- Another day, another picturesque Italian town selling its homes for a euro.
- Locana, in northern Italy, has gone a step further and is actually offering to pay people 9,000 euros ($AU14,350) to move there, CNN reported first.
- The catch? You must have a child and a salary.
- Just weeks ago, a stunning Sicilian town announced that it too was selling homes for just 1 euro.
- The offers are intended to rejuvenate the economies of the rural towns suffering from a dwindling population.
You may have seen a couple of weeks ago that Sambuca in Sicily was selling off homes for just 1 euro ($US1.14).
Does a whole dollar sound a little steep for you?
Well, the Alpine village of Locana in Piedmont, northern Italy, has gone one better and is actually offering people up to 9,000 euros ($AU14,350) to move there.
Just as in Sambuca and a growing number of towns in various parts of rural Italy, Locana is hoping that its financial reward will be enough to lure new residents and repopulate its deserted houses, shops, and restaurants.
“Our population has shrunk from 7,000 residents in the early 1900s to barely 1,500 as people left looking for a job at Turin’s big factories,” Locana’s mayor Giovanni Bruno Mattiet told CNN Travel. “Our school each year faces the risk of shutting down due to few pupils. I can’t allow this to happen.”
There is always a catch with these schemes. In Sambuca, for instance, buyers would have to commit to spending at least 15,000 euros (about $US17,200) on renovations within three years of purchase – arguably still a small price to pay given the property itself is basically free.
In Locana, you do not have to renovate the property, though. You just have to have a kid and a salary of at least 6,000 euros ($US6,850). You also have to live there – the $US10,000 reward will be paid to you over three years.
According to CNN, there are 40 deaths in Locana each year compared to 10 births. The housing offer was formerly open only to Italian residents, however, it has since been extended to those coming from abroad.
“We’re looking to draw mostly young people and professionals who work remotely or are willing to start an activity here,” Mattiet says. “There are dozens of closed shops, bars, restaurants, and boutiques just waiting for new people to run them.”
Locana is located just 45 kilometres from the capital of Piedmont, Turin (where many of those living in rural areas have moved for work), in the heart of the Gran Paradiso National Park, which affords opportunities for skiing, climbing, biking, and an abundance of clean, mountain air.
CNN also spoke to Alberto Preioni, the mayor of Borgomezzavalle – a small town located near the Swiss border whose population has shrunk to just 320.
Preioni is not only selling homes for a euro, but also offering 1,000 euros ($US1,140) to those willing to start a family in Borgomezzavalle and 2,000 euros ($US2,280) for anyone who starts a business there.
“We’ve got tons of money to invest but we need kids and youth,” he said.
“I invite anyone interested to come see what a peaceful place this is, our untouched nature offers a detox and unplugged stay far from the madding crowd.”
As with so many of these offers, buyers will also have to commit to refurbishing their properties within two years of moving there.
Whether these schemes will actually work in the long run remains to be seen but, for the moment at least, it seems to be an increasingly popular strategy to revive rural economies in the country.