“Ten years ago the Tuscan market was 80 per cent in the countryside — wrecks to renovate in Chianti, for example — and 20 per cent in Florence,” says long-time Tuscan resident Bill Thomson, chairman of Knight Frank’s Italian network.
“Now it is the reverse. The market has become more refined in terms of what people want and that means cities. There has been a move inexorably towards Florence.”
Live in a palazzo
A city apartment has several advantages over its country cousin. There’s no garden or pool to maintain and heating and maintenance costs are therefore lower. The rental season is generally longer, producing better yields, and it is easier to lock up and leave, which makes it ideal for spontaneous weekend visits.
Combine that with Florence’s specific charms of wonderful culture in a compact city close to rolling countryside, with delicious food and wine, and the appeal is clear.
New residents demand high-quality renovations and Palazzo Bardi was one of the first examples on the market. The beautiful 16th-century palace with a courtyard by Filippo Brunelleschi, architect of Florence Cathedral’s magnificent dome, was renovated eight years ago.
The 18 apartments created sold well, mainly to British buyers. Now two apartments have come up for resale through Knight Frank. A fully furnished studio with mezzanine bedroom, covered in restored original frescoes, is £360,520. This would make a generous and welcoming pied-à-terre.
Flats near smart shops
The Palazzo Tornabuoni in Florence’s most prestigious shopping street has also notched up some high-end sales this year. Studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments with sleek, contemporary interiors start from £613,000.
Behind Via Tornabuoni in a charming, quiet street within view of the Arno river, a mini palazzo has been divided into seven flats. A spacious, fabulously comfortable, one-bedroom furnished flat is for sale at £620,000 with service charges of less than £70 a month.
Knight Frank: www.knightfrank.com (020 7861 5269)
Casa & Country: www.casaandcountry.com