Two Italian Towns Are Selling Homes for $1—Here’s How to Get One

A view of Mussomeli, a town in Sicily
A view of Mussomeli, a town in Sicily
Clemensfranz, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0 (cropped)

If you’ve long dreamed of living in Italy, now is the perfect time to take the plunge. While property prices across Europe continue to rise, the prices on many of Italy’s older homes are doing the opposite. This means you can buy houses and even a private island in Italy at bargain prices. In at least one area, the town will even pay families to move there.

According to CNN, the latest cheap real estate listings come from two Italian towns. Homes are selling for €1 (about $1.13 U.S.) in Zungoli, a rural village near Naples and the Amalfi Coast, and Mussomeli, a larger town in Sicily. The catch is that new homeowners must pay a security deposit and commit to fixing up their properties. On the bright side, many of the homes are already in decent shape.

Websites have been created for both Zungoli and Mussomeli, letting prospective buyers shop online (although the Zungoli site might be a little tricky to navigate if you don’t speak Italian). The application process for homes in both towns can be done online, but you'd still have to fly to Italy to finalize the details.

Zungoli is known for its cobblestone paths, medieval bridges, and colorful farm homes. With a population of 1000 people, it received national recognition as one of Italy’s most beautiful villages in 2015. Paolo Caruso, the mayor of Zungoli, tells CNN that interested buyers should book a plane ticket and “come see for themselves the beauty of the place, taste the great food, and breathe the fresh healthy air.”

Buildings in Zungoli
A view of Zungoli in Italy's Campania region
Giogrande, Wikimedia Commons // Public domain

As for Mussomeli, it’s a bit larger, with a population of 11,000 people. It boasts verdant farmlands and views overlooking the Etna volcano and Valley of Temples. From this vantage point, residents can sometimes see a weather phenomenon called the “Sea of Clouds."

"Looking down you see the valley covered in a dense blanket of clouds as if the town were suspended mid-air,” says heritage councillor Toti Nigrelli. “We want customers to experience all this.”

[h/t CNN]

Driving This Thanksgiving Holiday? Here’s the Worst Time to Leave, According to Google Maps

Marcos Assis/iStock via Getty Images
Marcos Assis/iStock via Getty Images

For many people, cooking the turkey correctly or dodging political arguments with family members aren't the most stressful parts of Thanksgiving. It's having to share the road with millions of other travelers on the way to Thanksgiving dinner. If you're hoping to make this element of the holiday a little more tolerable in 2019, plan your day with data from Google Maps.

As Travel + Leisure reports, Google Maps recently published a roundup of Thanksgiving travel tips, including the absolute worst times to hit the road. You may think that leaving the day before Thanksgiving will give you a head-start on traffic, but according to Google, Wednesday is the busiest travel day of the week. Congestion peaks between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday in many parts of the country. If you have no choice but to travel on November 27, plan to leave earlier in the day before roads get too crowded.

It pays to leave the house early the day of the actual holiday. Around 6 a.m., roads will be clear in most major cities, with traffic gradually increasing throughout the morning and peaking as early as noon.

As people who regularly travel for Turkey Day know, getting to dinner on time is only half the headache. Traffic can be just as brutal on the way home. To make the journey as painless as possible, plan to leave first thing in the morning—ideally on Sunday, when most travelers have completed the trip.

Traveling for Thanksgiving is rarely as simple as driving to and from dinner. If you plan on making pit stops along the way, Google has travel information for that as well. According to Google search trends, "ham shops" are busiest at noon the day before Thanksgiving, and outlet malls reach peak traffic around noon on Black Friday. Here are some more stress-free travel tips for the holiday season.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Journey to the Monarch Mosh Pit

iStock/Spondylolithesis
iStock/Spondylolithesis

Each fall, millions of migrating monarchs return to Mexico to wait out winter. The gathering makes Woodstock look like a business conference. Here’s how they get there.

Mosh Pit

In the mountains of central Mexico, the butterflies crowd on the branches of oyamel fir trees. The trees provide a perfect microclimate that prevents the butterflies from getting too hot or cold.

Texas Toast

After winter, the butterflies fly north to Texas in search of milkweed, where they lay their eggs. Many adults will die here; northbound monarchs generally live only three to seven weeks.

Juice Cleanse

One of the reasons monarchs love milkweed? Protection. As caterpillars, they absorb the toxins in the plant, which makes them less tasty to birds.

Connecting Flight

Eventually, a new generation of butterflies will make its way north to Canada. It takes multiple generations of butterflies to reach their final, most northerly destination.

Dine and Dash

On the way, butterflies will eat practically anything. Sure, there’s nectar—but they’ll also slurp the salts in mud.

Catching Air

When fall returns, a new generation of monarchs rides the air currents more than 3000 miles back to Mexico. They navigate by calibrating their body clocks with the position of the sun. (An internal magnetic compass helps them navigate on cloudy days.)

Latitude Adjustment

Monarchs “are one of the few creatures on Earth that can orient themselves both in latitude and longitude,” The New York Times reports—a feat sailors wouldn’t accomplish until the 1700s.

Southern Charm

Miraculously, each generation of southbound monarchs lives up to eight months—six times longer than their northbound descendants. Their longevity might have something to do with a process known as reproductive diapause (which is a fancy way of saying that the insects won’t breed until winter ends).

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