Rural Italian Villages Selling Houses For One Dollar to Attract New Residents

A view of the Umbrian countryside seen from a hot air balloon during the Sagrantino International Balloon Challenge Cup near Todi in Umbria region on July 22, 2018. (Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

A pair of Italian villages have begun a new plan to revitalise their communities by offering those who would like to move there homes for as little as one euro ($1.10) as long as the buyers devote time to making repairs and renovations.

The village of Zungoli in the province of Naples, and the Sicilian village of Mussomeli are selling dozens of villas, farms and other homes for less than a cup of coffee with authorities in the villages saying their aim is to either attract foreign investment or domestic Italian investment to counter the demographic decline in the region, RTS reports.

The two villages are experiencing what many other rural communities have undergone: rapid ageing of the population due to the fact that many younger people move to more urban environments, rather than staying in the countryside.

The idea of the one-euro houses comes after Italian populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini called for a similar policy that would see parcels of land being offered to Italian families who had three or more children, in an effort to both increase the country’s birthrate and to repopulate rural areas.

“It is said that in Italy there are few children and the provision provides help to reverse the trend. For this reason, the ministry wants to make a contribution by encouraging, in particular, the rural areas, where the children continue to born,” said agriculture minister Gian Marco Centinaio.

Other countries have also recognized the problem but some have advocated different solutions. In Germany, some have argued that migrants and asylum seekers should help repopulate rural areas, with  Karl-Friedrich Thoene from the infrastructure and agriculture ministry of the eastern state of Thuringia claiming that small towns and villages were “a laboratory of integration.”

German magazine Der Spiegel also released a series of articles in 2017 including one which argued that migrants were the solution to demographic issues in rural communities in Spain.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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