Another Italian town is hoping to tempt new residents with the offer of €1 homes.
Bivona in the Southern Italian island of Sicily is the latest contender, and it is including the added incentive of significant tax breaks for those who not only buy and renovate the slashed-price houses, but also choose to live in them and be part of the community.
The quaint commune, set in the heart of the Sicilian countryside, has seen its population plummet by half over the last 40 years.
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“Today we’re down to just 3,800 residents,“ Angela Cannizzaro, Bivona’s culture councillor, told CNN Travel.
”We want to recover the lost grandeur of our greatest time in history, back in the Renaissance, when 8,000 people lived in Bivona and it was a flourishing feudal duchy blessed by Emperor Charles V.“
As always, there’s a catch – buyers have to commit to renovating their new property within a certain timeframe, plus pay a deposit, refundable as long as they start the refurbishment in the agreed timeframe.
However, Bivona is offering a better deal than many of the other towns competing for new blood with the €1 homes deal.
Where others are demanding a deposit of €5,000, Bivona requires just €2,500. It also gives buyers four years rather than the usual three for the works to be completed.
“Also, there will be appealing tax bonuses for those who decide to take up residency and actually move here,” says Ms Cannizzaro.
She described the town centre as “vibrant, packed with history and very welcoming,” despite the many empty and dilapidated properties.
An 18th-century farm and shepherd huts are among the properties available for less than £1.
The town prides itself on its bucolic setting, fresh mountain air, clean rivers and hiking, cycling and horse riding opportunities.
Bivona’s Mayor, Milko Cinà, said of the town: “Life quality is good, it’s an optimal place to detox.”
It’s one of many towns in Italy to adopt a scheme to boost population numbers.
Cammarata in Sicily announced it was giving homes away for free earlier this month after more than 100 buildings in the historic centre have been left abandoned.
Vincenzo Giambrone, the mayor of Cammarata, has convinced former owners of these buildings to give them to those who can breathe new life into the town.
“I can’t stand to see this gorgeous, old historical centre empty and turn into a ruin,” he said. “It hurts me.”
So far there are around 12 empty homes up for grabs, with Giambrone hoping to add more in the near future.
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