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The process of buying and restoring an apartment in Venice is as bizarre, byzantine, gaudy and wonderful as the city itself. If you’ve done this kind of thing before at home, be ready to pick up your carefully collated giant book of know-how and toss it into the canal. You’re going to have to put yourself in the hands of people who actually understand - practically, viscerally, emotionally - what it takes to achieve the impossible: to buy a home in a place that really only ex...ists in the imagination, strip it to its mouldering underpants and rebuild it as the little palace you’d imagined before you knew you were out of your mind. To do this in a fairytale setting that has as much to do with normality as Pittsburgh does with Narnia, whose bureaucracy resembles some attenuated Vivaldi oboe concerto that refuses to stop, where there is no translation of the phrase ‘no problem’, where brick is a word for water, ‘yes’ means ‘possibly’, ‘possibly’ means ‘almost certainly not’ and ’no’ means ‘I don’t want to’.

To me the whole process can be summed up very simply. If you don’t have Andrea and Massimiliano, don’t do it.

But if you do; gird your loins, grit your teeth, hang on to your wallet and jump.

I could go into detail. I could tell you about the apartment owner who signed the deed and dropped dead: the septic tank which didn’t exist, but did, that when opened resembled a passageway to the Orc city of Darrowdelf: the walls that rained. I could tell tales of kitchen shops with two plastic lemon-squeezers and and a piece of string, of a single visit to Ikea requiring five return railway tickets to Padova, of driving a borrowed Fiat Punto round the rings of Satan’s rectum known as Mestre and Marghera. But that would be misleading.

Because despite being utterly bonkers, it’s so worth it.

You’re going to be in possession of an actual piece of Atlantis. You’re going to be in love, transported, amazed every morning, all day; and when you go to bed you’ll dream weird dreams. You’ll be suddenly popular, have phalanxes of friends and quadruple the Instagram followers. You’ll be given the key to the world beyond the yellow signs to San Marco and Rialto. You’ll move among the shadowy race who glide over bridges pulling little shopping carts, frequent supermarkets, hop the vaporetto to Giudecca for free, know how to get to Pellestrina and pronounce Chioggia. You’ll ‘tsk’ at the pink, idle, desultory fools meandering fat and four abreast down narrow passages, stopping every few seconds in thrall to some crap in a mask shop window, pausing at the crest of each bridge gazing back blankly, seeking out their wife and kids, who it turns out are right beside them doing the same thing. Instead of being one.

But you will need Andrea and Massimiliano. There’s no other way.



Last year when I told my friends and family that Andrew and I were planning to purchase a flat in Venice, the responses were " how lovely, extravagant but how complicated and do you realise that Venice is sinking?" My response was very simple, for 4 years my apartment in Garrick Villa near Hampton court was very seriously burnt and in ruining so I am sure we could now cope with the charming risk of Venice! After 4 stressful years we finally managed to renovate and sale my Hampton Court property on the 12 of December 2012, And was on the search for my next challenge.

We completed the purchase of my lovely Venetian apartment on Friday the 13 of September 2013, had it refurbished and moved in 3 months later on Friday the 13 of December 2013. All these strange dates turned out being pure coincidence but how interesting.... Please be aware that it is a true challenge to buy and also renovate your property in Venice, if you are not surrounded by the right team!

The apartment before the works:

While searching on the Internet for properties, I came across Andrea's website "Properties in Italy " and I can assure you that what you read on his site is totally correct. Andrea's purchase service is absolutely incredible and perfect. Andrea arranged and took us to visit over 20 properties in 2 days and found us the best possible property for our budget with two canals views on the first floor. The purchase process was smooth as Andrea with the help of Max, his recommended solicitor, took care of all details. We did not expect this level of service as we never experienced it before in the UK or France.

Andrea's project management service and renovation skills were my biggest surprise! On a very short time scale of 3 months, he managed to price the work and also organise it with local builders from Padova. The final result is fantastic, on time, on budget and beautifully finished. This is to Andrea's credit his talent and honesty. The design was very complicated and very demanding, and Andrea should really be proud of what he had achieved there. In my profession, I am used to large complexed luxury projects as every day I am designing and supervising the build of large privately owned superyachts in Europe. Therefore my positive comments on Andrea's service and his artisans are based on long years of experience in these matters.

The apartment after the works

I wish Andrea future success with his next clients. Who ever is reading my "Venetian experience" please be assured that you will be in totally safe hands with "Properties in Italy" and Andrea's service.

Please find below a few photos of before and after, as I believe that images will speak for themselves.

Pascale Reymond and Andrew Langton - December 2013


I have often said that it is impossible to visit Venice once. Unless you are impervious to beauty, history, art, food, culture and sheer crazy sensuousness, you will find yourself wanting - needing, even - to visit again.

I had been coming to Venice as a visitor for many years - my father used to teach history at the University and when I was small I would come with my mother and my sister for three months at a time. Ever since then, I have taken many trips back, and of course I wanted my own wife and children to experience this crazy city. However, these visits were only ever for three or four days and one has no choice on such trips but to rush around the city with a guidebook and a map making sure that you see the important sites, and I was anxious to rediscover the feeling of actually experiencing the way of life which I had known when I was a young child.

So, one evening Victoria and I had what seemed at the time like a silly conversation about the viability of actually owning a property in Venice. It was such a beautiful idea, but it seemed too complicated and out of reach. We knew nothing about how to purchase property overseas, what the pitfalls and complications might be, where the hidden costs would lie, what might be the particular peculiarities of purchasing in Italy.

The apartment before the works

Nevertheless, we sent away some emails to estate agents we had found after a hunt around on Google. We heard nothing from almost all of the agencies we contacted, but one, Properties In Italy, replied quickly (and in excellent English!) to ask a few more questions and sow the seed of the idea that this purchase might not be quite so out-of-reach after all. An email correspondence was quickly established in which the manager of Properties In Italy, the wonderful Andrea Redivo Zaglia, asked about what we wanted, our budget, the areas of the city we liked, how much renovation we were prepared to do, and so forth. With this information, over the course of the following few weeks, we were sent selections of flats - all different, all possible, and all of which were clearly selected with care and with our requirements in mind. This is not an agency that just throws out identical newsletter-type listings to everyone - the great strength of this company is the personal care shown throughout every step of the process.

And so it was that, one cold December morning, we found ourselves in Venice with a list of about ten properties to visit. This part is such great fun; let's face it, we're all a bit nosey, so having a look around people's houses in a foreign country is a fantastic way to spend a couple of days. Keeping up with Andrea's almost superhuman walking pace around the Venetian streets was also something of a challenge. By the end of this trip, we had selected a flat that was within budget and requiring just the right amount of renovation to enable us to do what we wanted to create something personal to us. We went back to the UK excited and ready for things to get moving in the new year.

At this point, Avv. Massimiliano De Benetti from law firm Studio Legale became fully involved. We had met Max briefly and had emailed to and from a few times. He has been through this process many times, and like Andrea he speaks excellent English and there is no question too stupid - whatever you need to ask is fine! Max dealt superbly with all the legalities of the sale, keeping us fully informed every step of the way. There genuinely were no surprises - I know this seems almost impossible to believe when you're thinking about property deals, especially when you're in a different country, but it is absolutely true. Offers were made, rejected, adjusted, haggled over and then accepted, and before we knew it, we had an email from Max congratulating us on being the owners of a property in Venice.

This is when the real fun began. You can see from the 'before' pictures that our flat was, to say the least, somewhat unloved by its previous owner. It offered a great deal of potential, but it needed to be brought back to life. Before long, Andrea was discussing knocking down interior walls, new flooring, where to buy the best quality kitchen, paint colour, how to get connected to the internet, local taxes, the best shade of tiles and so on. I hope you can see that the service his company provides does not stop once the contract is signed. He even helped us to set up direct debits with the utility companies and translated emails from the bank.

The apartment after the works

At the time of writing this, we have owned the flat for about four months, and it is - we hope - completely different from the rather beige shell of a place it had been. The builders were efficient, friendly and highly professional, and I can't quite believe how much has happened in the relatively short time since we sent that first speculative email to Andrea. We have just spent a very happy month in Venice buying furniture and getting the flat looking like a second home. We can't wait to get back and to really take part in the life of the city.

At the very start of the process, Andrea gave me a spreadsheet with the costs of the purchase laid out clearly. You'll be interested to know that, six months later, I looked at the spreadsheet again and worked out that the purchase had cost exactly (and I mean exactly) what he said it would. The same, incidentally, was true for the building costs. Any extras here were at my instigation - things like air conditioning units, re-painting shutters etc, which I had added to the list at the last minute.

So, if you are dreaming about purchasing property in Italy, I hope this story persuades you to go for it. At the start it will almost certainly seem at least a little intimidating, but with the team from Properties In Italy to help, you'll be collecting the keys to your new front door before you know it.

Victoria & James Lowry - August 2013



Having just moved into my brand new home right in the heart of the beautiful Euganean Hills, south of Padova in Italy, I wanted to tell everybody about the experience.

Having wanted to move from Ireland to Italy for the past few years, I was waiting for the right property to come along. I had a definite list of requirements: my new home had to be easily accessible to flights to and from Ireland; I needed at least two bedrooms; I absolutely had to have someplace to sit outside during warm evenings - my dream - and shops, markets and all facilities needed to be near at hand. Plus, I did not want to feel isolated from whatever community I came to live in; neighbours close by and visible were an essential element to my move.

Over a period of almost three years, I looked at several properties throughout quite a few areas in Italy. None of them quite managed to tick off enough boxes for me to consider purchasing. For myriad reasons, I knew that the procedure of moving my home and residency lock, stock and barrel was always going to be a huge step and I was filled with trepidation; especially upon reading all the horror stories in various publications regarding Italian bureaucracy and "shady" building contractors!

In September 2012 - only six months ago - I read Italia! Magazine on line and saw that there was still a house available in a small development I had read about a few years previously. A new house; it would give me the opportunity to finish it in my own style, choosing tiles, sanitary-ware and kitchen. I immediately emailed the agent, Andrea Redivo Zaglia of Properties in Italy and received an impressively speedy response. Within three weeks - and after a great deal of communication - I was in Padova where I met with Andrea and Avvocato Massimiliano De Benetti (Max). Both Max and Andrea speak English fluently, which was a huge bonus, plus they are well accustomed to handling work for English speaking clients.

A wonderful day was spent in The Euganean Hills looking at several properties, with an essential stop for a relaxed lunch. However, the house I had especially wanted to view was the one I put an offer on without delay.

Max handled the negotiations and, within a couple of weeks, the deal had been done and I was back in Padova to sign the preliminary contract. This proved a lengthy affair, which lasted several hours and I brought a friend with me to keep an eye on things in case I missed anything. I need not have worried as everything went without a hitch. The next day I went with the architect to choose tiles, sanitary-ware and a kitchen; exactly as planned. Luckily, his English is also perfect and he has been a great help to me throughout the entire procedure.

Final signing took place in early March. It was a grand occasion; I went with Max, Andrea and Max's assistant to the office of the Notaio. Only having read various accounts in books and magazines about such formalities, I was pleasantly surprised at how relaxed, yet thoroughly detailed, the whole meeting turned out to be. The vendors were also present and we all sat around a long table with the Notaio at one end chairing the meeting, which again lasted quite a number of hours. Upon signing and handing over of the relevant payment, we all shook hands happily and went our separate ways. Highly civilized!

I have now moved into my brand new Italian home in The Euganean Hills. I am close to four airports: Venice Marco Polo; Verona; Treviso and Bologna. Shops, supermarkets, banks, post-offices, hospitals, restaurants, Palladian villas to visit….all are on my doorstep. I have a small garden, where I plan to sit during the warm summer evenings. I have exactly the amount of accommodation I require and lots of friendly neighbours. The location feels rural, with lots of walking and cycling on offer, yet everything is within a few minutes reach. All the boxes have been ticked.

I can honestly say that Andrea and Max have looked after me extremely well; patiently answering my endless questions without complaint and have smoothed over any potential difficulties along the way. They always respond to any queries without delay. I look forward to my new life here in Italy with my new friends.

I also hope to continue my career as an interior designer here in Italy. My website is

ORNA O'REILLY. March 2013


We were walking along the fondamenta on Giudecca when Andrea stopped and turned around. "Actually," he said, "I think this is the flat you are looking for." We entered an arched doorway and climbed up to the top floor. Andrea let us in. We looked out of the windows and almost instantly, we knew he was right.

The dream

Our dream of an apartment in Venice started years ago. This magical city has been special to us since we got engaged at Caffe Florian on the Piazza San Marco during Carnevale in 1985. We have visited regularly, often several times a year, alone - together and later with our two sons. Last spring we decided to stop renting and look into buying. Quite by chance, after searching the internet for apartments, we came across Andrea Redivo Zaglia and his company Properties in Italy. He immediately responded to our inquiries and asked for a 'wish list'. We knew what we wanted: A place with light and view, tucked away from the tourist crowds. There are lots of places for sale, but not so easy to find the right one on your own. Andrea knew exactly what to do. He offered to set up viewings according to our wishes, and was very well prepared when we visited the city in July 2011. It was then, by the end of the first afternoon together, that we first entered the apartment we now own.

Invaluable services

We had been told that the buying process in Italy could take ages and be difficult and demanding. With the invaluable help from Andrea and also the lawyer Massimiliano De Benetti it proved unbelievably quick and easy. We first visited the flat on the 20th of July. On the 22nd of October we received the keys. Andrea and Massimiliano guided us through offers, contracts, bank visits, signing at the Notaio's office and helped us with lots of necessary practicalities. They have answered questions, listened to worries and shared the joy. This total 'package' of services, that also includes how to set up life in Venice, is unique and we realize how difficult it would have been to do all this on our own.

This Christmas we had our first family holiday in the apartment. We stood by the same window as back in July, enjoying the sight of the golden terracotta roofs, the dome of the church Santa Maria della Salute half hidden in the morning mist and the now familiar sounds from the vaporettos and boats on the Canale Giudecca. Taking in the sounds and views of this beautiful city, we knew: Our dream has come true.

Ingeborg Dybvig and Oddbjørn Sørmoen, Oslo, Norway


Six years ago my husband’s job transferred us from England to Italy. We were excited, but once we discovered we would be moving to the Veneto area, we were overjoyed. Veneto is one of the most beautiful, serene, magical places in Italy. The more we researched the Veneto; we were convinced this was the area where we wanted to purchase a home. While we found many property sites on the internet, we decided to contact Properties in Italy as they specialize in properties in the Veneto area. We arranged to meet them once we arrived in Italy. From the moment we met them, we knew they were special. Their passion and knowledge of “the hills” (Euganean Hills) was apparent. We could not have imagined the wonderful journey we were to embark on for the 3 years we lived in Italy. We purchased a beautiful home where we created some amazing memories. From the time we purchased our home to the restoration phase, their assistance, loyalty and commitment was constant. Sadly, my husband and I were once again transferred to another country after 3 years. When we decided to sell our home, they were alongside us again; from finding a buyer (Andrea) to navigating the legalities of buying and selling our home in Italy (Massimiliano De Benetti - 'Max'). We have not given up on our dream of one day returning to the Veneto area. When that day comes, we trust Andrea and Max will be a big part of our continual journey.

Please contact us for further details.

Rob and Norma McMillan

Rob and Norma in Pizzo (Calabria) - Summer reunion with Andrea, Marta, Silvia and Max

Norma & Rob in Pizzo Calabria.jpg


Die Renovierung

Mit der Schlüsselübergabe für unsere Wohnung Ca´Degolin Ende Dezember 2010 begann die konkrete Planung der Renovierungsmaßnahmen. Renovierung ist allerdings nicht wirklich zutreffend. Vielmehr war es eine Generalsanierung mit tiefgreifenden Umbauten. Die Wohnung war im original 60er Jahre Zustand. Sie hatte neben dem Gasherd in der Küche keine Heizung und nur ein Bad. Es galt daher zu klären, ob es bautechnisch möglich ist, die Küche an die andere Seite der Wohnung zu bringen, ein zweites Bad einzubauen und einen großen Durchgang zwischen dem Eingangsbereich und der Küche sowie dem Wohnzimmer zu realisieren. Weiter musste ein Platz für das externe Klimagerät gefunden werden, welcher mit den Vorstellungen der Nachbarn kompatibel war. Im Wohnzimmer ging ein Stahlanker von der Aussenwand mehrere Meter nach innen, der natürlich nicht entfernt werden konnte und zur Gesamtstabilität des Gebäudes beitrug. All das waren Punkte die berücksichtigt und geklärt und vor allem auch mit den zuständigen venezianischen Behörden abgestimmt werden mussten. Schon an dieser Stelle ist klar, dass man als Ausländer und in diesen Dingen absolut Ortsfremder, ganz sicher keine realistische Chance hätte. Mit anderen Worten, auch in diesem Kontext, wäre nichts ohne Andreas und Massimilianos Hilfe gegangen. Andrea beauftragte die erforderlichen Spezialisten, also den Geometra und den Architekten sowie die ausführenden Firmen, überwachte wiederum nicht nur den Verlauf der Baumaßnahmen, sondern auch die Aktivitäten der Koordinatoren. Weiter waren wir mehrmals gemeinsam unterwegs um die Ausstattung festzulegen, also Fliesen, Böden, Fenster und Türen sowie deren Ausführungen. Nicht zu vergessen die Preisverhandlungen mit den Lieferanten und Handwerkern! Dabei dachte Andrea an die kleinsten Details, bis zur Lage und Form der Steckdosen und der Höhe der Bodenleisten. Da wir ja nicht die einzigen Kunden waren, wie man in den anderen Beschreibungen hier nachlesen kann, koordinierte er parallel mehrere Baustellen in Venedig. Das schafft auf der einen Seite Synergien, aber auf der anderen Seite gerne auch mal das eine oder andere Abstimmungs- und Terminproblem. Dennoch, es gab nichts, was Andrea nicht vollständig geregelt hätte. Am Ende ist alles so geworden, wie wir es uns vorstellten. Ohne die Unterstützung und die Gesamtkoordination von Andrea hätten wir das allerdings nicht geschafft. Aber andererseits hätten wir ja auch keine renovierungsbedürftige Wohnung gekauft, wenn wir nicht gewusst hätten wie exzellent Properties in Italy hier unterstützt. Es ist also sehr gut geworden. Nun die entscheidende Frage: Würden wir es wieder so machen? Die Antwort ist ganz klar, JA!

The renovation

With handover of the keys to our apartment Ca'Degolin at the end of December 2010 the planning of the renovation started. Rather, it was a complete refurbishment with profound alterations. The apartment was in the original 60s state. There was no heating, only one bathroom and oldfashioned floorings. In addition we had to clarify whether it is structurally possible to bring the kitchen to the other side of the house, install a second bathroom and realize a wide passage between the entrance and the kitchen and the living room. A place for the external air conditioning unit had to be found compatible with the ideas of the neighbours. A steel joist in the wall of the living room, contributing to the overall stability of the building, had to be considered when we decided to change the layout of the apartment. All these points had to be agreed, especially with the authorities in Venice. Already at this point is clear that you absolutely, as a foreigner, certainly would have no realistic chance. In other words, even in this context, nothing would have been without Andrea and Massimiliano's help. Andrea asked the necessary specialists, so the Geometra and the architects and contractors, in turn, supervised not only the course of construction, but also the activities of the coordinators. Next we were traveling together several times to set the equipment, so tiles, floors, windows and doors and their variants. Not to mention the price negotiations with suppliers and craftsmen! Here Andrea thought of the smallest details, to the position and shape of the sockets and the height of the wall skirting. Since we were not the only customers, as you can read in the other descriptions here, in parallel, he coordinated several construction sites in Venice. This creates synergies on the one hand, but also one or the other coordination and scheduling problem. Nevertheless, there was nothing that Andrea had not completely regulated, doing a 24h job! In the end everything turned out the way we had imagined. Without the support and overall coordination of Andrea, however, we would not have made it. To say the truth, we would have never bought any apartment in need of renovation, if we did not know how excellent properties in Italy supported here. So it's been very good! Now the crucial question: Would we make it back this way? The answer is clearly YES!

Henrike und Michael Wochinger, Bayern - October 2011

A Venetian Adventure - UPDATE

We have just returned from Venice, having been able, for the first time to enjoy our new holiday apartment, christened Ca' Masena, now fully renovated and furnished. Eight months have passed since its purchase and we are delighted with the end result.

This has been achieved with the invaluable assistance of Andrea, without whom the project would have stalled several times. So we feel a certain sense of triumph which certainly must be shared with him! Andrea's help included contracting and liaising with the workmen and craftsmen required for the restoration, and smoothing the path where and when necessary. All obstacles were finally vanquished and we were able to appreciate the results of all their combined efforts.A final flourish to the project was an enjoyable trip with Andrea to the Euganean Hills to buy some terracotta pots and plants for our courtyard. At the same time, he gave us a wonderful 'Grand Tour' of the Hills.

The tour took in visits to two other 'Properties in Italy' projects. One of these was complete and beautifully restored, 'The Tower'. The other is a larger ongoing project in another lovely hill setting, the Miller's House. This is receiving all the necessary attention that it deserves with materials carefully selected to enhance the original character of the house. We could clearly see that the choices for all the interior detailing will ensure that the final renovation is in keeping with other houses in the area.

Ca' Masena looks set to serve our purposes, which was to act as a holiday rental, with bookings that have been very encouraging, and also as a holiday home for ourselves. We are truly satisfied customers and very grateful for all the help and attention to detail received!

Richard & Suzette Colson, London, August 2011


My wife and I (we are both in our fourties, with three children from 9 to 22 years old) decided to look for an apartment in Venice after staying on Lido for a week in June 2010. My family then had a summer cottage with a private beach in one of the most popular summer resorts in Norway, but after over 50 years of maintenance and - to put it mildly - unstable summer temperatures we found that we wanted to try something completely different. Venice seemed like a perfect choice; not only is the city itself spectacular but you get access to Veneto and Northern Italy with Padova, Vicenza, Verona, the Dolomites etc. We thought that the combination of culture, history, food, wine, the sun and beach life all seemed very attractive. For us who live just south of Oslo, only 30 min. from Rygge Airport, it is also very convenient to travel with just over two hours flight time to Treviso or Marco Polo. I started to make the necessary preparations (mental and practical) for selling my family´s cottage, and turned on my computer to start looking for information about Venice on the internet. I have to admit here that my command of the Italian language is nonexistent, so I was a bit nervous about how this would turn out.

Googling for a place in the sun

I started doing some searches on the Internet and quickly came across the website "Properties in Italy", among many others. Their website was very informative (in English…!) and inviting, so I sent a mail to them (Andrea) requesting some information. At that point we had not yet decided where in Venice we would like to buy, but we knew that we wanted a place with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and some sort of terrace. And not to expensive, of course. Our initial maximum price was € 600,000 , later we reduced this to € 500,000. "Properties in Italy" advertised a couple of apartments on Giudecca that I found interesting, and Andrea started - after my request - to send me emails offering me his services. I decided however to ask him to arrange some viewings on Giudecca and also other places. We first met in October 2010, and Andrea gave a very favorable first impression as a well spoken and serious estate agent. My wife and I didn't latch on to the properties he showed us then, and after viewing a couple of apartments on Lido with other agencies we decided to focus on Lido, since we really liked it there with its beautiful beaches and wonderful atmosphere. We figured that when we wanted to visit Venice we could just take a ten minute trip with the Vaporetto. The view of Venice from Lido is also quite spectacular.

To Lido or not

When we finally had decided to find a place on Lido we could start our search in earnest. Andrea did not represent any properties on Lido, as his main portfolio was in Venice, but he explained us that he could act as our agent on whatever property we wanted, as long as we did not contact any other agencies regarding a specific property first. This is VERY different from how it is done in my home country Norway, but Andrea was excellent in explaining the formalities (and expences...) connected with buying a property in Italy as a foreigner. As a rule I always got all the information I needed from Andrea (and later Massimiliano). I still hadn´t found a fitting apartment though. It was also quite annoying to try and get in contact with most of the other local agencies on the internet that had attractive properties - usually they didn´t bother to answer at all, and when they did they only replied in Italian telling me to contact them on their telephone! So Andrea was a huge exception to the rule with his quick, friendly and informative replies.

This is the place!

Then Andrea sent me the link to a website which has a clear and structured way of showing properties that makes it a lot easier to find interesting objects. I started a long and exciting process of searching for possible apartments, and then mailing possible candidates to Andrea for his opinion. I made lists of properties I would like to see in person and he then tried to arrange viewings for me for the dates I would be in Lido. After five trips and viewing around 25 properties I finally found one that I really liked in Via Barbarigo. As many other properties advertised on the web, the pictures of this apartment was dark and uninformative, to put it mildly. Italians don't seem to pay as much attention to take glossy and inviting pictures of their homes in the same extent as we do in Norway, and often it was even very hard to tell from the advert exactly where the apartment was located!! This, I learnt, is a well kept secret.... Anyway, the apartment in Barbarigo was in excellent condition, large (120 sqm), and had all the aspects that we were looking for; three bedrooms, two bathrooms, three verandas and it was within walking distance of Gran Viale (1 km.). The wonderful beach is also only 300 m. away. As an added bonus the building has roof terraces that provide a fantastic view over Lido and the Laguna. (this wasn't even mentioned in the advert, go figure....).

Meet my lawyer

After we had decided to start the process with bidding on the apartment, Andrea put me in contact with the lawyer Massimiliano De Benetti. He, just as Andrea, is very fluent in English and also very professional and service minded. He took us through the whole process of compromesso, atto and all other formalities involved. All expenses and procedures went just like Andrea and Massimiliano had foreseen so there was no surprices of any kind, which is a good thing when you are investing almost half a million Euro in a foreign country! However, being a Norwegian and used to the idea that Norway is the most expensive country in the world, it was quite a surprise to find that all the "extras" attached when buying a property in Italy is quite a bit pricier than in Norway. This has of course nothing to do with Andrea or Massimiliano, it is just the way things are done there. Also the formalities around buying a property is much more time consuming than in Norway. But, this is also an advantage as the bidding process is very relaxed and not at all stressful (but still exciting, of course). I was quite satisfied with the price we ended up with. It is important to remember that the asking price is based on the vendor's own judgement, it is not set by an agent or estate evaluator. So the price is just what the vendor would LIKE to get for the property, not a rational evaluation of the current market. You may save lots of Euros by being a bit careful placing your first bid.

Placing a bid, finalizing the contract and burning some bridges

The vendors accepted my first bid, and we signed a "compromesso" that stated the size of the deposit and when the final takeover of the apartment should be. This is quite flexible in Italy, and since I had a cottage to sell before I could finance the Venetian (Lidonian…?) apartment I gave myself a couple of months before the signing of the "atto" - the final contract, 1st. of July 2011. Then followed a bit stressful and hectic period in Norway where I had to get our summer cottage on the market (middle of May) and - if I were lucky - sell it as fast as possible to an acceptable price. To my great joy the cottage was sold in only four days, and the offered bid was exactly what I had been suggesting in my private budget for this project. Phew! Now was the first time I really could be certain that our Venetian dream would come true! Massimiliano, Andrea and I communicated by e-mails regarding what should be included in the final agreement, the "atto", and I also installed the first payment of Andrea´s commission. Andrea was very kind and flexible there in that he accepted my request (plea…!) to divide his commission in two payments. I asked him if it was OK that we waited till I got the money for the cottage and this he agreed to. We got an agreement with the vendors that the kitchen with fittings (stove, dishwasher, fridge) should be included in the price. The vendors also offered to sell the ceiling lamps etc. but we declined to buy since we wanted to find our own pieces. The practice here may vary, I have heard of apartments being sold with all furniture included - and this would of course be convenient if the buyer likes the style and quality of this. After some discussion about this we settled for a final version of the contract that the vendors accepted. Massimiliano and I then agreed to meet at the Notaio in Padova at the 1st. of July 2011. Italy here we come!

Help needed

After a three-hour (!!) long and incredibly boring (but pleasant) meeting on the 1st. of July at the Notaio in Padova, the apartment was ours and we could move in. As proper Scandinavians we were obliged a visit to IKEA in Padova to get the basics first, and we arrived at our new address at 1130 PM. It was very exciting to finally be there as owners. We were very happy with our purchase! We quickly discovered a water leakage in the kitchen, and Massimiliano arranged for a plumber (on the vendors expense) to repair it. This happened in the weekend but we got the plumber on the following Tuesday, together with the Internet technician from Telecom. I thought it was very promising that these things could be done on such short notice. In the following weeks I received some contracts and invoices from the different companies regarding gas, electricity, Internet etc. , and since I don't read Italian (yet....), Andrea was kind enough to translate the most vital sections in them for me! Prospective buyers that speak Italian have a huge advantage, as I find that very many locals don´t speak any English at all, and if they do it is often very basic. But to their credit, the Italians are very patient and friendly when you try out the handful of words you may have in your Italian vocabulary. For us soft-spoken Norwegians it sometimes feels like we should be screaming the words to reach the normal noise level of Italian conversation, it is certainly good for getting rid of our Northern inhibitions! Our apartment was in very good condition overall, but it needs some paint work on some surfaces, and Andrea has kindly gotten hold of a painter for us. My experience in general is that you can ask Andrea and Massimiliano about almost anything and they will try and help you at the best of their ability.

The dream of Italian design……

When it came to finding furniture, curtains, lighting and so on, we had initially decided to try and find Italian products, in addition to using IKEA for basic stuff like beds, closets etc. We did a fair bit of research and was somewhat disheartened with the steep prices we found on Italian furniture. But we went to Mestre one day to have a look for ourselves, and after viewing some very expensive stores we visited a shop, where the prices were much friendlier and the choice of manufacturers and styles quite expensive. We got a very favorable price with delivery and assembly included!. We will try and rent out the apartment to cover our expences, and we still have some work to do before the place is ready for guests. We haven't yet found someone locally on Lido that may help us with cleaning etc. but hopefully that will soon be sorted. It will therefore be an eventful and exciting year that we have ahead of us on Lido, we will know after the summer of 2012 or so if this has been a wise investment and if we can manage the expenses involved, with the help of income from rentals. We have now had the apartment since 1st. of July and we are very pleased with the location and quality of the property. Our Italian neighbors have all been very forthcoming and friendly. Lido is just wonderful! I can´t wait till we get everything in order. I believe that my family and friends will enjoy the life on Lido immensely in the years ahead of us.

Andrea and Massimiliano has both been extremely helpful during this entire process. I recommend them without any reservation whatsoever!

Petter Wiik. Oslo, August 24th. 2011.

Ca' Leonessa - a luxury apartment worthy of a view from a movie scenography!

We first came across Properties in Italy in 2007. My wife, Leona and I had thought for several years that it may be possible to buy a property in Venice that we could use for our family and friends but which may also become a good investment. In 2007 we decided to look more closely into matters and sent a few exploratory emails to various agents in and around Venice. Only Andrea seemed to have any understanding of what we were trying to achieve and he responded to our initial (rather vague) request both with ideas about the best types of properties and the best areas. He quickly followed up with a range of properties that might suit our objectives and we organised a viewing trip.


The apartment before the works

After a very long but exciting day viewing properties we decided to focus on the Dorsoduro area and also thought one of the properties we had seen near the Accademia, with a large terrace was the property for us. Andrea cautioned us that the pricing was overambitious and we agreed to make a realistic offer. At this point the other element – namely the legal service, Avv. Massimiliano De Benetti – was introduced to us in the form of Max who was able to "translate" our Anglo Saxon offer (without any obligations or costs) into an acceptable Italian offer. We were unsuccessful as someone was prepared to pay a price far in excess of the asking price and our search went on with Andrea sending us details of various properties he thought may suit our needs.

In mid 2009 a property near Campo San Barnaba became available with a negotiable price and in a truly perfect location. We visited and were smitten although a full restoration was required which we had not envisaged. Andrea and Max again took the lead on negotiating with the sellers and we finally completed the purchase of the property just before Christmas 2009. Then the restoration began. We had minor layout changes and needed air conditioning and a modern heating system. Max and the team expertly negotiated the planning process to get us all the consents we needed and works started in earnest in Summer 2010. We had, with Max's help fixed the price of the contract works in advance so had no nasty surprises on the costs although had a few of the inevitable surprises and delays that such a restoration project throws up. Max and Andrea helped at all stages with the selection of materials and introduced us to local craftsmen to build kitchens and bathrooms as well as carry out all the plumbing and electrical works. They also showed us other properties so we could get ideas.

By early 2011 the project was nearing completion and we started (with Andrea's assistance) marketing the property for lettings. To date the response has been overwhelming and we have been inundated with enquiries. So much so we are having to block out space for ourselves to ensure we get a chance to spend some time in the property that we have dreamed of for so long.

A huge thanks to Andrea and Max for understanding exactly our vision and enabling us to create it.

Jon and Leona - London - April 2011

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The apartment after the works

Endlich angekommen!

Schon seit vielen Jahren besuchen wir regelmäßig das unvergleichliche Venedig, früher zu zweit und mittlerweile zu viert mit unseren beiden Kindern. Sie sind genauso begeistert von "La Serenissima", denn nirgendwo sonst auf der Welt lässt sich eine Stadt so unbeschwert erkunden. Selbst wir Erwachsenen betrachten - auch nach dem unzähligsten Besuch - die Stadt jedes Mal erneut mit staunenden Augen, denn hinter der nächsten, noch unerforschten Calle, könnte wieder etwas Neues und Ungewöhnliches auf uns warten. Je mehr Tage man in Venedig verbringt, umso mehr lässt man sich auf das Leben der venezianischen Art ein: alles ein bisschen langsamer, lässiger und entspannter. Ein großartiger Ort um zu relaxen und die "normale" Welt draussen zu lassen. Oft haben wir abends auf der Piazza San Marco gesessen und während unsere Kinder auf dem Platz herumtollten, haben wir davon gesprochen, wie toll es doch wäre hier eine eigene Wohnung zu besitzen. Dieser Wunsch hat sich über ein paar Jahre von einer harmlosen Spinnerei zu einem festen Vorhaben gewandelt und nachdem uns Verwandte und Bekannte für völlig verrückt erklärt hatten, begannen wir im Sommer 2009 den Immobilienmarkt zu beobachten. Das Spektrum reichte vom 1-Zimmer Appartment bis zur luxuriösen Etage am Canal Grande. Ein grosszügiges Piano Nobile mit Altana oder Garten wäre schon nach unserem Geschmack gewesen, aber in unserem Fall leider unerschwinglich. Um einen ersten Eindruck zu gewinnen, machten wir im Herbst 2009 unsere ersten Besichtigungen mit einheimischen Maklern. Von neu renovierten und komplett eingerichteten Wohnungen direkt vom Bauträger, bis zu nahezu völlig heruntergekommenen Ruinen, war fast alles dabei. Wir wurden sehr freundlich behandelt, aber irgendwie gab es doch auf viele unserer Fragen keine befriedigende Antwort, z.B. kann die Wohnung an Touristen vermietet werden, was ist mit Denkmalschutz, Baugenehmigungen, Nebenkosten, Hausgemeinschaft, Steuern usw.... .

Wir fuhren wieder nach Deutschland zurück, mit der Gewissheit, dass wir noch nicht die richtige Person gefunden hatten, die uns bei der Verwirklichung unseres Traumes wirklich weiterhelfen kann. Mehr durch Zufall stießen wir Ende 2009 auf die Webseite von "Ca'Venexiana" und daraus resultierend auf Andrea Redivo Zaglia von Properties in Italy. Auf seiner Webseite fanden wir einige, für uns sehr interessante Angebote, auch was unser Budget anbelangte und wir nahmen Kontakt auf. Die Antwort kam prompt, in perfektem Englisch, einfach sehr professionell. Einige Wochen und Emails später haben wir uns zum ersten Mal mit Andrea in Venedig getroffen. Neben seiner Professionalität ist er auch noch ausgesprochen nett, unaufdringlich und absolut vertrauenswürdig. Wir fühlten uns sofort gut bei ihm aufgehoben. In diesem Moment wussten wir, wir hatten die richtige Person gefunden!

Gleich die erste Wohnung die wir besichtigten, war praktisch schon der Volltreffer: Ein "casa indipendente", also eine Wohnung mit eigenem Eingang in Dorsoduro, unserem absolut bevorzugten Sestiere, fast 100 qm gross, ruhige aber zentrale Lage, am Ende der Gasse ein Kanal. Nachdem das Appartment als total renovierungsbedürftig inseriert war, haben wir natürlich das Schlimmste befürchtet, nach allem was wir schon gesehen hatten. Doch das Gegenteil war der Fall. Wir waren angenehm überrascht, in welch gutem Zustand sich die Immobilie befand. Andrea konnte uns auf wirklich jede Frage eine Antwort und zusätzlich noch einige unbezahlbare Tipps mit auf den Weg geben. Damit wir die anfallenden Kosten für die Renovierung besser einschätzen können, machte uns Andrea in den folgenden Wochen einen Kostenvoranschlag incl. Umbaugenehmigungen, obwohl er wusste, dass wir ohnehin nicht gleich kaufen konnten, da wir erst in Deutschland den Verkauf von zwei Appartments abschließen mussten. Zusätzlich gab er uns viele wertvolle Informationen zum Thema "holiday letting". Wann immer wir es uns zeitlich einrichten konnten, fuhren wir nach Venedig um die Gegend, in der "unsere" Wohnung liegt, noch besser zu erkunden. Die Begeisterung ist jedesmal gewachsen.Die gute Erreichbarkeit auch ohne Vaporetto, die Nähe des Campo Santa Margherita und Campo San Barnaba, der grosse Supermarkt um die Ecke an der Zattere, die interessanten kleinen Läden und Kunstgalerien, die malerischen Häuserzeilen und Kanäle auf dem Weg zur Accademiabrücke und San Marco. Es passte einfach alles wunderbar.

Während unseres Sommerurlaubs Ende August 2010 erhielten wir die Nachricht dass unsere Immobilien in Deutschland Käufer gefunden hatten. Fantastico! Endlich konnte es losgehen. Wir informierten Andrea und es begannen die Verhandlungen mit den Eigentümern in Venedig. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt kam auch der unvergleichliche Massimiliano De Benetti ins Spiel. Was hätten wir nur ohne ihn gemacht? Mit seiner Ruhe und Besonnenheit hat er es jedesmal geschafft unsere Nerven zu beruhigen, die aufgrund von unerwarteten Schwierigkeiten beim Verkauf der Wohnungen in Deutschland, mehr als einmal blank lagen. Mit seinem Fachwissen und der nötigen Menschenkenntnis hat er in den Preisverhandlungen, als unser Anwalt, das Beste für uns herausgeholt und ist die ideale Ergänzung zu Andrea. Einen Tag vor Weihnachten fuhren wir nach Padua um den notariellen Kaufvertrag zu unterzeichnen und wir müssen sagen, dass so ein Termin in Italien alles andere als trocken und langweilig ist. Irgendwie war es eher familiär und unterhaltsam, es gab sogar etwas zu naschen. Unvergesslich der Moment, in dem wir die Schlüssel zu Ca'Degolin erhalten haben! Wir betrachteten uns ja schon immer als halbe Venezianer, deshalb ist das Gefühl, dort eine eigene Wohnung zu haben, einfach unbeschreiblich schön für uns. Unser 5-jähriger Sohn ist fest entschlossen einmal den Beruf des Gondoliere zu ergreifen. Im Nachhinein erscheint uns der Kauf einer Immobilie in Venedig als absolut unmöglich ohne die exzellente Betreuung durch Andrea und Massimiliano. Zumindest hätte es ganz sicher nicht so reibungslos funktioniert.

Jetzt sind alle glücklich: Wir natürlich - weil alles geklappt hat, die Verwandten - weil wir keinen Betrügern auf den Leim gegangen sind, die Bekannten - weil sie die Chance wittern die Wohnung mal testen zu dürfen, die Freunde die unsere Idee schon immer toll fanden - weil wir den Mut hatten uns einfach auf die Sache einzulassen und Andrea und Massimiliano - weil Sie neue und zufriedene Kunden gewonnen haben. Ende Januar 2011 beginnt der 2. Teil unseres venezianischen Abenteuers: die Umbau- und Renovierungsarbeiten, organisiert und überwacht von Andrea. Wir werden weiter darüber berichten!

Ciao a presto,

Henrike und Michael Wochinger, Bayern


Finally arrived!

For many years already, we have been regularly visiting the incomparable Venice, in former times just the two of us, and meanwhile the four of us with our children. They are as enthusiastic about "La Serenissima", nowhere else in the world a town may be experienced in such a light-hearted way. Also we adults - even after the most multitudinous visit - see the town through different eyes each time, because something new and unusual could wait for us again behind the next, still unexplored Calle. The more days you spend in Venice, the more you are getting engaged in the Venetian lifestyle: everything a little bit more slowly, more casual and more relaxed, an excellent place to relax and to leave the "normal" world outside. In the evening, we often sat at the Piazza San Marco and while our children were rollicking on the market place we spoke about how wonderful it would be to own a flat here. Over some years, this desire has changed from a harmless crazy idea into a definite undertaking and after some relatives and friends had called us absolutely crazy, we started to observe the property market in summer 2009. The spectrum ranged from the one-room apartment up to the luxurious floor at the Canal Grande. We would have liked a generous Piano Nobile with Altana or a garden, but in our situation this was unfortunately prohibitive. For gaining a very first impression, we have initiated our first inspections with indigenous brokers in autumn 2009. We have seen almost everything from newly renovated and fully furnished apartments directly from the property developer up to almost entirely run-down ruins. We have been treated absolutely friendly, but anyhow many of our questions could not be answered to our satisfaction, e.g. may the apartment be rented to tourists, what about monument protection, construction permits, ancillary expenses, housing community, tax etc..

We returned to Germany, convinced that we had not yet found the right person being able to really assist us in the realisation of our dream. At the end of 2009, we rather casually came across the website of "Ca'Venexiana" and as a result to Andrea Redivo Zaglia of Properties in Italy. On his website, we have found some very interesting offers, also with regard to our budget and we have contacted him. We received a prompt reply, in perfect English, simply very professional. Some weeks and e-mails later, we have met Andrea in Venice for the first time. Apart from his professionalism, he is also extremely friendly, discreet and absolutely trustworthy. Immediately we have felt to be in good hands. At that moment, we knew we had found the right person!

Just the first flat we have visited was practically the bull's eye already: A "casa indipendente", that means a flat with a separate entrance in Dorsoduro, our absolutely favoured Sestiere, almost 100 square metres in size, a quiet but central location, at the end of the alley a canal. Since the apartment was advertised as totally in need of renovation, we had feared the worst, of course, after all which we had already seen before. But what we saw was quite the opposite. We were pleasantly surprised about the good condition of the property. Andrea was really in the position to reply to all of our questions and additionally to provide us with some valuable tips. For a better estimation of the upcoming costs for the renovation, Andrea submitted us a cost proposal incl. modification permission during the following weeks, although he was well aware of the fact that we would not buy by return anyway, since we would have to complete the sale of two apartments in Germany first of all. Moreover, he gave us some valuable information regarding the subject "holiday letting". Whenever time allowed, we drove to Venice for getting even more familiar with the region where "our" flat was located. Our enthusiasm has grown each time. The excellent accessibility even without Vaporetto, the proximity of the Campo Santa Margherita and Campo San Barnaba, the large supermarket around the corner at the Zattere, the interesting little shops and art galleries, the picturesque rows of houses and canals on the way to the Accademia Bridge and San Marco. Everything just fitted perfectly.

During our summer holidays at the end of August 2010 we received the information that our real properties in Germany had found buyers. Fantastico! Now we could start. We informed Andrea and negotiations with the owners in Venice were initiated. At this time, the incomparable Massimilano De Benetti came into play as well. What would we have done without him? With his calmness and deliberateness he managed again and again to calm our nerves, which due to the unexpected difficulties in selling the flats in Germany were on edge more than once. With his expert know-how and the required knowledge of human nature he made the most for us in price negotiations as our attorney and represents the perfect complement to Andrea. One day before Christmas we drove to Padua for signing the notarial sales contract and we have to say that such an appointment in Italy is anything but dry and boring. It was rather quite family-like and amusing with even some sweets offered. The moment when we received the keys for Ca'Degolin was really unforgettable! We always felt like half Venetians anyway, therefore the feeling of having an own flat there is really indescribable for us. Our five-year old son is absolutely determined to take up the profession of the gondolier one day. Afterwards, the purchase of a property in Venice appears absolutely impossible to us without the excellent assistance by Andrea and Massimiliano. At least, it would not have run such smoothly.

Everyone is happy now: We, of course - because everything went as planned, our relatives - because we did not fall for a fraud's line, acquaintances - since they sniff a chance to be allowed to test the dwelling one time, friends who have been liking our idea since its very beginning - since we had the courage to simply engage in this matter and finally Andrea and Massimiliano - since they have gained new and satisfied customers. At the end of January 2011, the second part of our Venetian adventure will start: the remodelling and renovation work, organised and monitored by Andrea. We will continue reporting on it!

Ciao a presto,

Henrike and Michael Wochinger, Bavaria

A Venetian Adventure

My husband & I have had vague ideas over many years of buying a home in the South of France, both being lovers of the Mediterranean. We now find to our surprise that we now own a ground floor courtyard apartment in Venice just off the Zattere!

This turnaround began when my husband, an artist, wished to visit Venice to enable him to build up a core of work for his exhibition. As I searched for a place to rent I felt that perhaps we should explore the idea of buying a property in this most beautiful city.

As this was somewhat a last minute decision I was all action, contacting various agencies & companies. To my surprise only one person promptly replied to my initial enquiries…Andrea Redivo Zaglia of 'Properties in Italy'. From then on it was pretty clear that purchasing in Venice might become a reality. It took several trips to Venice before we found the apartment we bought in December 2010. Between these visits numerous emails were flying to and from Italy & England, with countless queries on my part. Probably one of my most persistent concerns was with the phenomenon of Acqua Alta, a pet obsession of mine.

Thankfully Andrea was patience personified in this matter as well as others throughout the whole process. I can't remember a single instance of there being one unanswered query… he has been utterly reliable. We all worked pretty hard on this search & I think it would be true to say that the three of us must have covered nearly all the areas in Venice. I have never walked so much in my life! Well, at last in October we found our apartment.

The purchase process went through without a hiccup with the assistance of Massimiliano De Benetti, and completion day in Padua was a highly interesting experience…I don't think we were nervous at all. It is now early January & we are soon to embark on the second phase of this adventure with the help of Andrea & his team….the renovation of the property. In a few months there should be an update with a review of the transformation.

Richard & Suzette Colson, London, January 2011

Richard Colson's painting

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