FORBES – 5 Top Italian Art Cities Where You Can Also Go To The Beach (Genoa/Liguria)

While you probably don’t head to Italy’s major art cities to go to the beach, with many of them you can. Here are coastal areas close to some of Italy’s top culture stops (listed alphabetically) that are good for a seaside break after a morning of museum hopping when temperatures soar.

From simple village beaches to jet-set havens, Genoa and its neighboring towns offer plenty of options for sun time. Boccadasse, the fishing hamlet that’s part of Genoa and reachable after a good walk (around an hour) along the Corso Italia from the city center, has a small beach (pebbly like many in the area) rimmed by colorful houses. Plan on stopping for lunch or staying for dinner at a waterside restaurant like Capo Santa Chiara, where the views of the sparkling Ligurian Sea are splendid, and the menu provides sophisticated offerings and Ligurian specialties. About 11 kilometers from Genoa, Bogliasco is an under-the-radar coastal stop, the first town you come to on the Golfo Paradiso once you leave the city (the preceding village, Nervi, is a district of Genoa). After walking the seaside path, you can relax at the dark sand beach fronting a sheer blue-green sea. Nine kilometers from Bogliasco, the pastel-toned town of Camogli has a good-sized seafront with public areas and private beach clubs, as well as many restaurant options. Enjoy a sunset dinner at the popular spot, La Piazzetta, right off the promenade. For a slice of jet-set heaven, swing by Paraggi, nestledbetween Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino, where you can while away the afternoon in luxe style if you stay at the Eight Hotel, which has a beach club on the bay of Paraggi.(Nonguests can take in the heavenly setting by booking lunch at The Eight, the hotel’s fusion restaurant on the beach.)


Catherine Sabino – Forbes

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Tips on what to do before you make an offer on a property in Italy

Buying property abroad can be fraught with pitfalls. IB International Real Estate experts share professional advice on how to prepare for the purchase of your dream home in Italy. 


Property inspection

Once you have found a property that you wish to purchase, it’s a good idea to bring in an architect or engineer to do a professional assessment of the state of the property as well as the floor plans to make sure they are in compliance.

While there is no official property inspection during the purchase process in Italy, it is very common for buyers to get their assessment done just before making an offer and most sellers will agree to this.


Attainment of a ‘Codice Fiscale’ (individual tax code)

If you don’t already have one, you will need to apply for a ‘codice fiscale’ which is a personal tax identification number. This can be obtained from L’Agenzia delle Entrate, Italy’s national tax agency.


Selection of a ‘Notaio’ (Notary / Lawyer)

In a property sale, the buyer chooses which notary they will use for the sale. The notary operates under a strict code of conduct and is a registered officer of the Italian state. It is a good idea to find a notary early so that they can begin working on all the necessary documents.

If you don’t speak Italian, it is advisable to find a notary who speaks some English. It is also worth bearing in mind that if you don’t speak Italian then it will be necessary to have the ‘Atto Notarile’ (Act of Sale) officially translated into English. In addition to this, it may also be necessary to have an official licensed live translator during the ‘Atto Notarile’.


Contact the IB International Real Estate team for free professional advice and expert property finding services for buyers.

Where to buy castles in Italy?

If you’re dreaming of a luxury property with an aristocratic touch, an Italian castle just might be the perfect solution. From a romantic family residence full of enchantment and historical charm to a lucrative business investment generating sizeable profits, a historic Italian castle offers a wide range of personal and business opportunities:

  • world class private residence;
  • boutique hotel;
  • weddings and corporate events venue;
  • wellness clinic, rehabilitation center, spa;
  • personal care retirement home or senior living facility;
  • equestrian center;
  • individually owned luxury condos or residences;
  • exclusive offices or business headquarters.

Ideal Italian Castle Locations:

Zoagli, Liguria

Castello Canevaro is situated on the evocative Ligurian coastline overlooking the Gulf of Tigullio, a region in the Italian Riviera renowned for its beautiful towns such as Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo and Sestri Levante. The castle has direct access to the sea and the Arenella beach, a small natural jewel set between Mediterranean vegetation and the rocks. Surrounding the castle is a magnificent park that gently slopes down to the cliff edge. The views from every corner are spectacular with absolute dominion over the coastline and the sea.

Saluzzo, Piedmont

The castle of Saluzzo, originally a 15th-century fortification for a marquisate, is situated on the hilltop overlooking the valley and the medieval town. With its two grand defining towers, numerous arches and vaults and a beautiful park with gardens, the property also includes a private chapel of exquisite workmanship. With 25 elegant bedrooms, dining rooms, and main salons, the property also includes a 300 square meter Spa, a swimming pool, solarium, and lemon house. Equipped with an elevator and 50 parking spaces, this property offers a wealth of possibilities.

Sassoferrato, the Marche Region

The prestigious Abbey Complex consists of a Monastery, a Canonical House and the Church of Santa Croce. Recently partially restored to its former glory, the property covers an area of about 3,000 square meters magnificently incorporated into a park of 36,800 square meters. The Canonical House is part of the property built by the Counts of Acts Lords of Sassoferrato in the later part of the 12th century for the Camaldolese monks. It is one of the most important testimonies of Romanesque architecture in the region. 

Gorle, Lombardy

The Castle of Gorle, originally from 1200, is the result of the careful restoration work carried out in collaboration with the Superintendency of Cultural Heritage of Lombardy. The property consists of a main house of 750 square meters, with an elevator leading up to the top of the tower, and a secondary house. It is surrounded by an expertly landscaped ancient park as well as a swimming pool and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys.

Cuneo, Piedmont

The castle of the Marquises of Saluzzo, built in the 14th century, is located on top of a rocky hill in a panoramic position overlooking the surrounding valley. The castle, equipped with the typical drawbridge and four corner towers of the central keep, recalls a classic medieval manor. The property consists of two residential levels connected by a large monumental stone staircase and two spectacular central galleries. There are 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, and 2 main salons.

Perugia, Umbria

The 800 sq m Medieval Castle retains all the architectural features of the period. It is located on a plateau that dominates the entire upper Tiber Valley. The estate includes also a Villa dated between 1600-1800, an annex for guests, a church, a greenhouse, two farmhouses, and a park of about 3.5 hectares equipped with a horse paddock, a swimming pool with gazebo, a tennis court and a covered area with a barbecue.

Cipressa, Liguria

This historic luxury tower with direct access to the sea and breathtaking views is set on a panoramic promontory a few kilometers from Sanremo. With origins from the Western Roman Empire, the property was used as a watchtower to defend against the Saracens. It took its current form during the sixteenth century.

Casale Monferrato, Piedmont

This Neo-Gothic style castle from the late 1920s is situated at the foot of Monferrato just 5 km from Casale Monferrato and 45 km from Alessandria in Piedmont. Designed by the famous architect Carrera, this daring and elaborate manor house is surrounded by a crenelated wall, the foundations of which are the ancient circular icebox of Balzola visible on the ground floor.

31% increase in Milan’s residential real estate market in 2021

Trends in the Italian real estate market

According to the report Italy Residential Biannual Snapshot May 2021 (JLL), buyers are actively investing in residential real estate in the north of Italy, especially in Milan but also in Rome. Over the past two years, the volume of financial transactions for the purchase of real estate as a private residence in Italy, both by domestic and international buyers, has reached 210 million euros.


Milan: leader in activity and growth in the residential real estate market

Taking the lead in buying activity, 13,000 sales transactions were registered in Milan during 2021 up by 31%.

In the center of Milan, a square meter of residential real estate can reach 8,900 euros while the average value for the metropolis is about 4,000 euros per square meter.

Projects for renovation and requalification of certain areas of the fashion capital have become a catalyst for the growth of the residential real estate market. Buyers paid special attention to projects for development and improvement in areas such as San Siro, Porta Romana, Santa Giulia, Parco Adriano e Roncaglia, Villoresi, Trivulzio.


Rome: homebuyer activity continues unabated

Traditionally, real estate in the central quarters of the Italian capital is in greatest demand. The cost per square meter of luxury real estate reaches the level of 7,000 euros. In the first quarter of 2021, the number of transactions increased by 42%.


IB International Real Estate opens a new office in Milan

Our agency is expanding its network of offices for the convenience of our clients. We’re strengthening our presence in Milan and the Lombardy region as well as our offerings of prestigious properties in the lakes regions.

We are pleased to offer exclusive penthouses and apartments in the central districts of Milan and luxury villas on the lakes Garda and Como.

Italy, + 30% of requests for luxury property due to “flat tax”

The demand for luxury properties is growing: from Milan to Lake Como, Liguria to Tuscany and Rome, requests have recently grown by 30% thanks to the “flat tax”. First introduced in 2017, the flat tax has only just begun to have a dramatic influence on the market which is evident in the numbers from 2019.


What is “flat tax”?

The flat rate tax of 100.000 euros is basically a “flat tax” for foreigners who plan to settle in Italy. The scheme was introduced in 2017 as as a way to encourage the movement of capital into Italy by attracting both Italian and foreign high-net-worth individuals who are residing abroad. The effects are only just beginning to unfold. When the tax was first rolled out two years ago, it has been argued that Italy did not advertise it forcefully enough internationally and so only now are wealthy foreigners becoming aware of this opportunity. 

Those who intend to transfer their tax residence to Italy are offered a substitute tax on income generated abroad with a flat rate of 100.000 euros for each annual tax period.  


What are the benefits for family members?

The flat-rate regime can also be extended to one or more family members who meet the requirements. It is possible through a specific indication in the tax return relating to the tax period in which the family member transfers the tax residence to Italy. In this case, the substitute tax is equal to 25.000 euros for each family member to whom the effects of the same option are extended.


Who are the buyers?

The new residents in Italy are mostly northern Europeans, including many French, Russian and Ukrainians, many of whom come from London, or who have Swiss, French or Bulgarian residences that are no longer convenient.


What kind of properties are in demand?

The foreign clients who transfer residence to Italy for the flat tax often buy luxury properties – the so-called “trophy assets”. There are also opportunities to rent prestigious properties in the high-end rent bracket. The trend is mainly focused in the cities of Florence, Rome and Milan where luxury penthouses with panoramic views are always in demand, as well as coastal areas and large historic residences in the country.

Luxury Real Estate 13th International Symposium – Milan 2019

Fabrizio Brunelli and Anna Wilkin recently attended the 13th Annual Luxury Real Estate International Symposium in Milan where they met with an incredible group of colleagues within the LRE network. The event was packed with inspiring presentations and thought provoking group activities. The Luxury Real Estate Network is such an essential part of our business success. Thank you to our colleagues from all over the world and we look forward to working together in the future!


Liguria, + 9% of requests for real estate by foreigners

The increasingly growing tourism boom in our region is leading to an increase in the interest of foreigners for the purchase of a holiday home.

Due to the crisis that has hit Italy in recent years, the real estate market has suffered a severe blow and is still struggling to recover. Italians have few savings available to buy a house and get a mortgage is always very difficult, but despite the moment, to purchase is really convenient. Foreigners who are buying numerous properties in Italy know this well.

Requests for properties from abroad in Liguria

Liguria is one of the localities that records the highest number of property requests from foreigners. These are both homes that need renovation, and then sold at a price even lower than the new, but also newly built homes with energy class A, many of which are also located in major tourist destinations. These positive data was reported by Gate-away, a real estate portal exclusively addressed to foreigners, that carried out a questionnaire from which it emerged that Liguria earned a comforting + 9% in the first quarter of 2017 with regard to the requests for real estate and thus resulting in the third national position of the rating of the favorite locations by foreigners for the purchase of a property.

Let’s see the detail of the provinces

The province with the highest number of requests is Imperia, with a 65.45%. Soon after, we found the province of La Spezia, with a 15.35%, then Savona, with an 11.99% and Genoa, with 7.22%. In general, the demand is growing in all the provinces. This is a phenomenon that affects more or less the entire territory including the center, despite recent events related to the earthquake that are not a deterrent for the purchase of real estate in Italy, while bureaucracy paradoxically is.

Who are the foreign buyers?

As for Liguria, the buyers are mostly Germans looking for a comfortable outlet on the sea (22.66%), but also the Americans appreciate the territory so much to buy a house (11.8%), followed by English (10.57%), French (8.84%) and Swedish (8.13%). Most of the properties are detached houses which need renovation are economically convenient. 28% of the requests, however, concerns apartments, practical and less demanding than a house.

The complete guide to: the Italian Riviera

The colour-splashed Ligurian coast packs in spectacular scenery and history and has been luring tourists and stars since the time of Byron and Shelley.

Romance, glamour …?

And more. The Italian Riviera is essentially another name for the coast of Liguria, one of the country’s smallest but most intriguing regions, lying to the west above Italy’s great boot. Resonating with style and charm, this sweeping shore curves between France’s Côte d’Azur and Tuscany. Its beaches border sparkling blue waters, its seaside towns for the most part exude an atmosphere of old-world ritziness. The Italian Riviera is steeped, too, in literary appeal. Byron and Shelley were smitten by the Gulf of La Spezia to the east, and Lerici Bay was renamed The Gulf of Poets in their honour. DH Lawrence lived in the fishing village of Fiascherino nearby, while Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound stayed at Rapallo further west.

The narrow arc of the Riviera is vertiginously backed by the Maritime Alps, and along this well-sheltered strip of land there is an exceptionally mild microclimate. It is arguably the prettiest, most flower-filled stretch of Italian coast.

Punctuated more-or-less in the middle by the historic city of Genoa, it is a shoreline very much of two halves. The western sector is known as the Riviera di Ponente, the coast of the setting sun, and has relatively wide beaches and lush landscapes. The eastern Riviera di Levante is more weathered and offers areas of wild and craggy drama.

West is best?

That depends on what you’re after. Go east for spectacular scenery and for glamour. But if you want great weather and beach action, head to the Riviera di Ponente. It is sub-divided into two stretches. Westernmost, the Riviera dei Fiori is so-called because of the flower-growing industry in the area. Highlights here include the attractive little town of Ventimiglia with its pebble beach and lively Friday market – excellent for leather bags and belts, though there are frequent crackdowns on the counterfeit goods trade. West of Ventimiglia lie the dreamy Hanbury Botanical Gardens, a haven of exotic plants founded in 1867.

For sandy shores and classic good looks make for the old-world resort of San Remo, east of Ventimiglia, to discover splendid 19th-century villas, a casino dating from 1904 and a maze of a medieval old town. San Remo’s Royal Hotel, inaugurated in 1872, offers a blend of nostalgic grandeur and modern comfort.

East again, you reach olive country around the town of Imperia, an amalgam of two old ports, while beyond lies Diano Marina with a long sandy beach and a cheerful summer buzz.

Stretching up from the Capo Mele to Genoa, the Riviera delle Palme is characterised by its vegetation and sunny, seaside attractions.

Pretty Alassio offers a 3km sweep of sands dotted with deck chairs and beach umbrellas. Ceriale has a palm-fringed beach and a large aqua park Le Caravelle.

The beach resort of Finale Ligure developed from three colourful towns and presents a 12th-century abbey, a medieval old town and a lively seaside neighbourhood. Meanwhile the small city of Savona (the second largest urban centre in Liguria) is a serious working port with a picturesque old harbour dominated by medieval towers.

Some fine art?

You’ll find stunning architecture and a wealth of paintings at the curiously unsung city of Genoa (known locally as Genova). Italy’s chief port, it exudes a gritty, no-nonsense air yet beyond the docks and warehouses of its large harbour lie ornate palazzi, fine churches and one of the largest medieval old towns in Europe (albeit extensively restored after damage in the Second World War). This was the city that Petrarch called “La Superba” on account of its majesty. And the old town has stayed untouched by the new.

The city’s most notable sight is Via Garibaldi, a 16th-century millionaires’ row lined with magnificent town palaces. Many of these fabulous properties now house banks, so if you’re visiting during the week you’ll be able to take a look inside some of the courtyards and frescoed lobbies.

Avoid coming on a Monday, though, which is when the outstanding Museo di Strada Nuova is closed. This extensive art gallery comprises three of the most beautiful palazzi of Via Garibaldi and contains paintings by Durer, van Dyck, Caravaggio, Rubens and more.

Other must-see attractions include the colourful covered market, set in the former cloisters of an 18th-century church on Via XX Settembre; and the black-and-white striped cathedral, Duomo di San Lorenzo, which dates from the 12th century and contains a series of ornate chapels – the Renaissance Capella di San Giovanni Battista is especially fine.

Star quality?

The jewel of the Italian Riviera is the sumptuous fishing village of Portofino, east of Genoa. Amazingly little has changed from the Sixties when Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra were among those holidaying there. It sits on a rocky promontory, its cluster of ochre and pink buildings backed by hills clad in pines, palms, azaleas and cypresses.

Dotted among this greenery are the beautifully positioned villas of many of northern Italy’s wealthy elite. Yet although you’ll find outlets of Gucci, Pucci, Hermès and Louis Vuitton, this is not a self-consciously showy place.

Local residents (who number about 750) say that for most summer visitors see-and-be-seen considerations are usually eclipsed by the charm and the exquisite outlook here. You can even see dolphins, who frequently romp in the clear waters just beyond the village.

Filled with summer yachts and the odd fishing boat and fringed with cafes and restaurants, the harbour is the little hub of village life. But despite Portofino’s small size there are several other attractions. Brick-lined paths in the slopes above the harbour wind you through much flowery vegetation to the pretty church of San Giorgio, up to the Castello Brown, a fortress dating from the 16th century, and over to an old lighthouse.

Best of all, though, is Museo del Parco, a terraced sculpture garden overlooking the harbour and filled with modern artworks.

One of Italy’s finest hotels is set in a former monastery just above the village. Complete with fabulous views and heated saltwater infinity pool, the Hotel Splendido offers doubles at an eyewatering €880 per night – including breakfast.

More wallet-friendly options?

Consider staying at the elegant old resort of Santa Margherita Ligure. With its esplanade, opulent villas and orange trees, the town provides a stylish alternative to its more celebrated neighbour. You can reach Portofino, 7km along the coast, via a twisting road (much tooting around corners, and – in high season, queuing – required). More pleasantly, a boat connects the towns with others along the coast.

Santa Margherita Ligure’s most styling location is the Grand Hotel Miramare, which presents a gracious atmosphere in keeping with its splendid 1903 looks and magnificent sea views.

Kirker Holidays offers three nights at this five-star haven from £808 per person, including breakfast, based on two sharing. This mid-season price includes flights to Genoa (from Gatwick) or to Pisa (from a variety of UK airports) and car hire.

Alternatively, make for Rapallo, just a few kilometres further east. This pretty seaside town offers a beach, two harbours and a little castle set in the water, as well as several majestic hotel choices. Among them is the Grand Hotel Bristol, dating back to 1908.

The prettiest villages?

For a real treat visit the ruggedly beautiful Cinque Terre, or “Five Lands”, an 18km stretch of astonishingly serrated coastline that is home to the five old fishing villages of Monerosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore

Built on sheer cliffs above turquoise waters, these clutches of brightly coloured houses are minor miracles of ancient engineering and building dexterity, with the steep land around stunningly etched into terraces of vineyards and tiny fields. For centuries this area was extremely isolated – the railway line here, completed in 1874, provided the first motorised land connection between Cinque Terre and the outside world. Today it is conserved as a national park and a marine park, with the villages linked by a regular train service and remaining largely traffic-free.

Accommodation is mainly in village B&Bs and small apartments, at which between May and September you can expect to pay from €75 for a double room or studio.

A list of places to stay, officially approved by the park authorities, is available at the information offices at each village’s railway station, with the main visitor centre located at Riomaggiore. In any event, you’ll need to buy a Cinque Terre card from one of the park centres if you want to use any of the hiking trails that criss-cross this spectacular district. A one-day card costs €5 (with permutations for families and additional rail and ferry tickets), the proceeds being channelled into the conservation and maintenance of this unique area.

Give me more action

Other walking opportunities include the network of trails in Parco Beigua on the west coast. It is the largest of such protected areas in Liguria, with silent forests, wonderful views out to sea, and a principal visitor centre at Arenzano.

Over on the east coast, the Portofino Peninsula lies above the eponymous village. It is a breathtaking reserve crossed by a number of footpaths. Short break and walking holiday specialist Inntravel offers a seven-day hiking trip that starts here and takes in the wonderful Romanesque abbey of San Fruttuoso and the small resort of Diva Marino before reaching the dramatic landscape of Cinque Terre.

Alternatively take a guided day hike in the area: Walking Liguria offers a variety of options from challenging mountain hikes to gastro walks.

How do I get there – and around?

Genoa is the most convenient international gateway from the UK. It is served by British Airways from Gatwick, and by Ryanair from Stansted.

Getting around couldn’t be easier, with trains probably the best option. The main railway lines more or less hug the coast all the way around the Riviera. Take the inexpensive, ambling Regionale trains to reach small stations, or the faster (and more costly) Eurocity (EC) or Intercity (IC) services between towns. For timetables and more information visit Buses run frequently between towns, and are slightly more expensive than trains. For details visit .

Where can I find out more?

Contact the Italian Tourist Board in the UK on 020-7408 1254 ( ) or the Liguria Tourist Board in Italy on 00 39 010 548 51 ( ).

Lapping up Liguria

The cuisine in Liguria is exceptionally good, with a remit ranging from seafood to porcini and pasta. Local specialities include olive oil from Imperia, anchovies and dry white wine from Cinque Terre (the wine takes the same name), and perhaps best of all, pesto from Genoa. The Genoese devised this heavenly blend to prevent scurvy among sailors.

Not just the green sauce made from crushed basil leaves, pine nuts, pecorino cheese and olive oil but also red and ‘white’ varieties respectively made with sundried tomatoes or artichokes. Pasta specialists sell slabs of takeaway lasagne doused in pesto for a couple of euros.

Genoa is also renowned for its breads and pastries: focaccia, farinata (a pancake made with chickpea flour), pandolce cake with candied peel, raisons and nuts, and gobelletti biscuits with fig jam.




+39 34 702 37502

[email protected]

Spianata di Castelletto, 69R
16124 Genova

P. Iva 02501680991


© Copyright – IB International

+39 34 702 37502

[email protected]

Spianata di Castelletto, 69R
16124 Genova

P. Iva 02501680991


© Copyright – IB International

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