Is the kitchen vanishing from Italian homes?
Is the idea of the traditional Italian kitchen about to become as passé as last week's pastaciutta?
Increasingly, many affordable new-build homes for sale in Italy are dispensing with a separate kitchen in favour of l’angolo cottura – the so-called “kitchen corner” in an open-plan lounge or dining room.
The principal reason for this trend appears to be that it saves space. An analysis of than 30,000 new-build properties listed by more than 8,000 Italian real estate agents on one property website is instructive. In the north of Italy, only nine per cent of advertised homes had a dedicated kitchen, while in Italy’s central regions that rose to just 10 per cent. Things remain slightly more traditional the further south one goes, with 12 per cent of new property in southern Italy having a separate room for cooking.
So is the increasing preference for a cooking corner over a traditional kitchen a lifestyle choice? Well, yes and no. One of the key factors driving this trend is a desire to cut back on costs, according to Immobiliare.it.
Its managing director Carlo Giordano explains: “The phenomenon is linked primarily to economic savings. Given the costs per square metre of acquiring a property, it’s about rationalising space. The use of space in a single setting is much more efficient and allows one to create smaller apartments that fulfil the same functions as larger apartments have done in the past.
“In addition, this is a solution that adds value to the property. Let’s not forget that the traditional kitchen often does not really count as a separate room. Creating instead a kitchen area allows one to create an apartment that offers one more bedroom, for instance, for the same overall size in square metres.”
However, even in the two-bedroom sector of the market, the traditional kitchen appears to be going the same way. The research found that fewer than one in four two-bedroom homes have a separate room dedicated to cooking. The picture is little better in southern Italy, where only 27 per cent of newly-constructed homes having a separate kitchen.
Things change considerably for new-build three-bedroom homes and in this part of the Italian property market, nearly three in four properties boast a separate room for preparing meals.
But how do today’s kitchens compare in size to those of yesteryear? Where there is a kitchen, its dimensions vary considerably with the size of the rest of the property, which perhaps confirms its enduring role.
For example, an apartment of less than 70sq m will typically have a kitchen measuring around 13sq m, the immobiliare.it study says. The next band of properties, in the 70-100sq m range, have an average kitchen size of 16sq m. Over 100sq m, this rises to around 22sq m and counting. Giordano says: “Today’s kitchens are increasingly part of a single space with the living room and form the great socialising area of the house."