George Clooney in Alba

Alba is fast becoming a popular destination for celebrities as well as those who have an interest in food, culture and wine.

Our lastest visitor was George Clooney who popped down to Alba on his Harley Davidson motorbike and stopped for a spot of lunch at one our local bars in Piazza Savona.

Mr Clooney was kind enough to have his picture taken with three very happy ladies who happened to be in the square at that time.It was not long ago that Brad Pitt was here in the Langhe area looking for a property himself.

Alba is a charming town, full of sophistication and life, and is of course home to the world famous truffle festival in October.
Try to visit if you can.

Buying a casa rustico (rustic house) in Piemonte

A rustic house for sale in the Langhe

Throughout Italy and particularly in the Langhe and Monferrato regions of Piemonte one can find many old stone buildings which have been for many reasons neglected by their current owners.

These old rustic houses or rustici as the Italians call them, usually have a farming connection and consist of an L shape building with haylofts which usually include wonderful arches.

A typical rustico will be found in a rural area and have commanding views of the local countryside and as such can make an ideal location for your dream Italian home.

These old farm properties usually feature original cotto floor tiles and vaulted ceilings. Unfortunately the condition of these houses are usually in a state of disrepair and require complete restoration.

The renovation of these rustici is an expensive process but ultimately you wind up with a property built to your specification and if restored sympathetically could prove to be a good investment over the years. Traditionally restored farmhouses also prove popular for holiday rentals in Piemonte.

You need to be or have someone fluent in Italian to manage the project and be sure to get a quote for all the additional taxes involved as these soon can mount up.

So in conclusion if you can’t find the property of your dreams here in Italy, consider a rustico and renovate it yourself.

Italian Music festivals

Please our apologies for lack of posts recently but our work commitments here in the Langhe have been tremendous.

Summer in Piemonte and Italy in general are wonderful for music lovers, the long hot summers are perfect for outdoor festivals and concerts. Monforte d’Alba is currently hosting its annual jazz festival and includes artists such as the Blind Boys of Alabama and the wonderful Patty Pravo. Meanwhile just down the road Steve Hackett from Genesis fame is playing an open air gig at Asti.

This week I’m off to see two of my favorite guitarists Robin Trower at Savona and the very excellent American guitarist Robben Ford. I had the pleasure of talking to Robben a few weeks ago and he said how much he loved it here in Italy.

Many open air music events and festivals are held throughout the whole of Italy during the summer, there’s something for everyone, whatever your tastes, jazz,rock,blues,pop,classical,folk etc. For me life does not get any better than watching a gig outside in Italy with a glass of Italian wine.

Even Boney M are playing just down the road!

I’ll let you know how the gigs went.

Property investment in Italy

Although the world financial crisis is in full swing we still have clients with money to invest and with uncertainties in the financial markets they are seeking alternative investment opportunities.

Property prices In Italy are remaining relatively stable but of course there are some bargains to be had !!

Tourism here in the Piemonte (Piedmont) region of Italy is thriving and while the poor performance of Sterling may affect the British market a little, the number of tourists coming here each year is increasing.

Piemonte offers something for everyone be it sports, food, culture, sea, skiing, wine and access to the wonderful Italian cities of Milan, Turin, and Genoa etc.

More and more tourists visiting the area are seeking self catering type holiday accommodation. Investors looking at properties in Piemonte with holiday rental potential certainly have an interesting investment opportunity……

A typical two bedroom property can fetch in the region of Euro 1000 per week with this figure increasing depending on standard of accommodation and amenities eg if there is a swimming pool.

Tourists are arriving in the Piemonte region all year round – a good return on your investment is for sure a viable proposition.

If you don’t live in Piemonte permanently and you buy a property for holiday rental, you will need someone to manage the rental business for you. There are agencies who will do this for you and there are also local Italian and foreign families that provide this service. Such assistance is very easily arranged.

With careful planning and an effective advertising campaign this is an investment seriously worth considering …….

A day skiing in Prato Nevoso Piemonte (Piedmont)

Prato NevosoOne of the joys of living in The Langhe region of Piemonte is its proximity to some beautiful ski resorts. One such resort is Prato Nevoso. It’s situated in The Cuneo Valley at about 1500 metres above sea level and offers 35 slopes that range from easy to difficult. It caters for cross- country skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and off piste work. There’s something for everyone.

We set off from Alba at about 9.00 am and arrived in just over an hour. Being February the resort was busy with mainly Italian families having a day out. Prato Nevoso really caters well for families, there are safe areas for children to sledge down, quad bikes for the more adventurous, go-karts, a ski school, bars, restaurants, hotels and just about every other thing you might need. Basically if you have young kids and someone to supervise them in the children snow play areas, you can go off to ski without worry. Did I mention sitting on a deck chair in the sun relaxing?

I was amazed to see how accomplished the young Italian children were at skiing and it was a joy to see families having fun together on the slopes. During the day somebody got injured skiing and at this point a policeman on a jet ski attended the injured person and within 15 minutes the Air Ambulance had arrived to ferry the person away. I was very impressed. Top marks for safety. On reflection I must say that we had a great day out with our friends from England, and their six year old son just loved it. The next day we all went to watch David Beckham play in Milan. But that’s another story. Stay tuned… 

Prato Nevoso

Play area for children

The town Prato Nevoso

Air Ambulance in action

Air Ambulance