Contrary to most peoples’ expectations, it is not difficult to have a pool in Sicily. However, it’s important that you get a permesso from the commune, don’t just dig a hole and think no one will notice. In some areas its more difficult, especially if there are archeological ‘vincoli’ – but here landowners make a ‘gebbia’ (an agricultural water tank), and then swim in it.
The plans should be presented to the commune by a professional (architect, engineer or geometra) and there should be no problem if you are within the legal distance from your boundary. The job is usually split into three – digging the hole, building the pool, and fitting out the vano tecnico (the pump room). The digging can vary in cost hugely if you are on clay or solid rock.
If your pool is to be a surface pool or semi interred you don’t need any permission, as it is technically non permanent – but this obviously only applies to a pre-fab pool and not one in cement.
If you have a property with a trivella/well the permission may say that you can’t use your domestic water to fill the pool, but you should have a bowser or two to do the job. A tanker of water costs about 50 euros, so its not the end of the world, but most people just fill the pool at night.
There are two types of pools readily available in Sicily, prefabricated steel shells from France or Germany, and the typical reinforced concrete version. Architects and geometras are divided on which is best for a seismic area such as Sicily – each has their pro’s and con’s and ultimately its your choice, though pre-fab pools are noticeably cheaper.
Whether you use a skimmer or an overflow system again is personal choice – though an overflow system is better for a larger pool. The choice of filtration systems is getting bigger, though sand is the base line system.
Natural pools - tried in Puglia and by a couple of hardy souls in Sicily, they’re not the best answer, even though they are the most ecological version. The unfortunate fact of life is that Sicily has too much sun for natural pools and its almost impossible to stop algal blooms. You would need a second pool much, much bigger than the natural pool to keep the filtration up to speed.
If you’re going to be renting out your house you must have your pool area secure by means of a closeable gate and fencing/walling to protect children.
If you leave your pool empty in the winter, new laws mean that it must be enclosed by a barrier to stop trespassers falling in and hurting themselves.
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