Picturesque Island Near Sicily Could Be Yours for as Little as $1.1 Million

Marcello Karra, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Marcello Karra, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Want to get away from the world without becoming a complete hermit? A private island less than 1000 feet off the coast of Sicily is currently up for sale, according to Travel + Leisure.

The island is called Isola delle Femmine, which means “Island of Women.” However, considering that there are no people to speak of on the island, you’ll enjoy complete privacy and unobstructed views of the Mediterranean. The island also affords pleasant temperatures year-round, excellent scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities, and close access to the city of Palermo—so long as you have a boat.

Sure, there are no houses or infrastructure, and it will set you back at least $1.1 million, but that’s fairly cheap for an island in southern Italy. According to CNN Travel, the asking price was originally $3.9 million, but there weren’t any takers. The aristocratic family that owns the island is now willing to consider offers between $1.1 and $3.3 million.

The only structure on the “baby isle,” as it’s known locally, is a crumbling stone tower from the 17th century. According to one legend, the island was named after 13 Turkish women who sought refuge on the spot after being cast out from their families. The actual explanation is a little less exciting. “The name stems from Latin and simply means 'island of frontier,' a safe haven of protection from the open sea,” Paola Pilo Bacci, whose family owns the island, tells CNN.

Italy’s housing market has fallen on troubled times, and Pilo Bacci’s family has been struggling to manage their other properties. Earlier this year, homes in the Italian town of Sambuca were selling for as little as $1 (as long as the new owners promised to invest $17,000 in home repairs). Not long after, the village of Locana made an even more irresistible offer, promising to pay families $10,300 to move there. The latter offer was part of an effort to repopulate the town, and prospective owners had to have at least one child.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Florence’s Plague-Era Wine Windows Are Back in Business

A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.
A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.

Many bars and restaurants have started selling takeout cocktails and other alcoholic beverages to stay in business—and keep customers safe—during the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, 17th-century Florentines are surely applauding from their front-row seats in the afterlife.

As Insider reports, a number of buildings in Florence had been constructed with small “wine windows,” or buchette del vino, through which vendors sold wine directly to less affluent customers. When the city suffered an outbreak of plague in the 1630s, business owners recognized the value of these windows as a way to serve people without spreading germs. They even exchanged money on a metal tray that was sanitized with vinegar.

Wine not?sailko, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Things eventually went back to normal, and the windows slowly fell out of fashion altogether as commerce laws evolved. This year, however, they’ve made a comeback. According to Food & Wine, there are currently at least four in operation around Florence. Osteria delle Brache in Piazza Peruzzi is using its window to deliver wine and cocktails, for example, and the Vivoli ice cream shop, a go-to dessert spot since 1929, is handing out sweet scoops and coffee through its formerly dormant aperture.

Apart from the recent resurgence of interest, the wine windows often go unnoticed by tourists drawn to the grandeur of attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and the Florence Cathedral. So in 2015, locals Matteo Faglia, Diletta Corsini, and Mary Christine Forrest established the Wine Window Association to generate some buzz. In addition to researching the history of the windows, they also keep a running list of all the ones they know of. Florence has roughly 150, and there are another 100 or so in other parts of Tuscany.

They’re hoping to affix a plaque near each window to promote their stories and discourage people from defacing them. And if you want to support their work, you can even become a member of the organization for €25 (about $29).

[h/t Insider]