Would you be happy to pay 1 euro for a house in Italy? It’s a dream for many, mostly the youngster who find it difficult to buy a house. It’s a dream that can come true thanx to the initiative of some Italian “comuni”, municipalities, that want to combat the desertion of some towns and revive abandoned areas. The houses are property of people that want to get rid of them and they ask the “comune” to help them find a buyer: the building costs only 1 euro, but you have to pay for its renovation.


In some towns of Italy old houses are sold at one our. Most times they are little more than ruins, but with some renovation works they can come back to life.
Ph. Ferruccio Zanone on flickr (flic.kr/p/nUvfm6)


The costs for the renovation can be reduced due to government and European subsidies, especially if you are a young couple. If you are really interested, you should also consider that normally there’s a time limit for renovations, that goes from 6 months to a couple of years.


Salemi, a town in Sicily that first had this idea with its mayor Vittorio Sgarbi, has failed in carrying out the project for various reasons. Also Carrega Ligure (in Piedmont) and Lecce dei Marsi, despite the initial enthusiasm, had to give up the project due to the Italian bureaucracy.


Other towns succeeded.


In Maremma a Montieri, Grosseto, 2 of the 10 available houses were sold. Truth is, they didn’t cost 1 euro, but 12,000. Nevertheless, including the renovation the new houses cost about 50,000 euro, which is still a deal, considering today’s real estate market.


The most successful projects seem to be those on the islands.

In Gangi, Palermo, the municipality received about 1,000 requests, and 100 old houses were sold. Officials are sure this will bring back to life this old town.

Regalbuto, at the foot of Mount Etna, has already received many offers before the official announcement was made.

In Sardinia, Ollolai with its 2,000 inhabitants has already sold the first house at one euro, and is expecting to sell two more. The municipality of Nulvi, at just 15 minutes from the beach, has 6 available houses. Here you are also asked to use local people to renew the house, but with 20,000 euro you could have the house of your dreams at only 500 meters from the sea.


This might sound impossible, but instead of letting the buildings fall down and the towns disappear, municipalities in Italy are ready to sell the houses at really low prices.

With a little investement and a bit of luck, you could become the owner of a newly refurbished house in your dreamland.



  1. Raymond Agostinelli

    Joanne Charamella, you cannot expect anything in Italy. This is how Americans think! welcome to Europe!!

  2. At first, I thought my advanced years (64) is the reason this opportunity does not appeal to me. However, I would not have done this in my 20s or 30s. Here’s why. My first step is to select a municipality. Do I go back to the provinces my ancestors left? Or, find a place relatively close to an airport? Then, review that municipality’s website for real estate. Next, does my new old Italian villa have resale value? If yes, why wasn’t it scooped up by locals? Since my new old villa is off the beaten path, I should not expect locals to speak English. I need to learn the language; convert currency; acclimate to Italian ways of working; deal with local contractors; investigate building codes, insurance, taxes, the price of gasoline. Next, I need to find the local supermarket and department store. Does Amazon deliver to my new old Italian villa? By the way, where is the closest Urgent Care, and will they accept my American health insurance? All this for a room with a view. How about this: Italians renovate their own properties and receive tax relief but pay a portion of rent collected to the local municipality. Make me want to rent in Italy. Throw in Internet. Pick me up at the airport. Put the house in the hands of property and rental managers thereby creating jobs for locals. Uber drivers, housekeepers and cooks wanted. Restaurants that deliver. How about local docents to show me around my new old neighborhood. I like this idea much better than the struggle of a risky whole-house renovation in a foreign country on my dime.

  3. We will retire in about 3 years and we are planing to get a house or an apartment in Italy. we are looking into Sicily or Calabria. We are very interested in buying so what do you recommend, try to buy a house for 1$ or do you have some recommandations.

  4. Have you checked the related town administrations websites?

  5. I have been looking for the information on how to actually purchase. These articles about the fact that you can do is nice, but where is the information on how to purchase, get started, or who to contact? Can you guide me in the right direction? Everyone is saying the same thing, but not providing the important information.

  6. Interested!

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