien to you.

  • Check services, fixtures and the building internally and externally.
  • Check electricity supply
  • Water, turn on the taps, flush toilets
  • Check your white goods (cookers, fridges etc).
  • Ensure sockets and switches are straight and flush with the wall
  • Study your paint work.
  • Make sure your floors are level
  • Check floor tiles/for scratching
  • Look for possible leaks and damp patches
  • Check mirrors for scratches
  • Any cracks in plasterwork
  • Always check in daylight hours, preferably on a sunny day, as that really shows up poor workmanship.

After you have checked all your rooms, draw up a list of incomplete work or things that you are not happy with, then ensure the builder gets the list (probably through your lawyer) also make sure there is an agreed timescale for the work.

Never ever feel pressured to sign off until you are 100% happy that your requests have been met.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Somewhere to Eat After Your Flight into Lamezia

Strangely enough if you did not feel like the curly sandwiches on offer on your flight to Lemezia, don' t worry because close to the airport you have the Bufalé Café ( Commerciale Due Mare, Maida).

Great Pizzas, fast service for the price of a Burger King.

Michael Oleary Promise = 107,000 Free Ryanair Flights

Michael O'Leary of Ryanair made a promise of free flights, linked to the performance of Airlingus of which they own 29%.

Figures released today by Airlingus mean that Ryanair should be giving away 107,000 free flights!

Maybe the money will be made back by the £1 per toilet visit business model he wants to employ.

Source : Bloomberg

Monday, March 9, 2009

Trying to get an Accurate Average Price per SQ. Metre in Calabria

I have been trying to get a proper average price per M2 in the Calabria region for my clients and myself for some time. did a great survey and produced the value of advertised property which I posted previously.

The Global Property Guide produced a survey similar to that of Italy Mag, however the figure of Euro 7054 per metre was a snapshot of capital city living, rather than the emerging Southern Italy.

Nomisma publishes average prices for some areas, semi-annually and has done since December 1990, but not for Calabria! Il Consulente Immobiliare have actual transaction statistics but the information isn't easily obtainable.

We have already done a calculation of this for our clients on the majority of licenced projects in the region, but am looking to produce a "total" guide as soon as I can.

"Yes, There is a Recession, But its Not Tragic"

The omnipotent Silvio Berlusconi (Italian Prime Minister and the person who made the above quote) seems bullish about his goals for Southern Italy and Sicily, after wanting to push on with the Messina Straits bridge construction.

Mr. Berlusconi is the richest man in Italy, and knows a thing or two about making money. He has been involved in property development along with several other businesses that help contribute to his billionaire status.

The new centre left Democratic party leader Dario Franceshcini commented that Mr. Berlusconi "sits in his golden bunker and has no idea what ordinary people are going through".

Of course we are in a recession at the moment, but in my mind positive thinking and action is what will get us through, as history demonstrates. Although Mr. Berlusconi isn't in a position to feel the financial pain many are experiencing, at least he is pursuing a venture that will help the Southern Italy economy immeasurably for years to come and shows his commitment to bringing parity between the North and South.

A contributing factor to the current climate is undoubtedly consumer sentiment and until that returns, we won't see an upturn in the economy.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Special Treat in Crotone

For those of you who love top class food, Ristorante La Sosta di Marcello in Crotone is one of the best restaurants in the Calabria region.

Really exceptional food here and critically acclaimed.

I have included the link below for you to have a look at. A word of warning - this place isn't cheap, but if you have a special occasion its well worth the price and the journey!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mortgages in Calabria

I know many of you will be looking into what mortgages are available currently and in a previous post I gave you an idea of cost. Following on from that I thought I would give you a brief synopsis of the requirements and a basic outline of whats available. I will be going into this in more detail over the coming weeks.

Mortgage Criteria
Mortgages will be in Euros and are secured against property. Mortgages in Italy are full status, so you will need to demonstrate income.
80% of the purchase price is the maximum available. Italian lenders look at how easily you can meet your monthly payments, as a guideline, your outgoings as well as your repayments on your new mortgage should not exceed 35% of your gross monthly income.Rental income you receive can also be considered.

Available Mortgages
You can mortgage both new and old property. The property must be registered at the land registry and be deemed habitable. Please note that the criteria for ‘habitable’is set by the local authorities and without this certificate a mortgage will be refused.

Types of mortgages available
Both interest-only and repayment mortgages are available, on a variable or fixed-rate basis, or a combination of both.
Terms can be from 5 to 40 years, however loans must be repaid by the age of 85.

Here is what you will need to produce proof of -
identity & residenceincome & outgoingsBank statementsProperty details

How long will it take?
An agreement in principle can take approximately five working days. However, for loan amounts in excess of €750,000 this may take longer.

Life Assurance
Not compulsory in Italy

Building insurance
The lender will insist you take this out with their recommended provider, look into the specifics it covers, because it will usually cover the absolute minimum

Italian Bank Account
You will need to open an Italian bank account , from which your mortgage repayments will be debited.
Keep checking for more information on mortgages in Calabria, or simply add your email address at the right to get posts each time they are issued and remember do your research before proceeding with any financial product.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Role of an International Real Estate Company

I have been thinking carefully about this subject for some time, having been operating within the industry for years, I find it really sad reading some of the stories posted on many of the forums. Many purchasers are left in the dark during the construction process and in some cases as soon as their deposit is paid.

I don´t want to appear like I´m preaching, but this business requires more than that of your local estate agent in England.

There currently seems to be concern on some of the forums about delays on various projects, this is really annoying for you all and I appreciate that. What I think seems to be more annoying (correct me if I am wrong) is lack of clear information on why.

Correct information can be difficult to obtain, especially when different languages and cultures are involved, but I do think it is up to the selling agent to push for answers, rather the buyer.

Through my experience I can´t think of any international development in an emerging market that has finished exactly on time and although I am far from complacent about this, there are a whole host of dynamics that have adverse effects on the stated completion times eg. weather, issues with subcontractors etc.

What I will add is that although it may take time I WILL get answers for my clients to most questions they pose and hope that they feel they can trust us to do so, rather than waste their own time going around in circles!

What I do find sad, is that many clients end up looking to agents who do provide clear information as they aren´t getting any from the company they originally signed up with.
On a positive note the current economic climate will ensure only the those who deliver great service will survive, removing shoddy operators and leaving the companies willing to go that extra mile.

Good news for the property industry and for you, the client.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Euro Weakens as Jean- Claude Trichet Comments

The European Central Bank alluded to further rate cuts, leading to the Euro weakening. If you are needing to buy Euros keep an eye out for more announcements from Mr. Trichet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rightmove Warn of Scam

Hello to you all.

I thought this press release, detailing a current scam, was relevant to everyone owning a property overseas - I have included the article below.

Rightmove has warned owners of homes overseas to be wary of companies offering to buy their properties. The property portal has become aware that some companies are approaching owners currently selling their properties and are claiming to be associated with Rightmove's overseas division, Rightmove Overseas.

Rightmove Overseas deals directly with property advertisers and has no relationships with companies that purchase property from vendors, the online property advertiser has said. Rightmove currently has relationships with just two companies:, which is part of the Rightmove Group, and The Rightmove Abroad.

Neither of these two companies would offer to buy property abroad.Head of overseas at Rightmove, Robin Wilson, said: "We gather that certain companies are contacting vendors, usually via another website they are advertising on. They imply they are commercially associated with Rightmove and tell the vendor that they represent large investors who can make an offer on the property."The companies operate a scheme, which Wilson describes as being "too good to be true": "

They explain that they already have the funds available to purchase the property outright, but the vendor must pay a security bond, typically one per cent of the property value, in order to release a 10 per cent deposit."Rightmove Overseas is warning its customers to be aware of potential scams.

The company is particularly concerned that in this case the Rightmove name is being used to imply credibility. Wilson clarified Rightmove's stance on overseas property purchases: "Rightmove Overseas only markets properties for sale from our advertisers. We don't get involved in any transactions with companies offering to buy overseas properties and are categorically not engaged with, intending to acquire or looking to partner with anyone operating like this."Anyone who receives a communication from companies claiming to be affiliated with Rightmove should check that emails come from an address ending in

If consumers have any suspicions they should contact Rightmove Overseas.

Source: HolidayLettings

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Wrong Way to Value a Property

Having been working within the international property industry for years, I have seen many things, from ridiculous capital growth projections, sky high rental promises to plain unprofessional conduct.

The problem with any sort of prediction is you can´t really use previous years growth or performance to predict what you will get in the future ( I sound like my stockbroker now!). It is also worth noting that just because an agent tells you that property has inceased by over 20% this year, that doesn´t mean someone will walk in and pay 20% more. A property is only worth the price a buyer wants to pay for it. I always laugh when I hear "on paper its now worth x amount".

My favourite, though has always been the valuation process undertaken by some agents.

Some familiar dialogue

Client : So, Mr. Real Estate Agent, I want to sell my property, what price would you suggest?

Real Estate Agent : How much do you want for it?

Client : Well, I was very much hoping that you could give me an idea.

Real Estate Agent : Yes but, how much do you want for it?

Client: Arrrg!

A good agent will give you solid examples, he will show comparisons of similar properties in the region, if your property is in a development then he will know it like the back of his hand.

Although in reality it is a far less exact science than back in the UK or USA, there is still enough information around to give good advice on price and sales strategy.

But remember, do your market research too and get a few valuations before you decide on what price is right.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Using The Web to Rent Your Property

The internet has grown to be a massively effective tool when it comes to any form of research, and people looking to source their next holiday is no exception.

There are a number of good sites out there that will list your property for a small fee, or there are even free classified sites you can try.Do some research yourself by going in to the various search engines Yahoo, Google, MSN etc and type in different combinations of phrases that prospective holidays makers may use, such as "holiday rental Calabria, summer rentals Calabria " .

Google is by far the most popular resource for search, I always like to change the area by taking away the and adding different regional variations IE if I think Ireland would be a useful market to target, check who appears at the top of or Russia , (sorry if this is obvious).

Also note that Google will generally have a "sponsored links" area at the top or down the right hand side column. This mean companies have paid to be featured there, bear in mind that advertisers in these areas can rotate or disappear for a while and if you include your property with them, it may not be visible consistently. are popular sites, have a look through them and get a feel for how they work. I would however encourage you to do your own research, as outlined above.

Tips on Listing

  • Good clear photos are a must, make sure your property looks immaculate in the pictures (this is obvious but you would be surprised!) often you will need to resize your images - I use it is free and easy to use.

  • Honest, accurate and compelling descriptions (don´t embellish)

  • A bulletpoint list of benefits
I will be paying special attention to rentals and rental management companies in Calabria as I think they will play a hugely important role for my clients and for everyone else who is looking to monetize their property. Keep checking my Blog.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ryanair - Where Spending a Penny Could Cost You a Pound

I have just read an article regarding the possibility of introducing a pay- as - you go toilet on Ryanair flights in order to cut costs.

What next?

Maybe a deposit taken in the event of you using a lifejacket, or 50p per sickbag?

Come on.

Busy Week Draws to an End

Here we are on Friday, a busy week for us here in the office. We have been really surprised how quickly people have gotten to know about this Blog, sending emails and asking questions involving many different topics. Rentals, investment, legals are just some of the subjects I have been getting in my inbox.

My week has ended on a high note, as after marathon research and negotiation we have managed to secure a fabulous project in Riace. I don´t want this to be a site promoting developments I am involved in so I´ll leave it at that!

I hope to have some good pictures and some great restaurant recommendations (hopefully ones I don´t know about already, so I can try them when I´m there next month) over the next few days, kindly supplied by one of our clients currently out in Reggio surveying the progress of their purchase.

Keep checking or subscribe by adding your email on the right enabling you to be notified by email of each new article.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Worlds Largest Suspension Bridge on Your Doorstep

I have already posted some artists impressions of this behemoth on my blog earlier this month. For those of you who missed the article in The Telegraph yesterday I have included it here -

Italy will forge ahead with a controversial plan to build the world's largest suspension bridge, a massive structure which will arch between the mainland and Sicily, the government said on Wednesday Critics say that at six billion euros (£5.4bn), the cost of the two-and-a-half mile bridge across the Strait of Messina is far too high and have questioned the wisdom of building such a giant span in a region which is prone to earthquakes.

Some engineers have given warning that the area's huge pylons would be vulnerable to high winds.
"It's true that it costs six billion euros but this is the project and we're not going back on it," Altero Matteoli, the public works minister, told Italian radio.
He acknowledged that it would be essential to improve the ramshackle roads and railways on either side of the bridge, in Sicily and the mainland region of Calabria.

"The bridge will oblige us to improve railway and motorway infrastructure as well as the ports. It's an enormous amount of work that will also increase tourism."
The project, which Mr Matteoli said could get underway this year, was first envisioned by Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister, when he was in office in 2001-2006, but then ditched by his centre-left successor, Romano Prodi, amid concerns that it would mostly benefit construction firms run by the mafia.

Mr Prodi's administration labelled it a vanity project and "the most useless and harmful plan of the past 100 years."
Mr Berlusconi was re-elected prime minister last year and put the project back on track.
He insists that it will create thousands of jobs, boost tourism and improve transport links between the 'toe' of the Italian mainland and Sicily, replacing ferry services.

The bridge would be able to handle nearly 5,000 cars an hour as well as high-speed trains.
The dream of building a bridge across the narrow strait was first envisioned by the Romans and later considered by Sicily's Norman rulers. The Telegraph

This is yet another landmark that will raise the profile of the region, along with the Regium waterfront development, also posted on this blog.

Accessibility is currently lacking within this region, so this is more than a few steps in the right direction.

I know at the moment confidence is low, given the state of the worldwide economy and its easy to fall into a negative mindset, but bear in mind all of you who purchased in this region have done so before the majority of the cohesion plan funds have been deployed(Complete 2013). Imagine how fabulous Calabria will be when the work is complete.

You certainly won´t be able to buy a good quality apartment with a sea view for €1980 per square M2, thats for sure.

Please don´t forget to subscribe to my posts by leaving your email address on the right, I will be publishing some interesting, useful stuff over the next few months that I would hate you to miss.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Price per Square Metre in The Reggio Area

Following on from the article outlining average advertised property price, we have done a price per m2 analysis of the developments within the region.

I won´t name individual developments, but the gulf between the most expensive and cheapest is significant.

There was one project that had an apartment costing nearly €3400 per m2, this was by far the most expensive, in fact its closest in price was €500 m2 less!This particular apartment did have a unique feature, therefore I can understand why it is more money, it is always difficult to put a price on something unique!

The lowest price per m2 I found was €1943. The developments mentioned had good sea views and similar qualities. The determining price factor was distance to the beach, but bear in mind we are only talking about 100 metre variant.

Refer back to my previous post if you are wondering how I work out my calculations.
My personal opinion is that at present anything over €2500 per m2 is excessive and if you are looking at getting a reasonable rental yield per m2 I think my assumption is justified.

Birds Eye View Photos of Reggio Marina

There will be a significant change to the Reggio waterfront when the planned structure by architect Zaha Hadid is completed.

I will publish further details here as soon as they are available, although there are inital impressions featured on this Blog.

Gerace - View of Locri and Beyond

Inland from Locri, not too far from Siderno you have the charming hilltop village of Gerace.
Ruins of the old Norman cathedral and medieval town have a truly atmospheric, eerie feel.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Average Advertised House Prices

There is an interesting article in Italymag today giving average advertised house prices.

Here is how the chart looked -

1. Basilicata € 141,430.232.
2. Calabria € 210,329.483.
3. Abruzzo € 227,174.674.
4. Puglia € 234,166.925.
5. Molise € 235,648.65

This was in the "affordable areas" category. Now take a look at the other regions´advertised price - there is a significant gulf, to say the least!

1. Tuscany, € 837,267.882.
2. Veneto € 748,410.533.
3. Lazio € 735,411.084.
4. Sicily € 705,361.885.
5. Trentino Alto Adige € 699,166.67

These figures were aggregated from over 11,000 property adverts across Italy, just to give you an idea of the depth of this survey.

Even though these figures allude to the advertised price, rather than actual transaction value I still think it makes for interesting reading.


The Village of Stilo

Who would have thought a village of such natural beauty would have inspired Fiat to produce a car that doesn´t quite share the amazing aesthetics of this truly charming place.
Seriously though, if you take the SS106 from Siderno and just before you arrive at Monasterace Marina take the SP9 towards Bivio Guardavalle.
Keep following this road and you will eventually get to Stilo.
This really is a picture postcard village that epitomises rustic italy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ensure Your Private Contract and Bond Cover You.

I have had a number of queries regarding the purchase process and how best to protect yourself when buying a property overseas. This isn´t specific to Calabria, but can be applied to any international destination.

Although I cannot and will not give legal advice, I can give you some tips that will assist you and hopefully make for a trouble free purchase.

- Make sure you have a full understanding from the agent of what you are actually getting for your money, IE. Size of apartment + terracing, air-con included, kitchen appliances, style of flooring etc.
Keep a note of this as it will help you reconcile the details presented in your contract. Should there be any disparity between what you were originally told and what appears before you in your private purchase contract you take the appropriate action, either renegotiating or walking away.

- Read the contract very, very carefully before signing. All the important stuff including specifications, sizes etc appear here. If you sign without checking properly and a discrepancy arises upon completion that you failed to notice at the signing stage, you will have little chance of recourse.

- Check the lawyer has the original bank guarantee, also make sure you understand the conditions of the bond. Ask what specific cover it gives, length of validity, late clauses etc. How will you action the bond should you need to and how long will recompense take.

- Be nosey, ask your lawyer questions about any aspect of the transaction you are unsure about. This is important and no question is "silly" or unimportant.

The lawyers I have worked with in the Calabria region have all done a superb job, definitely putting their clients´first. However, you should get involved with your purchase and check everything yourself carefully thus eliminating any issues.

View from Mount Sant' Elia - Palmi Reggio

This amazing view is taken from Mount Sant' Elia in Palmi, giving you stunning vistas across the Thyrrhenian Sea.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Buying in Calabria - Who Does What?

After looking through some of the forums and seeing the comments people are making regarding their prospective or current purchases, I thought I would clarify the roles and explain who does what when a property development appears on the market.

Please keep in mind I am simplifying some of the processes and on occasion there may be some overlap in roles discussed, as always this is to give you a rough guideline.

The Developer - The developer essentially puts the components of the project together. He will source and buy the land (sometimes will acquire the land from the owner for no cost, but agree a split on profits when the project is complete), he will employ an architect who will draw up plans and then submit them to attain the relevant planning consent. A project manager will be hired who will co-ordinate the contractors and sub-contractors and get the project delivered.
Generally, the actual developer will have nothing to do with the selling of the project. This is usually passed on to a Promoter.

The Promoter - The Promoters role involves packaging up the project and turning the non-user friendly architects images into glossy brochures and client friendly literature. They will advise the developer on pricing and look to market the project and raise its profile.

The Master Agent - The Promoter and the Master Agents Roles sometimes blur slightly. A promoter can sometimes fill The Master Agents job.

The Master Agent will distribute the project out amongst the real estate agents. They will then provide all the necessary information about the development including web images, prices etc. in order that the Real Estate Company can furnish clients with everything they need.

The Real Estate Company -The role here is to market the project to the general public, using the web, exhibitions, magazines and anywhere else appropriate. They will handle the buying process and act as an interface between the customer and the other parties involved, giving the client a clear picture of what is happening throughout the process.

As I said at the start of the article this is a rough snapshot of how things work, and will hopefully give you all a better understanding of the role each party plays.

Michel Thomas - A Truly Inspirational Linguist and Teacher

There are few people in life you come across who absolutely blow you away with their knowledge, passion and seemingly unconditional dedication to their chosen subject.

Undoubtedly some of you are trying to learn Italian, readying yourself for when you can spend time in Calabria and go into Reggio, order food and converse a little with the locals. Many of you will be attending night classes, buying books trying your hardest to understand and learn Italian.

I went through the same thing too, years ago when I decided to leave blighty for good, I started going on crash language courses, Open Univerisity on the TV etc.

Then I came across, by complete accident Michel Thomas´language courses, boasting no written work necessary, in fact urging you NOT to do any homework. I also saw his list of distinguished clients and thought I would give it a go.

After listening to the first ten minutes I quickly realised it was nothing short of a revelation and you could certainly see why this great man had achieved the many accolades he had. Two things stood out, the first is how different his teaching methods were, the second, how quickly you actually learnt things, almost subconsciously.

Michel Thomas famously quoted "There is no such thing as a poor student, only a poor teacher".

He had devoted his life to teaching after he had been able to transcend his mind, whilst being tortured when captured by the Gestapo, for being a resistance fighter in WWII.
This fascinated him and he came to the realisation that the mind can do pretty much anything if you apply it.

When I finished his course, then completed another, I pretty much believed that no matter what it is you try to learn, if done in the right way it is possible. For me, my language skills improved hugely. When listening to him instructing his students, who were at all levels, you could not fail to see the love he had for both language and teaching.

Unfortunately Michel Thomas died in 2005 , here is a link to the Guardian Obituary that will give you some insight into this truly great man.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Working Out The True Price Per Square Metre

Hello again to you all. The above subject is one of controversy and its interpretation varies widely between developers.

I found this out first hand when trying to compare prices between developments, sometimes I felt it was like comparing apples with bananas so to speak.

I always work out the price per metre as total usable internal area divided by the property price.

eg A €139000 villa with an internal living space of 65m2 would give a price per m2 of €2138.46.

Please bear in mind you can include terraces,communal area, solarium's and gardens in this figure and if you do that's great, but make sure you are doing that for all the properties you compare.

This is true if you get the price per m2 from a developer, because some will include car parking spaces, store room space etc. that's fine too, as long as you do the same with every development .

You want to make sure it is a level playing field, in order for you to build a true picture of value. Also bear in mind that internal areas given can include unusable space such as walls etc. this is common practice and isn´t underhanded, its just how it is.

Proximity to the beach, build quality and several other factors will determine the price of your apartment, don´t get too bogged down with the above findings, but obviously if there is a huge unexplainable price differential, maybe you should steer clear!

Scott Henderson Trio - Teatro Umberto, Lemezia Terme

Scott Henderson is a truly amazing jazz guitarist who happens to be playing in the above theatre on March 21st.

He is a genuine virtuoso, if you are a guitar enthusiast and are in the area you really must go and see this incredible musician!

Furnishing Your Calabria Property

Another question I am frequently asked from clients who intend to rent their property is - How should I furnish it?

Here is some advice from hard gained property rental experience that will give you an idea.

- Keep in mind most furniture packages available don´t include basic items such as ironing boards & irons, vacuum cleaners, etc

- If you intend to rent off-season when it can get cool in Calabria make sure you have some rugs and a reasonably priced heater.

- Air-conditioning - Not cheap, but if I had the choice to rent an apartment with air-con or one without, I know which one I would choose. Not installing this may be false economy. If your budget wont stretch, try ceiling fans.

- Buy easily replaceable items, as you don´t want to have a set 12 different glasses and different coloured plates!

- Don´t buy leather Sofas unless you really, really want them yourself. They are too hot to sit on in the heat and freezing when its cold.

-Take an inventory of all that you buy and make sure this is checked by your rental management agency after each rental. (Take a deposit for damages)

- Shop around for electrical items as they can be expensive in Calabria

If this is a only a rental investment property, leave your own taste for you own home. You want functional, good value durable items that are as neutral as possible.

Above all enjoy yourself furnishing your new apartment!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Cohesion Plan 2007 - 2013

I have been fascinated by this, much talked about, "regional operational programme" and specifically what it will consist of. I know that this plan has been part of every real estate agents spiel, however I thought it seemed a little vague. I know this plan was initiated in ´07, however I have never seen it published anywhere easily accessible.

To that end I thought I would add the specifics of the plan to my blog to end speculation and more importantly for those of you who have actually parted with your money and bought a property will see where this money is being spent.

When you read the specifics below 12% of the fund will be allocated with the intention of making Calabria "an internationally competitive tourist destination" and a further 16% on the "internal and external accessibilty of the region" - Ryanair watch out!!

I do like to post my own narrative on this blog, however given the subject matter I will make an exception.

On 7 December 2007 the European Commission approved the Calabria Regional Operational Programme for 2007-2013. The Programme comes under the Convergence Objective and has a total budget of approximately €3 billion. The aid provided by the EU through the ERDF amounts to some €1.5 billion, i.e. half of the entire Programme. This figure represents 5.2% of the EU's total investment in Italy in the context of Cohesion Policy for the period 2007-2013.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

Around 58% of the Programme funds have been earmarked for investments directly linked to sustainable growth and jobs in line with the Lisbon and Gothenburg agendas. These include projects on R&D and innovation, entrepreneurship, information society, energy efficiency and renewables, education and training, and major infrastructures of European-wide importance.
The Operational Programme is devised to identify and analyse the region’s potentials in accordance with Community and national frameworks setting out the principles for the allocation of EU funds. The general objective of the Programme is to foster sustainable economic development with a view to converging with the average development levels of the EU. This should be achieved by mobilising the potential of the region by means of boosting its competitiveness, making the territory more attractive, and diversifying and modernising the productive structure.

2. Expected impact of investments

With the EU contribution, it is expected that the Programme will lead to an additional annual increase of 1.6% in the regional GDP through to 2015 and an additional annual increase of 0.3% in employment growth. 43 500 new jobs are therefore expected to be created by 2015. Furthermore, female employment rates should increase to 40.2% by 2015 (compared to 35% in 2005) following the creation of 16 500 net jobs for women.

3. Priorities

The Operational Programme is structured along nine priorities:

Priority 1: R&D, innovation and information society [approximately 10% of total funding]
This priority aims firstly to strengthen R&D and innovation by working together with business in an effort to foster competitiveness, and secondly, to facilitate access for citizens and firms to the information society.

Priority 2: Energy [approximately 7% of total funding]

This priority will focus on promoting diversification of energy sources, with particular attention paid to renewables, and on stimulating energy efficiency and savings.

Priority 3: Environment [approximately 12% of total funding]

This priority will concentrate on risk prevention and other measures aimed at ensuring environmental sustainability, while retaining traditional measures like waste management and pollution reduction.

Priority 4: Quality of life and social inclusion [approximately 9% of total funding]
The priority will focus on improving the quality of and accessibility to education and training in remote areas. It will also look to increase the quality of life, guarantee equal access to social services and ensure security for both citizens and businesses.

Priority 5: Natural and cultural resources and sustainable tourism [approximately 12% of total funding]
This priority aims at promoting biodiversity as well as preserving the region’s natural and cultural heritage. It also aims at increasing sustainability while maintaining the international competitiveness of tourism in the region.

Priority 6: Networks for mobility [approximately 16% of total funding]
The main objective of this priority is to develop the internal and external accessibility of the region, with a special focus on promoting intermodality and sustainable urban transport.

Priority 7: Productive systems [approximately 14% of total funding]
Under this priority, measures will be taken to improve the competitive conditions of businesses.
Priority 8: Cities, urban areas and territorial systems [approximately 17% of total funding]
This priority aims at promoting competitiveness, innovation, attractiveness and quality of life in both cities and rural areas.

Priority 9: Technical assistance and interregional cooperation [approximately 3% of total funding]
The priority will ensure effective assistance to the Managing Authority of the Programme concerning management, evaluation, audit, information and communication activities and other tasks that are necessary for correct implementation of the Programme.

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Source: EU Regional Policy Iforegio