- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 5 November 2019, 2:14PM
Have you ever daydreamed of living in Italy? The stunning scenery, the accent, the fresh gelato ... Well, now you can.
The Sicilian town of Cammarata is giving away free homes, in a bid to lure new residents to settle there.
Mayor Vincenzo Giambrone is working to revive the town, where the population has been steadily declining. He's spent the last few years convincing homeowners who've abandoned their properties long ago to hand over the houses to newcomers.
"I can't stand to see this gorgeous, old historical centre empty and turn into a ruin. It hurts me," he told CNN Travel.
"The owners are oblivious to the damage they cause when they ditch their homes and refuse to restyle their ancient dwellings. It leaves a deep scar on the townscape with the risk of dangerous collapses."
There are more than a dozen empty houses in Cammarata and the mayor expects more to become available in the near future.
"Now new buyers can finally step in to secure these crumbly walls and revive the historical area," he said.
Buyers willing to move to Cammarata can get a free home if they commit to renovating the property within three years of purchase.
You must also pay a 5,000 euro (NZ$8,700) deposit, which they will get back in full once the renovation work is complete.
Young couples with children will be given priority if they want to move. In fact, couples who move and then have a baby are entitled to a €1,000 ($1,740) bonus.
Cammarata is located in the Sicily region, about 60km southeast of Palermo.
This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.