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The €1 homes of Sicily

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In early 2019 officials in a small, rural Sicilian town called Sambuca announced a plan to revive their shrinking community: sell old, abandoned homes for a single euro.

Like many other small towns across Europe, Sambuca had suffered from severe population decline as locals moved from the countryside to the cities. So municipal officials bought up empty houses, then offered up the nominally-priced properties to the global market in order to attract new people.

It worked. After enquiries from all over the world – from artists, dancers, musicians and more – Sambuca’s new residents are fixing up the houses and moving in. The renovation investment is the only requirement of these purchases, which are giving a diverse group of international buyers a new place to call home.

Sambuca’s mayor, Leonardo Ciaccio, is very pleased to see the empty houses transforming into thriving homes. “It all worked out very nicely,” he says.

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