For months, various towns and villages in Italy have been flogging houses to global citizens on the cheap – often for €1 (AU$1.60) – in a bid to bring life back to the sleepy regions.
Often, the low price tag comes with a catch, requiring the new resident to renovate the house or to have a child in tow in order to populate the local schools.
The towns were flooded with inquiries, and those that did end up buying the cheap homes become what the locals call ‘€1 citizens’, according to CNN Travel.
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France-born Morgane Guihot and her husband were one of the early buyers of the €1 homes and now split their time between their new home in Mussomeli, Sicily and their home in France.
They’re nearly finished with renovations to their 50-square-metre home: with walls painted and doors fixed, all that’s left is the bathroom.
“As we're both artisans and renovators we did most of the work ourselves, which was minimal, and it was great seeing our two-room house come to life again,” she told CNN Travel.
“The 15 square-metre panoramic terrace is fabulous.”
The Sicilian home is being used by the couple and their two young children as a holiday home during Christmas and summer breaks.
Compared to France’s “expensive estate market”, the Mussomeli homes were a bargain – but that’s not what cinched the deal for the couple.
“What conquered us the first time we visited was the charm of the place. It's super cute and locals are so welcoming,” said Guihot.
The location – and its proximity to shops supermarkets and “beautiful Sicilian destinations” – and the lifestyle it offers also what makes the Italian city attractive, she added.
“Everyone has been real kind and the girls working at the real estate agency followed us every step of the way, helping us with the paperwork and the translation of the deed.
“It went better than expected. And even our home – we thought it would be in a worse shape.”
And there are no regrets. “Oh, we'd do it over and over again.”
One day, the Mussomeli abode might even become their retirement home, Guihot mused.
“We're still very young, who knows. For now it will be our holiday house, that will give us plenty of time to properly learn Italian.”
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