€1 homes go on sale in one of Italy’s best-kept secrets

With no crowds even before the pandemic, pretty villages, proximity to Rome, access to ski slopes and incredible scenery, the Italian region of Abruzzo has a lot to offer as a destination.

Until very recently, however, it hasn’t had what many people are turning to Italy in search of — houses on sale for €1, or a little over a dollar. That’s all changed now. Abruzzo has finally joined the €1-house club with the launch of a new scheme in the picturesque town of Pratola Peligna. Located in the Apennine Mountains, close to some of Italy’s best skiing pistes, it’s a secluded spot with a medieval district full of abandoned properties that local authorities hope will soon have new life breathed into them. Like many other villages and towns selling off cheap homes, Pratola Peligna has suffered from a population decline. In the 1930s, it counted about 13,000 residents, but local officials say there are now just 7,000.

Many homes were left behind as families fled in search of a brighter future elsewhere. The dilapidated state of their old homes has been exacerbated over the years by several earthquakes, including a powerful one in 2009 that devastated the nearby town of L’Aquila. Ahead of launching the €1 selloff, local officials have been mapping forsaken properties and trying to contact old owners — a challenging job says local councilor Paolo Di Bacco. “We’ve been working on it for years, identifying suitable houses for the scheme that weren’t already involved in post-quake reconstruction,” he told CNN Travel. “Out of roughly 630 empty buildings, up to 250 could be sold for €1. “Our goal is to make them all shine again and recover the beauty of the old center, even if that may take a while.”

Details and photos of houses deemed ready for sale are being regularly uploaded to the Pratola Peligna town hall website. A few have already been bought. Di Bacco says that to speed sale procedures, new rules have been introduced to encourage buyers to swiftly restyle their new abode within a maximum of three years.

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