My Experience in Buying and Restore a House in Lucca Countryside

buy farmhouse to restore lucca countryside

As an Irishman of Polish descent, I’ve always been fascinated by the rich cultural tapestry and history of Europe. My journey led me to the enchanting countryside of Lucca, Italy, where I decided to purchase my dream home. This is my story.

After several years of vacationing in Lucca to visit our son Paul at the University, we discoverede he had fallen in love with a local woman named Sofia. Their relationship blossomed… Paul’s deep connection to Sofia and his growing affection for the area inspired us to consider a more permanent presence here. Ultimately, this is why we decided to buy a house in Lucca, precisely in the surrounding areas of Ponte a Moriano, Marlia, Nozzano, and Bagni di Lucca.

buy farmhouse to restore lucca countryside
Nozzano Castello

The Allure of Lucca

The Lucca countryside is a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Ponte a Moriano, Marlia, and Bagni di Lucca are particularly captivating areas within this region. Ponte a Moriano is known for its picturesque landscape along the Serchio River, offering tranquility and stunning views. Marlia boasts sprawling estates and elegant villas, often surrounded by lush gardens. Bagni di Lucca, famous for its thermal baths, combines natural beauty with historical charm.

The Search for the Perfect Home

I did not know anyone in Italy, nor did I know a real estate agent. My search for the perfect property began online, using keywords such as “buy house in Lucca” and “Lucca countryside real estate.” I soon realized that local real estate agents could provide more personalized and in-depth market insights.

I visited numerous properties, including rustic farmhouses, elegant villas, and charming cottages. Prices varied significantly depending on the type of property and location. In areas like Marlia and Ponte a Moriano, prices for houses could range from €1,500 to €2,500 per square meter for rustic farmhouses, while villas could cost between €2,500 and €4,000 per square meter.

AreaType of PropertyPrice per Square Meter (€)
Ponte a MorianoGeneral Houses€1,500 – €2,500
MarliaRustic Farmhouses€2,000 – €3,500
MarliaVillas€3,000 – €4,500
Bagni di LuccaGeneral Houses€1,200 – €2,000

I was particularly drawn to a traditional Tuscan farmhouse in Marlia, featuring exposed beams and terracotta floors, nestled among olive trees and vineyards.

Navigating the Legalities

Buying property in Italy as a foreigner can be complex. I enlisted the help of a bilingual lawyer specializing in real estate transactions. They guided me through the intricacies of Italian property law, ensuring all necessary documentation was in place.

One crucial step was finding dedicated legal assistance.

I have found through Google Maps Italy Law Firms, and I thank God about their help in finding the property in Lucca, obtaining all the legal documents (Property Evaluation, Codice Fiscale, Italian bank account) to facilitate the purchase. The legal process included signing a preliminary contract (Compromesso) and a final deed of sale (Rogito) in the presence of a notary.

One day, while exploring various options with the help of a local real estate agent provided by Michele and his staff, I stumbled upon Nozzano, made it the perfect choice.

The Renovation Journey

Renovating the farmhouse was both exciting and challenging. The property needed extensive work, including structural repairs, modernizing the electrical and plumbing systems, and restoring historical features.

Initial Assessment and Planning

I hired a local architect who specialized in historical properties. Together, we assessed the structural integrity of the building and developed a comprehensive renovation plan.

Securing Permits

Renovating a historical property in Italy requires several permits. We obtained approvals from the local municipality and heritage preservation authorities, ensuring that all work complied with regulations.

Structural Repairs

The first major task was reinforcing the foundation and repairing the roof. Local craftsmen restored the original wooden beams and terracotta tiles, preserving the farmhouse’s character.

Modernizing Infrastructure

Updating the electrical and plumbing systems was crucial. We installed new wiring and pipes, ensuring the house met modern standards while maintaining its historical charm.

Restoring Historical Features

The farmhouse’s original features, such as the stone fireplace and terracotta floors, were meticulously restored. We used traditional materials and techniques to maintain authenticity.

Interior Design

I worked with a local interior designer to create a space that blended rustic charm with modern comfort. We furnished the house with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Average Renovation Costs

1. Initial Assessment and Planning

  • Architect and Engineer Fees: Hiring a local architect and engineer for an initial assessment and planning can cost between €1,500 to €3,000. This involves structural assessment, creating renovation plans, and obtaining necessary permits.

2. Structural Repairs

  • Foundation and Roof Reinforcement: Structural repairs are crucial, especially for older properties. Costs for foundation and roof reinforcement range from €10,000 to €25,000, depending on the extent of the damage and size of the property.
  • Masonry Work: Repairing or restoring stone walls can cost between €100 to €200 per square meter.

3. Modernizing Infrastructure

  • Electrical System: Rewiring the entire house to meet modern standards typically costs around €3,000 to €5,000.
  • Plumbing System: Updating the plumbing system, including installing new pipes and fixtures, can range from €4,000 to €7,000.

4. Restoring Historical Features

  • Restoration of Wooden Beams and Terracotta Floors: Preserving and restoring original features like wooden beams and terracotta floors can cost between €50 to €150 per square meter.
  • Fireplace Restoration: Restoring a traditional stone fireplace usually costs around €1,000 to €2,500.

5. Interior Renovations

  • Walls and Ceilings: Plastering, painting, and minor repairs to walls and ceilings can cost between €20 to €40 per square meter.
  • Flooring: Installing new flooring or restoring existing floors can range from €30 to €100 per square meter, depending on the materials used.
  • Bathrooms and Kitchen: Renovating these essential areas, including new tiling, fixtures, and modern appliances, can cost between €5,000 to €15,000 per room.

6. Exterior and Landscaping

  • Facade Repair: Repairing and painting the exterior facade can cost around €30 to €60 per square meter.
  • Landscaping: Landscaping the garden, including planting trees, creating pathways, and installing irrigation systems, can range from €5,000 to €15,000.

Total Estimated Costs

For a comprehensive renovation of a countryside house in these areas, the total costs can vary widely based on the size of the property, the extent of the renovations required, and the specific features of the house. Here’s a rough estimate:

  • Minor Renovations: €30,000 to €50,000
  • Moderate Renovations: €50,000 to €100,000
  • Extensive Renovations: €100,000 to €200,000