It sounds like mostly an American thing. Suburban homes usually have a fireplace built in. Unlike Italy, they were never intended for anything other than ambiance. Usually they are so cheaply constructed that in the winter, cold air comes in the vents, and when they are used, they just suck heat out and up the chimney. They are a bit of a fire hazard as well. Our neighbor behind us had sparks from the fire leak out of the cheap firebox and light the wood behind. They, and we, converted to natural gas fireplaces after that.
The Casalanguida house has gas hob, so there is the possibility of running an extension off that line. After a quick Google, I see there are lots of fireplace people in Abruzzo. mcz.it has lots of options and their product is sold by many dealers. After looking it over, it seems clear to me that if we were to upgrade, we would probably want to go with one of the pellet fueled inserts as they claim to be much lower in cost to operate and are as easy to operate as a gas insert.