Picture this for a lifestyle change: Youâ€™re driving back from the beach in a red Alfa Romeo convertible, winding your way through aromatic Tuscan vineyards at dusk. You round the corner, marked by a hilltop castle, and pass a field of sunflowers. Turning onto a dirt road, you see your house come into view: a stone-walled villa with a large garden and a vista over the hills. Unfortunately, many others have already bought into that dream. The hills just north of Sienaâ€” playfully known as â€™Chiantishireâ€™ for the number of English homeowners thereâ€”have become exceedingly expensive.
The same is true around Todi, in Umbria, also studded with million-dollar homes. But other areas of Umbria still offer up bargains. Terni, for example, is an oft-overlooked corner of Umbria, which is surprising when you consider that it is only 40 minutes from Rome by train. Itâ€™s also not too far from Perugia, a mecca for foreigners, thanks to its university. As Tuscany and Umbria outprice themselves, Le Marche has become the next frontier for foreign homeowners. There are loads of bargains in this mountainous region by the sea, although admittedly it is farther away from international airports than its famous neighbors.