It has become quite a tradition for Italy’s small, underpopulated towns to sell dilapidated houses starting at €1, in a bid to restore the cultural heritage. The picturesque town of Salemi, Sicily, is the latest to join in this initiative.
Over the next month, a few dozen crumbling properties will be auctioned with a starting price of one euro. Many Italian towns have been a part of this scheme in the past, such as Cinquefrondi, a community in the southern region of Calabria, and Mussomeli, also in Sicily.
The beautiful town of Salemi is nestled on the hill of the Belice Valley, surrounded by the glimmering green of vineyards and olive groves. The town was nearly abandoned by its population when at least 4,000 people left it following the terrible earthquake of 1968 that shook the Valley.
Houses auctioning in Salemi
Town officials were among the first to suggest selling off rundown homes for next to nothing on the condition that buyers will renovate the properties in order to restore the original essence of the town. However, the Salemi project wasn’t approved at the time owing to various bureaucratic issues.
Although Salemi is auctioning its old dwellings a little later, the town authorities are looking forward to welcoming fresh renovation ideas and new inhabitants. The town’s mayor, Domenico Venuti is hopeful that the scheme will repopulate the town of Salemi.
An Easy Process
When the execution of the scheme was delayed by the pandemic, the town management carried out thorough maintenance works to secure the risky areas of these crumbling buildings. Now, the selected houses will go up for auction under the one-euro home scheme.
Keeping the coronavirus pandemic in mind, the auction doesn’t require the potential buyers to be physically present in Salemi to make an offer. However, they will be required to send a detailed renovation plan to show their commitment to the property. The projects will be judged on the bases of the urban impact.
People planning to transform one of the properties into a B&B or another type of business establishment with economic activity will get additional points and tax credits. A buyer can purchase more than one property, but all buyers are required to pay a deposit of €3,000 (approx. $3,520), which will be returned when the renovation reaches completion within three years.
The application forms and more details about the auction will be made available on the city council’s official website along with the photographs and details of each property to help the buyers make a decision.