Italian Town Offers Free Houses

You can move into an old stone building in Sicily for free! The mayor of Cammarata is trying to save his town from population decline. He plans to do so by having local families who have abandoned their homes hand over their properties to new owners — with no money exchanged. Some 12 houses are now available.

The new owners must fix up the structures within three years, as well as put down a $4,300 deposit that will be returned once the work is completed. The owners must also present their renovation plans to the town for approval.

Priority for the free real estate will be given to young families with children. And couples who move to Cammarata and end up having a child there will receive $1,100. The buildings can be primary residences, hotels, shops or restaurants.

“I can’t stand to see this gorgeous, old historical center empty and turn into a ruin. It hurts me,” the mayor told CNN. “The owners are oblivious to the damage they cause when they ditch their homes and refuse to renovate their ancient dwellings. It leaves a deep scar on the townscape with the risk of dangerous collapses. The existing residents will warmly welcome new neighbors.”

Cammarata is located about 40 miles southeast of the Sicilian capital of Palermo and is known for its picturesque setting. It looks out to Mount Etna, is filled with reddish stone buildings and has a lush green landscape.

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