Italy’s Ancient Home Scheme: Buy A Medieval Property For €1!

Italy’s Ancient Home Scheme: Buy A Medieval Property For €1!


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Remote Italian towns and historic villages have begun selling homes for €1 euro ($1.13) in a new governmental ancient home scheme to stop a severe drop in rural populations. But before you rush off looking to sell up and move to your new rustic Italian retreat, the homes up for sale in Italy’s ancient home scheme all require serious cash to make them liveable.

Salemi, Sicily

Salemi is a town and commune in southwestern Sicily in the province of Trapani. According to the village community website, in 272 BC Salemi was known as “ Alicia,” and in this year the settlement was conquered by the Romans. Then, in the fifth century AD, along with all of Sicily, Salemi was sacked by the Vandals. It was later controlled by the Goths. In 535 AD, Salemi was conquered by the Byzantine military commander Belisarius. And in 827 AD, the Muslims took control of the town and gave it the name, Salemi.

The ancient home scheme in Salemi, Sicily gives buyers the chance to live in a landscape that features one of the best-preserved castles on the island. The Norman castle of Salemi was built in 11th century AD by Roger of Hauteville. ( V. Korostyshevskiy / Adobe Stock)

Around a dozen old homes in Salemi will be sold for €1 euro and potential developers are being asked submit their renovation plans, along with a deposit of €3000 ($3390). And to further lure investors to the village, tax credits will be awarded to people opening new businesses that are deemed beneficial to the local economy, such as art galleries, restaurants and accommodation facilities.

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Santo Stefano di Sessanio

Another village participating in the innovative Italian ancient home scheme is Santo Stefano di Sessanio, in Abruzzo, in southern Italy. In Roman times this village was called “Sessanio” or “Sextantia,” after the patron saint of the village, and many of its present structures date from the 11th to the 15th century AD.

The famous “Medici Tower,” a circular central tower constructed by the Medicis, was the village’s most recognizable ancient architectural landmark, until it was destroyed during the April 6, 2009 AD “ l'Aquila earthquake ,” which damaged many of the city's medieval buildings and killed more than 275 residents.

The village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio is one of the most famous in Italy and it is also involved in Italy's ancient home scheme. ( Stefano Pellicciari / Adobe Stock)

Another victim of the 2009 quake was the village’s 17th-century AD Church of the Madonna del Lago, which suffered a major roof collapse and lost most of its front facade. On November 15, 2020 AD, the Santo Stefano di Sessanio council accepted ten applicants from more than 15,000. If you’re interested in buying any future, ancient buildings, that might come up for sale in Italy for €1, you can look here.

Castropignano And Laurenzana

Castropignano, a small medieval hilltop village located just outside Campobasso in Molise overlooking the Biferno River valley in southern Italy, is also selling old buildings. If new residents commit to residing in this village for a minimum of five years, a council grant of €8000 ($9040) will be awarded to them for the first three years.

An aerial view of Castropignano village that is also selling homes in the ancient home scheme. ( Wirestock / Adobe Stock)

Another ancient village fishing for new residents is Laurenzana in the Basilicata region, between Naples and Bari. It was founded, with a Norman fort, in the 12th century AD. In 1268 AD, the villagers of Laurenzana took part in the Ghibelline revolt against Pope Clement V. New residents in Laurenzana will be living in the shadows of the magnificent 12th to 13th-century AD Laurenzana castle and the Chiesa Madre dell’ Assunta , known for its magnificent main marble altar. This historic church houses a rare 16th-century AD fresco and 18th-century AD Neapolitan school altarpieces. Potential buyers interested in moving to Laurenzana are invited to download an application form , which they must fill out in regards to their renovation plans, including an overview on how they plan to contribute to the town's tourism industry and economy.

Caveat Emptor: Understand The Rules Before You Buy Anything!

What is clear in Italy’s new “€1 home scheme” is that you stand no chance whatsoever if you are looking for a romantic Italian summer home. On the contrary, each old-world property comes with a set of strict rules and the application process, in all instances, makes it abundantly clear that these villages are working “communities.” The village councils are looking for industrious young folk who are prepared to stimulate the economy with the creation of new tourist businesses, and for people who are willing to “serve” in the local community.


A Gorgeous Italian Village is Selling Homes for Less Than $1

Have you been brushing up on one of the romance languages – Spanish, French, Italian – ever since the world went into lockdown? Have you found yourself daydreaming about getting away, getting out, getting on a road to somewhere exciting? Somewhere new? Somewhere different? Somewhere else?

Italy, then, just may be the place for you, particularly if you don’t have a huge wad of cash laying around for a down payment on a piece of real estate.

A tiny village in the region of Sicily, called Troina, is selling (giving away, really) homes just about for the asking, providing you’re willing to fix it up and renovate.

But if you don’t have the cash for that, either, once again you need not worry. The village is giving newcomers about 22,000 (British pounds), or the equivalent in euros, to spend on the renovations.

Panoramic view of the beautiful hill town of Troina, Sicily, in Enna Province.

If this sounds like a dream come true – or a scam – it most definitely is neither. Italy has done this before elsewhere in the nation, in an effort to boost population growth and stimulate tax-generating businesses.

But Troina is not exactly a hubbub of urban activity there is little to do there but hike and star gaze, and enjoy the mild temperatures and gorgeous landscape.

While that may not seem like enough activity, for people tired of crammed-in urban living, made worse by the coronavirus pandemic, moving to this Italian rural paradise might just be the perfect tonic for what ails them.

Ruins of St. Michael the Archangel monastery in Troina, “The Elder” , Sicily – Italy

Troina is called the “Balcony of Sicily” because it is built in a mountainous rural region, with homes climbing up and around the hills.

The new scheme to reinvigorate the village is, in part, the brainchild of Mayor Sebastiano Fabio Venezia, who recently told CNN that he hopes the offer stimulates a lot of fresh buying activity. “I want to save our old district from the grave,” he said, “and recover its lost grandeur, when it was the Norman capital city of Sicily.”

Even though the offer may be tempting for many people fed up with crowded conditions in cities around the world, not everyone has the skills required to do home renovations.

Medieval village of Troina, Sicily.

In that case, perhaps purchasing a home that’s inhabitable is more appealing, and those types of dwellings are on offer, too.

For about 10,000 euros, folks can bid on (and get) homes that are in more or less move in ready shape. Of course, what defines “move in ready” in a village on a mountain in Italy may be the same as what that means to other people who live, for example, in Rome, New York, or London.

But if your curiosity is peaked, go to: and explore what Venezia and his colleagues have on offer. The homes will be listed shortly at: [email protected]

There is one catch – not a catch, really, more of a condition – and that is that upon purchase of a home, the buyer must put down a deposit of 5,000 euros when the renovations get underway.

But all the deposit is returned once work on the home is completed.

Is there anyone who hasn’t dreamed of escaping their living conditions, particularly if those conditions are crowded and depressing because of the pandemic, and heading for a rural setting that looks like something out of a Botticelli painting?

Now the opportunity presents itself, in the form of a once-in-a-lifetime offer to scoop up a home in the Italian countryside. But there are only 30 of them in the village’s inventory, so if you’re truly considering this adventure, it’s best you don’t delay.

After all, there is nothing to lose by bidding and everything to gain if the wish for peace, quiet and a home of your own outweighs your fear of the unknown. This could be a chance to put all those lockdown language lessons to good use, and hone your skills as a handy homeowner.


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Get Matched With Your Dream Home

Just before the holidays, Castropignano, in the frequently undervalued region of Molise, also began offering properties for as little as €1. Interested buyers must prepare and submit a renovation and recovery project for the property, start work within two months from the date of issue of the building permit and pay a deposit of €2000 to the Municipality of Castropignano valid for three years as a guarantee for the execution of the restoration works.

As is the story in many of these towns, sellers choose to participate in the scheme to avoid estate agent costs or demolition costs for a crumbling house they have no intention of restoring themselves.

Around 100 properties have been selected in Castropignano but the selling process is a little different. Rather than auction them off, the mayor, Nicola Scapillati, has chosen instead to try to match potential buyers with suitable properties. The process is slower, but it avoids a sudden flood of buyers and will potentially help long term if the new homeowners choose to take up residency in the town.

As the €1 scheme continues to grow in popularity, it is gradually being refined to become more accessible to foreign investors and suited to a pandemic climate where travel is restricted.


Nulvi, Sardinia

There are currently five old and decadent 𔄙 euro” houses available, some in good condition, in the town of Nulvi in the North Sardinia, a 15 minute drive from the sea. The municipality promises to take care of all the bureaucratic process and buyers are not required to be Italian or live in Sardinia – the property can be considered as a secondary home. Once the house is bought, you have 3 years to complete the renovation.


About Mussomeli

Where is Mussomeli?

Mussomeli is a town of 11.000 citizen, located in the heart of Sicily. Mussomeli is located in an inner hilly area, east of the Platani River, in Central Sicily, at 765 meters above sea level. It is 53 km from Agrigento, 58 km from Caltanissetta, 99 km from Enna, 199 km from Ragusa, 150km from Catania airport.

How is Mussomeli's weather?

The weather is rather continental, rigid and dry in winter, warm and windy in the summer. The wind is a climatic element of the city. There are few snow-covered episodes in winter. The rains are concentrated in the months of January, February, March, April, October and December, almost completely absent in the summer. The temperature varies a lot: the winter maximum is 7-11 °C, while summer temperatures are 26-32 °C (with tips of 35 °C and above) The minimum temperatures range from 3-6 °C winter to 15-20 °C summer.

How far is the sea and the airport?

The sea of Agrigento is just 40 minutes away. Mussomeli is 172.6km from Catania airport and 96.8km from Palermo airport.

Is Mussomeli safe?

Mussomeli is one of the safest cities in Italy. There have been no robbery from years, thanks to a sophisticated video surveillance system and the presence of numerous police forces who control the town.

What services does Mussomeli offer?

In Mussomeli there are a lot of supermarkets, an efficient hospital (healthcare, in Italy, is public and free for all), banks, pubs and night clubs, restaurants, b&b, churches, a medieval castle known throughout Europe (Castello Manfredonico), the most important archaeological excavations in Sicily (Polizzello and Raffe) and many other services.


Italy’s Ancient Home Scheme: Buy A Medieval Property For €1! - History

Click here to find property in Basilicata

Situated between the emerging Calabria, the olive groves of Puglia and the region of Campania, known for its famous Amalfi coast, Basilicata and Basilicata property are often overlooked by the tourist guidebooks and Italy real estate investors. However, Italian tourists are well aware of its welcoming charms.

The region has two small but exquisite stretches of coastline, one facing the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west and the other facing the Ionian Sea to the east. Anyone who has been to Basilicata or perhaps considered buying a Basilicata property will have heard of the exclusive resort of Maratea, one of the jewels of the Tyrrhenian coast.

Maratea has a lovely harbour that is full of private yachts and boats. It also home to some of southern Italy’s most pristine shores and waters that have frequently seen it win the Blue Flag international award. The sandy beaches and little alcoves in-between rocks are ideal spots for boats looking for tranquil areas to moor and enjoy the sun and sea. But Maratea also has the welcoming ambience of an ancient village, with its fishing port, narrow alleyways and old palazzi and white town houses of the old town.

The view from this pretty charming town extends as far as the coast of Calabria and the island of Dino to the bay of Policastro, part of Cilento National Park in Campania.

If you buy your Basilicata property in Maratea, you will find everything you need close by. Just two miles away is Sapri rail station, on the main rail line linking the south of Italy to the north of Italy. From Sapri, regular ferries also run to the Amalfi Coast, Salerno and Naples. Charming restaurants, trendy cafes, bars and shops can all be found in Maratea.

The region is also home to mountains, olive groves, medieval castles and charming old towns. In Matera, visitors can see sassi, a unique type of property in Basilicata in which houses and churches are hewn from the tufo rock. The region’s hinterland is not as busy and many investors in Basilicata property opt one of the numerous abandoned farmhouses set in vast swathes of land that need restoration and can be picked up fairly cheaply.

The Ionian coast of Basilicata is less tourist-orientated than the Tyrrhenian shore. But it is full of charming places to visit such as Metaponto, founded by the Greeks in the eighth century BC. Here, one can still see Greek columns and amphitheatres surrounded by vineyards. Metaponto also has a lovely sandy beach.

Nearby is Scanzano Ionico, which is also a lovely sea resort that has developed in recent years and which offers beautiful landscapes with orange groves, strawberry fields, old palazzi and beaches with sunbathing facilities.

If you are interested in Basilicata property you may also want to take a look at:
Amalfi coast real estate | Calabria property | Le Marche property | Puglia property | Sardinia property | Sicily property

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Another beautiful Italian village is selling houses for just €1

Thought all the &euro1 houses in Italy had already been snapped up? Well, you&rsquore in luck. Another Italian town has joined the party, selling off abandoned and dilapidated buildings for the kind of price your wallet will be very happy about.

Castropignano, a hilltop town in the Molise region, is following in the footsteps of places like Cinquefrondi and Salemi, becoming the latest place to try and repopulate by tempting newcomers to buy empty buildings. The village is located inland between Rome and Naples, near mountains and delightful rural countryside. It&rsquos topped by the ruins of a medieval castle, and has a sleepy vibe with just one restaurant and one bar &ndash though that could all change depending on who snaps up the &euro1 properties.

According to mayor Nicola Scapillati, the new owners can turn the buildings into whatever they wish, from homes to shops.

Rather than selling to the highest bidder, Scapillati is keen to match prospective buyers with a property ideal for their purposes. &lsquoI welcome anyone who would like to purchase a new home here to email me directly with a detailed plan of how they intend to restyle and what they would like to do with the property &ndash make it a home, B&B, store or artisan shop,&rsquo he says, adding: &lsquoThey should also list any requirements they may have, like access for people in wheelchairs. The village is tiny and cars can&rsquot navigate the narrow alleys and steps.&rsquo

Photograph: Shutterstock

There are around 100 properties in Castropignano that are in need of renovation, and Scapillati hopes this scheme will both make the village safer and ensure its future. Many younger people have left in search of work, meaning around 60 percent of residents are over the age of 70. &lsquoIt hurts me to see the beauty of our ancient historical centre scarred by crumbling houses, slowly decaying. It&rsquos sad and dangerous,&rsquo he told CNN.

&lsquoWe've got nothing grand to offer except peacefulness, silence, pristine nature, oxygen-rich air, great views and fantastic food, ideal to detox from the daily stress,&rsquo he adds.

Already packing your bags? The deal is that buyers must renovate their new properties within three years of purchase, and a payment of &euro2,000 ($2,378, £1,794) is required, which will be returned after the work has been completed. All you have to do is email Scapillati at [email protected] with your plans, and a slice of the Italian dolce vita could be yours. 2021&rsquos looking up already.

Prefer to just visit? Here are ten of the most beautiful villages and towns in Italy.


Houses of Italy | Houses for Sale in Italy | Property in Italy | Villas in Italy

'Houses of Italy' is a qualified and licenced real estate agency situated in the heart of Italy offering our clients the choice of homes in the various regions.

We have a network of qualified collaborators working with us throughout Italy offering properties for sale in Abruzzo, Lazio, Campania, Calabria, Puglia, Marche, Molise, Tuscany, Sardinia and Sicily.

Houses of Italy's head office is situated at Pescara International Airport in the Abruzzo Region, offering our clients a personalised service, both in real estate and assistance in tourism.

We have an incredible selection of properties, ranging from old characteristic homes (low cost townhouses in little villages inland) to country houses, apartments, houses, villas, historical buildings, land, hotels, commercial farms and wineries.

Italy enjoys a very favourable climate and can easily be reached by plane, train, bus or motorway offering good transport access.

Advantages are our many attractions such as the natural nature reserves, mountains which are well-equipped for skiing and the beaches which range from white sandy shores in the north, to rocky pebbled beaches to the south, all of which contribute to the advantages of this beautiful country.

Many outdoor activities can be enjoyed too, such as hiking, horseriding, mountain climbing and sightseeing.

If you wish to take part in celebrating traditions and festivities, these take place all year round in most villages, particularly during the summer months.

Another positive factor is the cuisine.

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We do however, offer a wider selection of properties and therefore look forward to hearing from you to ensure that we can give you a more personalised service.

Houses of Italy is here to understand the needs of our clients, as the purchase of any home is always an important step in our lives and our team are here to assist and guide you in undertaking this exciting new venture.



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