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Italy occupies the Apennine Peninsula and the islands around it, the largest being Sardinia and Sicily. On the north, the Peninsula is protected from winds by the snow-capped Italian Alps. Thanks in no small part to this natural wall, Italy enjoys a unique temperate climate which draws to this well-developed European nation hordes of tourists and real estate buyers from all over the world. Italy does not have harsh cold winters, nor does it very often experience exhausting heat in the summer.

True enough, there are quite a few places in the world with a pleasant climate, but nature alone is not always enough to make one fall head over heels in love with a place. Italy’s phenomenon lies in a different plane. At a certain point of its historical development Italy made a fantastically pragmatic choice: it decided to stay away from the desperate race of high technologies, off-shore models or competition based on cheap labor force in the manner of Asia. The nation focused on something it was better at than anybody else in the world. Namely, its understanding of the balance between sophistication and centuries-old refined sense of style which turned out to be quite an expensive commodity after all.

As a result, in the 20th century Italy became a leading country in industrial design, fashion, architecture, and luxury goods industry. Someone might argue that neighboring France is also a force to be reckoned with in all these fields. It is, indeed, particularly in wines, fashion, and life style. But who can compete against Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini? Who can approach the aesthetic appeal of the Italian Beretta? And who can nowadays beat an Italian design bureau?

The Italian people have applied their ingrained sense of style and time-honored traditions richly imbued with antiquity to develop their own “art of living”. It has something to do with their ability to create a unique environment – they take the nature’s potential, intensify it by means of architecture and perpetuate harmony through an appropriate lifestyle, “concept of living”. As a result, one can find luxury waterfront villas, fishermen’s villages and well-developed mooring infrastructure for yachts and boats, all comfortably and unobtrusively sharing the same park or lake. And they do not just share it, they complement each other, exist in harmony, all working together to create unique environment of the commune, region, or province. It is no coincidence that real estate in Italy is so popular among the well-to-do who value comforts of life. They view villas, houses, and luxury apartments in Italy not only as property for seasonal occupancy or a “base” for doing business in the country, but also as a reliable investment asset. Prices for real estate in the most prestigious areas of Northern Italy, particularly around Como and Lago Maggiore lakes, can grow as much as 10%-15% per year. In the midst of the global financial crisis, prices of the unique properties situated on the lakes did not budge a bit unlike many other segments.

Wealthy Europeans give preference to Italy also due to its good geographic position. In the north Italy borders Austria, Switzerland, and France. Italy boasts its own Ligurian Rivera which lies quite near the French Côte d'Azur and the Principality of Monaco. Italy is also home to several mini-states: Europe’s oldest state San-Marino and the city-state Vatican. When people purchase real estate property in Italy, they usually buy much more than just a place for comfortable living and an appreciating asset – they buy a new way of life with impeccable sense of style which has taken centuries to mold.