There are choices for building a home in Italy, they mainly involve building on vacant land or rebuilding one of the many older and sometimes falling down structures.
Which is more economical rebuilding or building new really just depends on the total cost of everything. In general to rebuild an existing but unlivable structure costs at least as much as new and usually a bit more. I think I'll write more about this on my blog in a day or so. The deciding factor would be the cost and availability of vacant buildable land.Our experience in rebuilding part of the Luisa's paternal family home in Pradipozzo was that getting the permit to rebuild was fairly easy, but since it is agricultural land we could not add even a square meter. We were allowed to rebuild even the torn down stable into a subtantial building. And then there were also the design issues, the design had to conform to the original, no big windows etc.Here in Belluno when we rebuilt the villa on Luisa's maternal side we had a big legal battle over rebuilding a large area that had been torn down many years ago. At first it was denied then after a law suit was filed with the region we have now more or less been given permission to rebuild it - more or less because leagally we are allowed to but we have not submitted plans and don't know what will be the next reaction. Rebuilding the structure that actually existed was relatively easy though getting the permits took a while as the city considers it an historical structure. It's interesting that having to raise the roof for structural reasons created an additional floor and additional sq. meters.So there are several ways to build, the safest is to buy vacant land that is certified buildable and make sure that the seller backs that up. Another is to buy a property that has basically a ruin on it, a third is to buy an existing building and rebuild it, a forth would be to buy an existing building that was not residential and convert it to residential. The fourth is risky unless the seller has already converted it use (destination) to residential. I would not advise anyone to buy vacant land that is not certified as buildable and hope to make it so. That could take 10 years as in the previous response or even longer or perhaps never happen. Italians are rightly very protective of their open and agricultural spaces. Who would want to visit an Italy of urban sprawl.
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