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Aosta Valley

Italy - Aosta Valley

The Aosta Valley is located in Northern Italy and has a population of less than 130,000 people. It shares borders with France and Switzerland and around 5% of the population are from other nations. It is one of the smallest and least populated areas in Italy, although the population is growing. This area of the country has both Italian and French for its official languages.

The climate is affected by the mountains, as the warmer air from the Atlantic Ocean is blocked and there are three different climatic types in the area. The Dora Baltea valley has the mildest of climates, with wet winters and snow only usually occurring in January and February. Summers are also wet, with temperatures up to 20°C. Other valleys have a more humid climate with milder temperatures in winter, while the mountains experience cold temperatures in winter.

This is a mountainous region of Italy and is very popular with those who enjoy skiing. The area only has a small population so those who are looking for a quiet retirement may find that it suits them very well and for those who enjoy activities such as walking and sports will find that the area has all the amenities that they need.

If the language barrier is a problem, the British Embassies usually hold contact details for English-speaking doctors in your area.

Those looking to start a business in this area will find that the tourist market offers the best chance for success. Renting out mountain lodges and small hotels are good types of business to opt for and the skiing industry is booming in the region, so there are opportunities for those who want to be self-employed ski-instructors.

As a mountain region the types of properties that are mostly available are cabins and chalets, although there are some apartment buildings in some towns and farmhouses in more rural areas. The economic downturn saw prices fall slightly, although most towns that attract tourists managed to avoid this and there is a demand for property in some areas. Towns such as Morgex and La Salle have seen more people looking to move to the area, rather than buy a second home. Both towns have a number of new developments in response to the demand and these are commanding prices slightly above the regional average.

The town of Courmayeur has become one of the most expensive mountain resorts in Italy. There are no new build properties and the local councils are severely restricting the possibility of new builds, adding to the demand for existing properties. Most of the properties in the town centre are very old chalets, although there are a number of houses that were built in the 1950s and 60s. In the same vein the village of Madonna di Campiglio commands high prices for its luxury properties and this is expected to increase. There are no plans in this area for new developments and the local authority regulates the number of properties which are permitted to be used as second homes, so there are less houses standing empty during off-peak times.

It is possible to find a property in the area that is in need of restoration and that is cheaper than those that have already been renovated, but you would still be paying a lot more money than you would in other regions. A small apartment in some areas can cost around €100,000, while chalets that may need some work are available for around €300,000. Prices do depend upon the area.

For those who are looking to rent out holiday properties, apartments and small chalets make a good starting point, but you would need a lot of money to invest. Retirees would find these small apartments and chalets a good place to downsize to, and as most of the towns are fairly small they will find life in the area very quiet. Most homes in the towns have some sort of outdoor space, whether it be a small garden or a terraced area.

The larger towns are better for families as there is not as much travelling for schools and these have more leisure amenities with a wider choice of restaurants, bars and a little more night life. Some of the smaller towns do have schools for primary age children but not for those aged 11 plus.

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