Published on January 17, 2019

photography by lydia geisel Pin It
photography by lydia geisel

It’s a little- known secret that you can buy homes in Italy for less than a bar of soap. Don’t believe us? Just last year, the small town of Ollolai in Sardinia started selling hundreds of abandoned homes for €1 ($1.25). Now, Sambuca, Sicily, is offering a similar deal.

According to the NY Post, Sambuca’s city hall is selling homes for as low as €1 in order to attract newcomers to the rural community, which has been suffering from depopulation and dilapidation as local residents move to larger cities.

The only catch? Potential buyers are required to invest €15,000 in renovations within three years.

While the too-good-to-be-true offer is, well, just that, the bargain really isn’t all that bad when you consider the fact that you can snag a hilltop villa with panoramic views of the Mediterranean for only $17,201.

“As opposed to other towns that have merely done this for propaganda, this city hall owns all €1 houses on sale,” Giuseppe Cacioppo, Sambuca’s deputy mayor and tourist councilor, told CNN Travel. “We’re not intermediaries who liaise between old and new owners. You want that house, you’ll get it no time.”

Situated just south of Palermo, Sambuca (dubbed “Earthly Paradise” for its fertile land), offers convenient access to one of the island’s two primary airports. For wannabe renovators looking for a chance to live out their fixer-upper dreams, the obligatory renovations are a blessing in disguise. Not to mention, a great excuse for a permanent Italian vacation.  

Check out our favorite Italian getaways: 

Where the Locals Go In Coastal Italy

One Island, Two Ways: Italy’s Enchanted L’Isola dei Galli

What to Do in Venice for the Biennale and Beyond

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