It should be said straight away that obtaining finance for the purchase of a property in Italy is not quite as simple as one might wish for. Italian banks in general, do not approve mortgages to people without residency and an Italian income, and most foreign banks do not give mortgages for a purchase in Italy. But there are solutions…
Banks willingness to finance overseas purchases varies with the state of the economy. Right now the situation is quite tough.
The only institution we know of today which finances property purchases in Italy for non-Italians is the British International Bank of Barclays/Woolwich. They have local offices in most places around Sicily, and they have people centrally in Italy working exclusively with foreigners who wants to buy a property here. Minimum mortgage is 70,000 Euros, and you can borrow up to 60% of the purchasing price, alternatively the valuation (whichever is lowest), and up to 70% of final valuation of renovation. You can have the mortgage in 10-30 years, but the mortgage must be fully paid the day you turn 85 years.
A requirement for having a mortgage is that you meet their Credit worthiness checks and (for non-UK or US citizens) have an account in their bank since six months. If you have thoughts of buying a house here with a local mortgage, it might be wise to proactively open an account with the bank. The longer you have been a Barcley customer, the better your case. Here you can apply for opening a basic internet account: http://www.barclays.it/landing_page/Landing_Essential_Web.aspx. We can assist you if the language is a problem.
We also have contacts with Italian banks who give mortgages to people without an Italian income. The prerequisite is that you have an Italian residency. Basic for getting a residency here is that you can prove that you have an income or wealth and thereby will not be a burden on the Italian government. We will gladly answer questions you might have regarding acquiring residency here.
The easiest solution for financing a home here is to get a mortgage in your home country, e.g. by borrowing against an existing property.