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World Italian town of Salemi sells houses starting at €1

14:35  26 october  2020
14:35  26 october  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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Italy 's one-dollar home bonanza seems to be back on as coronavirus restrictions lift across the country. And one town is hoping its declared "Covid-free" status The housing deal here works a bit differently compared to other cheap offers in Italy . While all other towns selling homes for one euro require a

The Sicilian town that put its empty houses up for sale for € 1 each to try to reverse its decline, has sold 16 of them to foreign buyers. Other Italian villages at risk of becoming ghost towns have attempted the same strategy to reverse the decline, including Gangi in northern Sicily, Salemi in the

The Covid-19 pandemic may have irreversibly changed the world as we know it, but it seems there are some things that can still be counted on.

a canyon with a view of a city © Francesco Russo

And struggling Italian towns selling off abandoned homes at bargain prices in a bid to reverse a trend of depopulation is undoubtedly one of them.

The picturesque town of Salemi in Sicily is the latest to offer up dilapidated properties for less than the cost of an espresso.

Over the next month, a few dozen crumbling dwellings will go up for auction with a starting price of €1, or little over a dollar.

The town's mayor, Domenico Venuti, hopes the scheme will breathe new life into Salemi, which saw its population shrink considerably when at least 4,000 residents fled following the terrible earthquake of 1968 that rocked Sicily's Belice Valley.

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Several other Italian towns have opted for this kind of deal as well, from Sardinia, which also sold off homes for a “As opposed to other towns that have merely done this for propaganda, this city hall owns all € 1 houses on sale. Some people have already started snapping up houses , so if you’re

(CNN) — When Italian towns began offering houses for sale for little more than $ 1 , they inspired legions of dreamers to take a gamble "Luckily the hardware store in town has always been open and I'm so glad we bought two properties and not just the one euro house as it has no water nor electricity."

a view of a stone building with a mountain in the background: Sicilian town Salemi is hoping to attract new residents by auctioning off homes with a one euro starting price. © Francesco Russo Sicilian town Salemi is hoping to attract new residents by auctioning off homes with a one euro starting price.

"All buildings belong to the city council, which speeds up the sale and reduces red tape," Venuti tells CNN Travel.

"Before launching the scheme we first had to recover the old parts of Salemi where the houses are located, upgrading infrastructures and services from roads to electric grids and sewage pipes.

"Now the town is ready for the next step."

Revitalization hopes

While it might seem like Salemi is rather late to the one-euro-home party, officials here were among the first to suggest selling off dilapidated homes for next to nothing on the condition that buyers renovate the properties.

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Mussomeli in Sicily, Italy sits on a steep hillside, has narrow streets and is known for its medieval castle and old churches. As part of a not-for-profit project, there But now you can buy a home in the town of Mussomeli in southern Sicily for 1 euro, or about $ 1 .12. Of course, there's a catch: The homes are

Mussomeli, a town in southern Sicily, is selling hundreds of ancient homes for one Euro or less online as the local government attempts to revitalise the area. For example, fellow-Sicilian town Sambuca is now offering to pay families around the world to move there and rehabilitate the abandoned homes.

a group of people walking on a brick building © Francesco Russo

Similar schemes have been launched in a number of Italian hamlets, such as Cinquefrondi, a community in the southern region of Calabria, and Mussomeli, also in Sicily.

an old stone building: Some buildings were substantially damaged during the 1968 earthquake that rocked Sicily's Belice Valley. © Francesco Russo Some buildings were substantially damaged during the 1968 earthquake that rocked Sicily's Belice Valley.

However, officials couldn't get the Salemi project signed off at the time due to various bureaucratic issues, and it was deemed necessary for the town to receive an external makeover first.

"It was a long process," explains Venuti. "Not only did we carry out thorough maintenance works to secure the risky crumbly areas, we also had to recover many properties to residential use.

"We've been ready for a while but wanted to wait and see how the Covid-19 emergency evolved."

Italy was hit particularly hard by Covid-19 relatively early on, although Sicily has so far been one of the European nation's least impacted regions.

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Italian town of Sambuca in Sicily sells homes for a dollar. Silvia Marchetti, CNN • Updated 18th January 2019. "As opposed to other towns that have merely done this for propaganda, this city hall owns all € 1 houses on sale," says Giuseppe Cacioppo, Sambuca's deputy mayor and tourist councilor.

Italy : 1 Euro houses lure in property buyers to the Sicilian town of Sambuca - Продолжительность: 4:49 Ruptly Recommended for you. This picturesque Italian village is selling homes for € 1 - Продолжительность: 1 :09 Global News 47 847 просмотров.

While Venuti admits the virus remains a concern for residents of the town, which currently has around 30 reported cases, he believes now is the right time to move forward with the scheme, stressing that case numbers are decreasing by the day.

a stone building: The abandoned homes going under the hammer all have small panoramic balconies and terraces. © Francesco Russo The abandoned homes going under the hammer all have small panoramic balconies and terraces.

The selected houses will go up for auction with a €1 starting price, replicating the method adopted by the Sicilian town of Sambuca, where dwellings were sold to the highest bidder and at least one buyer purchased a house sight unseen.

Urban impact

Dating back to the 1600s, the homes lie in the heart of the historical center, enclosed by the ancient town walls.

While some may be in need of substantial repairs due to the damage caused by the earthquake, many are in reasonably good shape, with minimal work required.

Covering an area of at least 85 square meters, they're made with a yellowish-pink solid sandstone extracted from nearby caves which is called "campanedda," or "bell' in local dialect -- its name comes from the sound the stone makes when hit with a hammer.

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Those homes in Italy costing 1 dollar (roughly 1 euro) are still for sale. From Gangi in Sicily to Borgomezzavalle near the Alps, here's your bargain Italian house (CNN) — While most good things get more expensive, one dream got ridiculously cheap in 2019 thanks to the rise of the € 1 home in Italy .

In the Italian town of Sambuca, located in western Siciliy, local officials have placed dozens of homes on sale Last year the Sardinian town of Ollolai announced a plan to sell 200 homes for € 1 each. "Some 10 houses have already been sold ," Cacioppo says. "Dozens of others are available but badly

All have very similar features, such as multiple floors and thick walls, while a few have panoramic balconies, but those on Belvedere Street are arguably the most attractive, as they overlook a rich green valley.

Although restyled several times over the centuries, the homes, which stretch across two to three floors, were once microcosms of rural life in the town.

When they were first constructed, families would sleep on the upper floors, while their animals were kept in stables on the ground level.

Bread-making artistry on display at Salemi's Church of San Giuseppe. © Francesco Russo Bread-making artistry on display at Salemi's Church of San Giuseppe.

According to Venuti, potential buyers aren't required to visit Salemi to inspect the homes before making an offer, but they will need to send a detailed restyle plan to demonstrate their commitment to the project.

Those interested can view photographs of available properties, along with maps identifying their whereabouts, and download application forms on the city council's institutional website once the project goes live.

The renovation projects will also be evaluated according to the urban impact.

Those planning to convert one of the properties into a B&B or another type of business establishment with economic activity will receive extra points and tax credits.

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A single buyer can purchase more than one house, but all buyers must pay a deposit guarantee of €3,000, which is to be returned if the restyle is completed within three years.

Venuti says there are at least another 100 dwellings in the town that could potentially be sold after this first lot.

But many are former storehouses, stables or shops, so they'll need to be converted to residential use before being placed on the market.

Golden dreams

Salemi has a unique sparkle thanks to the golden warm hue of the campanedda stone adorning the facades of its churches, castle, palazzos and homes, which makes them shine in the sunlight.

Located close to Trapani's airport and the departure harbor for the tropical-like Egadi islands, it's ideally positioned for exploring Sicily's wild areas and stunning beaches.

Surrounded by fields of grazing herds, Salemi sits at the feet of Roses Mountain and is encircled by two pristine rivers, which contribute to its fresh, oxygen-rich air.

While Sicilian summers are notoriously hot, the town is located at an altitude of 450 meters above sea level, a position that generates a refreshing cool breeze.

Visitors can take on various scenic "archeo-trekking" routes through the countryside with ruins of fortresses and a necropolis dotted along the way.

The natural reserve of Scopello, popular for its breathtaking sea stacks and open-air tuna factory, is just a 20-minute car journey away, while gold-colored temples of Selinunte and Segesta are just a stone's throw away.

Founded on the ashes of a primitive settlement and later conquered by the Saracens, its name is thought to stem from the Arab word "Salam," which translates to "healthy and safe" -- or "Salem," which means "peaceful."

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A stratification of medieval and Baroque architectures, Salemi slowly unwinds below a majestic Norman castle, when aristocratic mansions give way to simple stone dwellings that previously belonged to farmers and artisans.

The town's main piazza is a crumbled church, while the ruins of its stone apse are still standing near the go-to spot for leisurely sunset strolls.

Its residential layers are connected to the abandoned areas the homes are located in by a maze of narrow alleys.

These forsaken districts form a patchwork of tiny ghost neighborhoods and are a sharp contrast to the town's more lively spots.

Jazz, beer and bread

While Salemi may be in need of more residents, the town definitely isn't lacking when it comes to food and activity.

A jazz festival is held here annually to commemorate American musician Tony Scott, who is buried in Salemi -- Scott's parents were both Sicilian.

A quirky "little Oktoberfest" event, where young beer-makers offer a taste of their ales made with local cereal grains, usually takes place in October.

On St. Joseph's Day, Father's Day in Italy, a culinary feast is held during which 101 gourmet dishes are prepared over the course of a week to honor the adoptive father of Jesus.

The event is something of an eating pilgrimage that unravels through the town's districts, where food altars covered in laurels and decorated with artistic bread sculptures and other delicacies are set up, while church altars are adorned with dough masterpieces.

Three children from disadvantaged families are invited inside the church to sit at a banquet and indulge in a series of gourmand plates.

The banquet's "spiritual menu" features signature dishes made with local, seasonal products such as polpette meatballs with fennel and broccoli, and omelets with aromatic herbs, alongside Vastedda sheep cheese.

There's also a great deal of impressive bread-making artistry on display.

This tradition hails back to pagan times, when harvest festivities, Sicilian-style Thanksgiving parties, were held to honor Ceres, goddess of abundance, and close out the yearly grain cycle.

You'll find living crèches made of biscuits and breads to symbolize the holy family, with the baby Jesus as a round-shaped bagel and the Madonna as a palm-shaped loaf.

Another standout town celebration is the Festival of the Busiata, where attendees are treated to steaming plates of handmade pasta made from twisting the durum wheat around knitting needles to create an elongated helix shape.

To find out more about the homes due to be auctioned off in Salemi, visit: salemi.gov.it/comune.

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