- The village of Sambuca in Sicily is selling off houses for just 1 pound ($US1.14).
- The stunning countryside town is hoping the move will repopulate its streets and provide a boom to the economy.
- There’s a catch, though.
- Buyers will have to commit to spending at least 15,000 pounds (about $US17,200) on renovating the houses, which are in need of some TLC.
- The town’s deputy mayor and tourist councilor told CNN that this was a small price to pay for a spot in the “City of Splendor.”
Do you dream of riding a vintage bicycle around cobbled streets?
Of going to the market to pick up burrata and fresh tomatoes for lunch?
Of stopping for an espresso with the vecchi signori in the Mediterranean sunshine?
Well, you could do all those things, and you could do them for as little as a dollar.
Cue the “Godfather” soundtrack.
The Sicilian town of Sambuca is selling off houses for just 1 pound ($US1.14) to encourage people to move there and provide a boom to its economy.
Sambuca isn’t the first commune in Italy to encourage repopulation this way as residents continue to move to urban areas.
In January 2018, the Sardinian town of Ollolai announced that it was selling 200 houses for 1 pound to attract new residents. Over the past half-century, the town’s population has declined to just 1,300 people from 2,250.
Sambuca says they’re doing things differently.
“As opposed to other towns that have merely done this for propaganda, this city hall owns all 1-pound houses on sale,” Giuseppe Cacioppo, Sambuca’s deputy mayor and tourist councilor, told CNN.
“We’re not intermediaries who liaise between old and new owners. You want that house, you’ll get it no time.”
So are you really getting a home for $US1? Yes, but there’s a catch.
The properties, which range from 40 square meters to 150 square meters (430 square feet to 1,614 square feet), are in need of renovation, and you have to commit to spending at least 15,000 pounds (about $US17,200) on renovations within three years of purchase.
You’ll also need to fork out a 5,000-pound ($US5,700) security deposit, which will be returned once the renovation is complete.
Cacioppo said this is a small price to pay for a property in the “City of Splendor.”
“This fertile patch of land is dubbed the Earthly Paradise,” he told CNN. “We’re located inside a natural reserve, packed with history. Gorgeous beaches, woods and mountains surround us. It’s silent and peaceful, an idyllic retreat for a detox stay.”
Sambuca has a view of Mt. Etna and is surrounded by hiking trails, historic monuments, and vineyards, from which it produces wine.
Cacioppo told CNN that the town has already received plenty of interest from buyers. “Foreigners are flocking here, flabbergasted by all this beauty,” he said.
“Some 10 houses have already been sold,” he said. “Dozens of others are available but badly in need of a makeover. We’ve been contacted by people from Switzerland, France, and Spain and are receiving many requests.”
If this is an opportunity for you, you may have to act fast.
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