Where aristocratic and national popular
meet for a secure investment
Today a dear friend and client, a Tuscan, asked me what I thought about his idea of investing in a house with garden in the Tyrhennian coastal area known as Versilia, with the idea of remodeling it and possibly selling it later. The correct observation that prompts him to purchase now is the fact that, in this year of continuous lockdowns, whether moderate or strict, many Italians have rediscovered the importance of living in nature, surrounded by green and loved even more the sea, and the focus of their thoughts and dreams of home ownership has turned with renewed vigor toward a house with a garden.
The reason lies in the nature of this place as the only town along the Tuscan coast to be characterized by a truly varied market of buyers.
In the years from 2008 to 2014 I did a lot of work in Versilia: I was promoting the sale at the international level of estates along the Tuscan coast, particularly on the Russian market, at important real estate trade fairs held in Moscow, and I even had a website in .ru which ran pretty well on the Russian search engine, Yandex. Also, I took a full-page ad for an article every summer in Forte Magazine, which is published in Versilia and is always translated into three languages, including Russian. All these initiatives led to several negotiations with offers that would seem surprising these days, but that at the time were often rejected. I had the good fortune to bring some of these negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion, however, and arranged some excellent deals between Italian sellers and foreign buyers. Those were exciting years indeed! My experience at that time gave me the opportunity to fully explore the peculiarities and even some secret features of the Versilia real estate market, after what had been my previous occupation and early training in the “second home” market in the countryside around Florence and Siena. In light of this experience, my answer to this friend and client today was as follows:
If you purchase in Versilia with the idea of improving and reselling the property, Forte dei Marmi is the place to do it!
The reason lies in the nature of Forte dei Marmi as the only town along the Tuscan coast to be characterized by a truly varied market of buyers: not only Tuscan and Lombard entrepreneurs, but also some from the Emilia Region and many foreigners, Russian but also Swiss and even a few Anglo-Saxons. Nowhere else in Tuscany is there a comparable real estate market, not even in Florence. In short, I told him, allowing for the proper proportionality, the clientele of the Forte is almost as diverse as that of London, such is the host of its wealthy enthusiasts and it is this that makes every investment there safer than anywhere else. I pointed out how, even during the summer months after the lockdown, most of the shops in Forte dei Marmi were the only ones, as reported in the economic daily Sole24Ore, that managed to maintain the same levels of sales as in previous years, while on Milan’s Via Montenapoleone and Florence’s Via Tornabuoni sales were sluggish. This was true because the wives, daughters and even a few husbands of that wealthy northern industrial aristocracy moved their entire households to their summer homes in Forte right from the period of the lockdown and, obviously, as the most effective antistress measure at a time of pandemic, took advantage of the ample opportunities for shopping.
One of those emblematic, magical places where the Italian industrial aristocracy meets the upper and lower middle class in a truly Italian cocktail, as Italian as the Negroni.
But why Forte dei Marmi in particular? Why there and not somewhere else? Actually it does happen elsewhere in Italy, and precisely on the island of Capri, at Santa Margherita and Portofino and in Cortina d’Ampezzo. These locations, equally accessible and beloved, share in some way with Forte dei Marmi the same destiny. To answer the question I would say, also starting from the particular viewpoint of the real estate agent, that many clients, both men and women, seem to be afflicted with the same singular and painless “disease” which we might call “Fortemarmite”! Because there are really a lot of people who aspire to have a house at Forte and put it at the top of their wish list. I think it is probably because Forte dei Marmi is one of those emblematic, magical places where the Italian industrial aristocracy meets the upper and lower middle class in a truly Italian cocktail, as Italian as the Negroni, that is mixed by the middle class itself on closer inspection, by the desire to live like the aristocracy of an important society, moved by the human desire to ensure that your daughters marry well, or perhaps, more simply and more often to built significant friendships that will later become professional gateways. What better and more inclusive place than the beach and shady pinewoods of adolescent summers where social differences disappear in the light heartedness depicted in the charming movies about the fabulous Sixties?
That’s why Forte dei Marmi is so profoundly Italian, because in this vitalistic and social meeting it is fully national popular, brought to life anew almost ritually every summer.
Personally, I have no doubt in declaring that the fascination attached to Forte dei Marmi arises from and is a consequence of the desire to belong to it, and this has seduced even the European and Russian clientele (the latter perhaps more than any other) who understand it and have chosen it as the perfect place for the relax of the family. There is no other way to explain the purchase of hundreds of estates, houses and apartment starting in the early 2000s by the rising Russian bourgeoisie, unless you have visited Russia and seen clearly how Forte dei Marmi is an ideal replica – with its shady pinewoods and the Muscovite houses – of Rublyovka with their equally serene and private environment for the family. Other seaside locations along the Mediterranean shores have been chosen for other types of amusement, but Forte dei Marmi belongs to the category that the Russians, after the Milanese, the Parmesans and the Pratesi have chosen as their gathering place in the summer, surrounded by their nearest and dearest. For that reason, these foreign communities will always want to increase their presence at Forte thanks to the power of youthful memories of their family life and childhood, so that for them as for the Italians, the fondness for this place will be eternal.
I don’t think I need to tell you how much this certainty of lasting value means for the security of a high quality property investment.
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