Buy a House in Italy for €1: Town Now Attracts Residents from Around the World

Written by Camilla Jessen

Mar.06 - 2024 12:17 PM CET

A Sicilian town's initiative to sell homes for just one euro has rejuvenated the community.

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The town of Mussomeli, located in the hills of central Sicily and about an hour from the southern coast, has witnessed a remarkable transformation over the last couple of years, all thanks to an innovative initiative offering homes for a very lucrative price — just €1.

Mussomeli is one of several towns in Sicily rejuvenating its historic center by selling off old, abandoned houses to foreigners for the price of a coffee.

Launched in 2017 by the town's deputy mayor, Toti Nigrelli, the program aimed to combat the severe depopulation problem that had plagued the town since World War II. Following decades of migration, which saw Mussomeli's population drop from 25,000 to about 10,000, the town found itself with an abundance of empty houses, especially in its Old Town.

"There were enough houses to accommodate around 40,000 people," Nigrelli told Business Insider.

Global Interest Sparks Revival

The town's decision to sell these vacant homes for barely a dollar drew worldwide attention, with American and European investors jumping at the chance to buy a small slice of Italy for themselves.

But the home-owners are required to maintain the original façade of their houses, and the planning process is strictly regulated to ensure that any modifications align with the area's character.

The response was overwhelming.

"Within the first five years, almost 300 houses were sold," Nigrelli revealed, accounting for about 95% of the available one-euro home inventory.

"Now we can see a lot of people from all parts of the world," he said, pointing to the English, French, and Spanish speakers now living Mussomeli.

Tourism and Investment Boom

Beyond repopulating the town, the scheme has led to a tenfold increase in tourism and drawn remote workers seeking a more relaxed lifestyle during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative's success has also spurred substantial investment from the European Union and the Italian Government, funding improvements to infrastructure and the renovation of the Old Town's central square.

Mussomeli's transformation is not just about numbers and investments; it's about creating a vibrant, integrated community.

"Everyone is happy here," Nigrelli stated, "Happy because we have nice people that came here, who are integrated in the society."

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