Step back in time and immerse yourself in the Gothic splendour of Siena’s soaring Renaissance architecture, marvelling at the rich frescoes of the civic museum and the stunning intricate white, green and red marble façade of the famous 13th century cathedral; wander through the honey coloured narrow streets of the historic city centre – a UNESCO World Heritage Site before enjoying an evening ‘aperitivo’ in one of the many cafes lining the magnificent pavements of the Piazza del Campo and then a leisurely dinner of Bruschetta topped with fresh tomatoes, basil and local olive oil followed by pork roasted with rosemary, garlic and wild fennel seeds all washed down with a glass or two of local Chianti wine; while away a relaxing morning sunbathing on the terrace of your luxury villa surrounded by vineyards and olive groves and then take an afternoon trip to the beautiful medieval hilltop village of Montepulciano to enjoy a private wine tour followed by a wine tasting. Located in the central part of Tuscany in the middle of a vast hilly landscape with the Chianti hills to the north-east, there is an excellent range of Siena property for sale offering investors the opportunity to become part of this beautiful medieval city.
Said to have been founded by Senius, son of Remus- one of the two legendary founders of Rome - the medieval city of Siena sits over three hills and at its heart is Europe’s finest medieval square, the huge fan-shaped Piazza del Campo, where the Roman forum used to be and where today the city’s world famous horse race, the Palio, takes place twice a year in July and August. The Campo is dominated by the red Palazzo Pubblico and its tower, Torre del Mangia – a slender 14th century tower with a climb of over 500 steps, which will reward you with panoramic views of Siena and the surrounding countryside. Siena’s beautiful Gothic cathedral – the Duomo – is filled with treasures by Pisano, Donatello and Michelangelo as well as frescoes by Pinturicchio. Built between 1215 and 1263 on the site of an earlier structure, the cathedral is in the form of a Latin cross with a slight projecting dome and bell tower. The exterior and interiors are decorated in white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes, black and white being the symbolic colours of Siena.
Siena is a constant draw for international buyers, and remains a desirable year-round location for its perfect balance between tranquil country life and the vibrancy and convenience of a city. With its world renowned historic and architectural interest, Siena property commands high prices and investing in a property to rent as a holiday home will yield excellent returns. There is a wide range of Siena property for sale to suit all tastes and budgets both in the city itself and in the surrounding areas ranging from apartments hidden away in the centre of the city to wonderful hilltop villas with sweeping views of the olive groves and vineyards.
In Siena itself there is a good range of property for sale. One and two bedroom apartments or studios start at around 300,000 EUR and are mostly modern apartments in lovely old buildings with either tiled or wooden floors and modern kitchens and bathrooms. Three or four bedroom properties would be in the region of 700,000 EUR to 1.5m EUR again depending on location and features such as sun terraces and views. The most prestigious locations are in the historic city centre itself so a two bedroom apartment with views onto the Piazza del Campo would be in the region of 900,000 EUR or a four bedroom duplex with roof terrace located directly on the Campo could command in excess of 2m EUR.
Heading out of the city there is a wide range of Siena property for sale including traditional stone farmhouses and luxurious hillside villas. Traditional stone houses typically start at around 600,000 EUR for a four bedroom property rising to over 1m EUR for those with more land and surrounded by vineyards. Properties with good views of the city will have a premium price so for example a three bedroom stone farmhouse set half way up a hill with sweeping views of Siena could command a price in the region of 800,000 EUR to 900,000 EUR. For a five bedroom villa nestling in the hills with private swimming pool and surrounded by lush gardens expect to pay around 1.8m EUR. Properties further up in the hills with panoramic views and set within their own olive groves can be found for between 2.5m EUR going up to 4m EUR for the larger properties. There are also a number of residential complexes being developed offering beautifully renovated apartments with tall wooden beamed ceilings, tiled floors and superb country views with shared swimming pools and gardens; prices tend to start at around 600,000 EUR for a four bedroom property.
Siena property provides investors with the perfect opportunity to buy a property in one of the loveliest medieval cities in Europe and enjoy a lifestyle embracing a rich cultural heritage, fabulous wine and food and of course a wonderful climate. Whether you decide to buy a luxury apartment with sun terrace overlooking the red-tiled roofs of the historic city centre or a renovated stone farmhouse in the countryside surrounded by olive and lemon groves, Siena makes a perfect holiday and investment destination.
Guide to the Italian Buying Process
1. Making the Offer to Purchase (Offerta)
Once you have found the property you wish to purchase you will start the process by making a formal offer to the vendor, the estate agent will act on your behalf and put forward the offer, a deposit will be made available, generally around (10,000 - 20,000 EUR). Once the vendor has accepted the offer it will be formalised in writing to the vendor in both English and Italian. If this is accepted the deposit (Caparra Confirmatoria) will be paid to the vendor. This will form a legally binding contract. Neither party may withdraw at this point, the sale can be forced by either party or a claim for damages can be made. If the purchaser withdraws their deposit will be lost, if the vendor withdraws the purchaser can claim twice the deposit in compensation.
2. Signing the Preliminary Contract (Compromesso or Contratto preliminare)
The next step will take place between 1 and 3 months after the offer has been accepted, this is a formal agreement between the vendor and purchaser to sell and buy the property, this agreement is the Preliminary Contract and will contain the conditions and terms of the sale. It is important at this stage that you have a full understanding of all the details contained in the contract. We would strongly recommend that you appoint a Notary who is fluent in English. This document will include the purchase price, a detailed description of the property including completion date and will cover any obligations placed upon the buyer and the vendor. All information relating to the property including any planning permissions for the property and the cadastral details (a public record, survey, or map of the value, extent, and ownership of land as a basis of taxation). Once the Preliminary Contract (Contratto preliminare) has been signed a further deposit (Caparra Confirmatoria) will be paid, this will generally be 10% - 20% of the purchase price. There will also be an estate agents Commission Fee (Provvigione) which will need to be paid at this point.
3. Signing the Final Deed of Sale (Rogito or Atto Notarile)
The purchaser must have a bank account in order to make the purchase on completion. The signing of the final deed of sale which will authorise the transfer of the property must be overseen by a Notary (Notaio). The buyer will select and hire the Notary, but they are members of an independent body of public/professionals who will draft the purchase deed, they will oversee the passing of the title legally from the vendor to the purchaser. The Notary will also verify the legality of the documentation and registration with the Conservatoria dei Registri Immobiliari and the Local Land Register.
4. Formalities to be observed after Completion
Foreign buyers should obtain a certified copy of the Purchase Deed (Rogito), which the Notary will have lodged with the authorities. Generally this will be available to collect around 2 – 3 weeks after completion. The Notary will also give you a form to complete for the the local authority (Questura) who will have been given formal notice of the purchase. Your Notary will help you to complete this form. You will need to contact the utilities companies to set up new contracts (power, water, telephone, gas etc.). If the property is a flat, the condominium manager (Amministratore del condominio) should be informed of change of ownership of the property.
Various taxes must be paid on purchases. Registration tax / stamp duty (Imposta di Registro) is calculated on the government’s valuation of the property (Valore catastale). This will vary according to whether the property is being purchased as a holiday home, or as your primary residence. For a holiday home stamp duty will be 10% of the valuation. If you are intending to use the property as your primary residence and apply for residency (Prima casa), providing this is done within 18 months of the property transfer then stamp duty will be reduced to 3% for an existing property and 4% for a new build. This will be paid to the Notary on completion of the purchase.
Land registration, mortgage and cadastral taxes also need to be paid to the Notary on completion. These are one-off payments and are around €168 each.
Once the property has been purchased further taxes must be paid. There is a local council tax ICI/IMU property tax (Imposta Comunale sugli Immobili) of 0.4% to 0.9% of the property’s cadastral value. The rate for this is calculated annually by the council and paid bi-annually in June and December. This rate will be reduced if the property is the primary residence (Prima Casa).
If you are not resident in Italy you will have to declare any income gained from activities in Italy to the Italian Tax authorities. This income will also have to be declared in your country of residence, you will need a double taxation agreement to mitigate against paying twice. This declaration will apply to any income you might obtain from letting a property in Italy. Some expenses incurred on the property may be off-set against the income you derive from letting out the property. This can include management expenses, local taxes, repairs etc.
There is one tax which applies only to holiday homes, there will be a 20% Capital Gain on the difference between the buying price and the selling price if the property is sold prior to 5 years ownership.
IMPORTANT - Disclaimer :
All information provided is believed to be current and provided free of charge. No liability can be accepted for the reliability of the information and statements made as this is obtained from 3rd parties. We always recommend you take legal advice from a fully qualified Lawyer or Notary before buying a property overseas.
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