These $1 Italian Houses in Troina, Sicily, Come With Up to $30,000 in Restoration Grants

Welcome home!
Welcome home! / Bepsimage/iStock via Getty Images

In the northeast region of Sicily, Italy, is a small prehistoric town called Troina, which boasts all the trappings of, well, a small prehistoric town. There’s a crumbled castle and vestiges of an ancient cemetery, walking trails once trod by shepherds, and cobblestone paths beneath arches. Summer brings fairs, festivals, and theater performances; and the stars, far from urban interference, shine extra bright. The sky isn’t the only striking sight; Troina is nicknamed the “Balcony of Sicily” for its views of the surrounding landscape, which includes the still-active volcano Mount Etna to the east.

If you haven’t already decided to move there immediately, this next revelation might do the trick: City officials will sell you a house in Troina’s historical district for a single euro (or just over $1). For all its bucolic appeal, the aged epicenter has essentially been deserted in recent decades as residents have migrated to newer abodes on the outskirts of town or sought greener pastures in other areas entirely. As Mayor Sebastiano Fabio Venezia told CNN Travel, the real estate initiative is a way “to save our old district from the grave and recover its lost grandeur, when it was the Norman capital of Sicily.” It’s an alluring offer, but not an original idea; Italy has played host to plenty of similar real estate deals in the past, from Naples to the Italian Alps.

Your daily neighborhood walk could use an upgrade.
Your daily neighborhood walk could use an upgrade. / Rudolf Ernst/iStock via Getty Images

Your bargain home would admittedly be more than a bit of a fixer-upper, but Troina’s government is willing to help with renovation costs. In addition to €15,000 (about $18,200) for “restyle bonuses,” you could also qualify for another €10,000 (about $12,100) to install energy efficiency systems. You will need to put down a €5000 (roughly $6100) deposit, which you’ll get back after you’re done restoring the house. There’s a timeline for that, too—send in your design plans within a year, start renovations within two, and finish all work within three.

For anyone who dreams of settling in Sicily but isn’t quite so confident in their home improvement capabilities, Troina has already-inhabitable houses on the market, too. These also come with tax breaks and government grants, though most are listed for tens of thousands of dollars.

The houses are available to anyone from anywhere; Venezia has even mobilized a group of multilingual real estate experts to prevent expats from getting “lost in bureaucracy” or overwhelmed by “tedious paperwork.” You can explore all the pricier options on HouseTroina right now, and the $1 homes should appear on the site in the next several days.

[h/t CNN Travel]