Another Italian town is selling off its abandoned homes for €1, but this is the first in the coveted region of Abruzzo, CNN reported.
The town of Pratola Peligna, located about a two-hour drive east of Rome, is hoping to revitalize its culture, preserve its history, and stimulate its socioeconomic growth by launching the scheme to attract new residents, the town said in a release. With about 630 empty buildings, as many as 250 could be sold for €1, according to CNN. A few have already been bought, and those currently available are listed on the town’s site.
While other towns have included deposit or residency requirements along with its cheap housing deals, Pratola Peligna is approaching things differently by imposing a €10,000 fine (about $11,536) if new homeowners don’t file renovation plans within six months. The stipulation is put into place to ensure people don’t just buy the home and continue to let it fall apart.
“That worsens the picture and kills our efforts,” Antonella Di Nino, the town’s mayor, told CNN. “Particularly with foreigners, tracking them down across the world and forcing them to complete the renovation becomes impossible.” She noted that this has been the case in the past with foreigners who have bought cheap homes in town.
After all, renovations are particularly necessary in this region, which has suffered a population decline — while there were about 13,000 residents in the 1930s, current stats say there are closer to 7,000 — as well as devastating earthquakes, specifically a 2009 event that destroyed L’Aquila, about 37 miles to the northwest.
“Our goal is to make them all shine again and recover the beauty of the old center, even if that may take a while,” local councilor Paolo Di Bacco told the news outlet, adding that measures are being implemented to encourage buyers to complete the renovations within three years.
Those who already own buildings that are not up to standards are also being asked to renovate their homes or turn them over to the town as part of the efforts. “If, in the meantime, a roof collapses or a wall disintegrates, posing a threat to public safety, the town hall intervenes to secure the building and will make old owners, or their heirs, pay for the damage and repair,” Di Bacco added.
Located in the Peligna Valley of the Apennine Mountains, Pratola Peligna is noted not just for its proximity to some of Italy’s best ski resorts, but also its own scenic views and winding passageways among pastel homes. It’s also near numerous notable parks, including Majella National Park (about a half-hour drive), Sirente-Velino Regional Natural Park (about a 45-minute drive), and the National Park of Abruzzo (about a one-hour drive).