at 7:11 AM
We just got back from a week on the Roman coast. And I don't mean Ostia, since we were completely dissuaded from those in the know from even considering it. Instead, we are looking a little farther south to Anzio or Nettuno to find our next home.
This is a particularly interesting area because the open farmland in the region has recently been converted for use for building homes - there is an unbelievably large quantity of new construction happening just a little further back from the sea. These areas are both historic Roman centers and have become second-vacation-home areas for the modern Romans.
Looking around, you don't get the idea that the Italian economy is in any trouble. Everyone is busy working or vacationing. No matter where you are, you hear power tools, lawn mowers and sprinklers buzzing in the air. That is not to say, however, that the Roman coast is not setting itself up for it's own housing bubble. As one real estate agent put it, "Everyone is hoping to sell their old (1960's) vacation-home for €400,000 and buy a new one for €300,000". In fact, most sellers are in complete denial as to the true value of their own home, while builders are very optimistic as to the number of buyers they will attract.
We looked at brand new homes with glee. Insulation, finishes, etc: are often the top-of-the-line and rarely chosen in bad taste. But, with every single new home we saw, there is one small problem...
These homes here are meant for vacation not all-year use.
The new villette lack all kinds of sensible storage. Each one has a "technical room/garage", which is an open, area enclosed on three sides with finished walls, tiled floor and a roof attached to the other side of the living room. All the builders will tell you with a nod and a wink that this is actually a round-about way to make the house larger than what is permissible. After the home is sold, the builder will close this opening with a window and simply remove the bricks in the pre-built opening in the wall between the living room and technical room/garage. We even saw a "technical room" with gas, water and electrical plugs for the kitchen which left me to wonder... where would you put your ladder, lawnmower, and plastic Christmas tree?
If you can afford a second home you will not be changing light bulbs or mowing your own lawn!