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If you’ve come the conclusion that a move to the Italian countryside would suit you just fine, you’re in luck. Last year, an Italian village announced it would sell old, abandoned homes for $1.25 — yes, less than the price of a cup of coffee — to anyone who wanted to renovate the properties.
The houses are located in the village of Ollolai, on the island of Sardinia. According to Business Insider, the population has decreased by nearly 50 percent over the past half-century as residents have either died or moved into larger cities, where presumably there are more job opportunities (and most certainly better Wifi). This means that the Ollolai government had 200 abandoned houses on offer when it began selling off abandoned homes in January 2018.
Ollolai is located in the center of Sardinia and looks just as picturesque as you would expect from the sun-dappled Italian countryside. (Go ahead and gawk at some of these beautiful views on Google Maps.) It’s easy to understand why this would seem like an appealing purchase — an investment, even — for folks.
A local company that does walking tours posted this video of the town, and it does look charming:
Other Italian villages have made similar offers in order to infuse new life into their towns. Gangi, located on the island of Sicily, announced about five years ago that it would give houses away for free. Recipients of the homes needed to show they had renovation plans within one year, and they had to execute those renovation plans within three years. The gorgeous town of Sambuca, also on Sicily, has a similar plan (and you can actually scope out those residences online).
Ah, but there is always a catch.
The various properties on offer need work. A lot of work. Tens of thousands of dollars of work, in some cases. Italian newspaper The Local notes that the properties in Sambuca are all fixer-uppers and some have wall damage, while others seem to lack windows. It would appear that all of them are very old structures that may lack certain modern conveniences. And yet getting one will require plopping down a security deposit of about $5,600.
Likewise, one Australian woman who checked out the supposedly-free homes on Gangi in 2014 told Business Insider the residences were “all terrible and needed to be knocked down and rebuilt.” She found that $17,000 worth of fees and permits were required as well.
So, not exactly “free.”
Alas, maybe you have a love for Italy, deep pockets, and an even deeper desire to live your best “Under The Tuscan Sun” life. Renovating dilapidated old homes in a foreign country would certainly be an all-consuming project. To that, we say “In bocca al lupo” — or good luck!