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Italy’s Ancient Home Scheme: Buy A Medieval Property For €1!

Italy’s Ancient Home Scheme: Buy A Medieval Property For €1!

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Remote Italian towns and historic villages have begun selling homes for €1 euro ($1.13) in a new governmental ancient home scheme to stop a severe drop in rural populations. But before you rush off looking to sell up and move to your new rustic Italian retreat, the homes up for sale in Italy’s ancient home scheme all require serious cash to make them liveable.

Salemi, Sicily

Salemi is a town and commune in southwestern Sicily in the province of Trapani. According to the village community website, in 272 BC Salemi was known as “ Alicia,” and in this year the settlement was conquered by the Romans. Then, in the fifth century AD, along with all of Sicily, Salemi was sacked by the Vandals. It was later controlled by the Goths. In 535 AD, Salemi was conquered by the Byzantine military commander Belisarius. And in 827 AD, the Muslims took control of the town and gave it the name, Salemi.

The ancient home scheme in Salemi, Sicily gives buyers the chance to live in a landscape that features one of the best-preserved castles on the island. The Norman castle of Salemi was built in 11th century AD by Roger of Hauteville. (V. Korostyshevskiy / Adobe Stock)

The ancient home scheme in Salemi, Sicily gives buyers the chance to live in a landscape that features one of the best-preserved castles on the island. The Norman castle of Salemi was built in 11th century AD by Roger of Hauteville. ( V. Korostyshevskiy / Adobe Stock)

Around a dozen old homes in Salemi will be sold for €1 euro and potential developers are being asked submit their renovation plans, along with a deposit of €3000 ($3390). And to further lure investors to the village, tax credits will be awarded to people opening new businesses that are deemed beneficial to the local economy, such as art galleries, restaurants and accommodation facilities.

Santo Stefano di Sessanio

Another village participating in the innovative Italian ancient home scheme is Santo Stefano di Sessanio, in Abruzzo, in southern Italy. In Roman times this village was called “Sessanio” or “Sextantia,” after the patron saint of the village, and many of its present structures date from the 11th to the 15th century AD.

The famous “Medici Tower,” a circular central tower constructed by the Medicis, was the village’s most recognizable ancient architectural landmark, until it was destroyed during the April 6, 2009 AD “ l'Aquila earthquake ,” which damaged many of the city's medieval buildings and killed more than 275 residents.

The village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio is one of the most famous in Italy and it is also involved in Italy's ancient home scheme. (Stefano Pellicciari / Adobe Stock)

The village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio is one of the most famous in Italy and it is also involved in Italy's ancient home scheme. ( Stefano Pellicciari / Adobe Stock)

Another victim of the 2009 quake was the village’s 17th-century AD Church of the Madonna del Lago, which suffered a major roof collapse and lost most of its front facade. On November 15, 2020 AD, the Santo Stefano di Sessanio council accepted ten applicants from more than 15,000. If you’re interested in buying any future, ancient buildings, that might come up for sale in Italy for €1, you can look here.

Castropignano And Laurenzana

Castropignano, a small medieval hilltop village located just outside Campobasso in Molise overlooking the Biferno River valley in southern Italy, is also selling old buildings. If new residents commit to residing in this village for a minimum of five years, a council grant of €8000 ($9040) will be awarded to them for the first three years.

An aerial view of Castropignano village that is also selling homes in the ancient home scheme. (Wirestock / Adobe Stock)

An aerial view of Castropignano village that is also selling homes in the ancient home scheme. ( Wirestock / Adobe Stock)

Another ancient village fishing for new residents is Laurenzana in the Basilicata region, between Naples and Bari. It was founded, with a Norman fort, in the 12th century AD. In 1268 AD, the villagers of Laurenzana took part in the Ghibelline revolt against Pope Clement V. New residents in Laurenzana will be living in the shadows of the magnificent 12th to 13th-century AD Laurenzana castle and the Chiesa Madre dell’ Assunta , known for its magnificent main marble altar. This historic church houses a rare 16th-century AD fresco and 18th-century AD Neapolitan school altarpieces. Potential buyers interested in moving to Laurenzana are invited to download an application form , which they must fill out in regards to their renovation plans, including an overview on how they plan to contribute to the town's tourism industry and economy.

Caveat Emptor: Understand The Rules Before You Buy Anything!

What is clear in Italy’s new “€1 home scheme” is that you stand no chance whatsoever if you are looking for a romantic Italian summer home. On the contrary, each old-world property comes with a set of strict rules and the application process, in all instances, makes it abundantly clear that these villages are working “communities.” The village councils are looking for industrious young folk who are prepared to stimulate the economy with the creation of new tourist businesses, and for people who are willing to “serve” in the local community.

Top image: A medieval village. Source: pilat666 / Adobe Stock

By Ashley Cowie

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