You read that right. In the picturesque hilltop town of Salemi in western Sicily, the mayor is selling old stone villas in the historic town center for one euro (approximately $1.41) apiece. The catch? These villas were damaged in the 1968 earthquake, and have stood unoccupied and deteriorating for the past 40 years. Sound appealing? Once you buy the villa, you must restore it in two years in a way that respects its original character and in accordance with the architectural standards established by the town council; you must also hire local builders, architects, decorators, and plumbers to do the work, reports Times Online, "since the aim of the scheme is to help the local economy."
Mayor Vittorio Sgarbi, a former art critic and culture minister, thought up this idea to restore the 3,700 decaying houses owned by the town, and says that musician Peter Gabriel of Genesis has expressed interest, as well as the owner of the Inter Milan football team. Mr. Sgarbi hopes to turn his town into the next Pantelleria, the nearby island where celebrities such as Gérard Depardieu and Giorgio Armani own homes. If you're interested, check out the mayor's website (click on contatti) or call the town council at +1 39 924 991 111.
If you don't have time to restore a Sicilian villa, you might enjoy reading about a magnificent one in The Leopard, written by Giuseppe di Lampedusa, who chronicled the decline of an aristocratic Palermo family not unlike his own.
Photo by Praecepitum via Flickr