Imagine a sleepy Italian village hidden away just 140km from Rome complete with a 14th-century castle and ancient cave church. Got it? You’re picturing Castropignano; a charming village in the south-central region of Molise. Best part? Castropignano is the latest village in Italy to offer up homes for just $1.20. That’s right, yet another Italian village is selling homes for €1.
Italian Village of Castropignano Selling Homes for €1
Castropignano is following in the steps of Salemi in Sicily and Santo Stefano di Deddanio in Abruzzo, both of which have created initiatives in recent months to lure people to the area. However, instead of auctioning off crumbling buildings for a euro a pop, Castropignano is doing things a bit differently. Currently, Castropignano is shouldering around 100 abandoned buildings. Rather than seeling to the highest bidder, mayor Nicola Scapillati wants to match interested parties with the right property for them.
According to Mayor Scapillati, he aims to “make demand meet supply” and says he doesn’t want his town “invaded by a property stampede or turned into the latest housing speculation deal.”
He has such a determination in fact, that he wants prospective buyers to bypass the authorities and just email him directly. “I welcome anyone who would like to purchase a new home here to email me directly (nicola.scapillati[AT]me.com) with a detailed plan of how they intend to restyle and what they would like to do with the property — make it a home, B&B, store, or artisan shop.” He says.
He also stated that “They should also list any requirements they may have, like access for people in wheelchairs. The village is tiny, and cars can’t navigate the narrow alleys and steps.”
There are, of course, a few hurdles. Buyers will be required to renovate the property within three years from the purchase date and place a down payment of €2,000 ($2,378), which will be returned once the works are completed.
The bargain is an effort to revive the local community and make the town safer
In Castropignano, in addition to reviving the local community; it’s also about safety. Many of the village’s properties are simply crumbling after centuries of wear. In October, authorities told the owners of said properties that if they didn’t renovate them themselves, the town would be forced to take ownership purely for safety reasons. “It hurts me to see the beauty of our ancient historical centre scarred by crumbling houses, slowly decaying,” says Mayor Scapillati.
“It’s sad and dangerous. Without renovation these buildings are a threat. They could collapse any minute — it’s also a matter of making the village safe”.
Today there are just 900 residents in the village, 60% of which are over 70 years old; a stark difference from the 2,500 in the 1930s. Like so many other Italian villages, many of the residents moved to Italy’s richer north to pursue better work and were forced to leave their village behind.
Mayor Scapillati hopes to not only breathe new air into the community but to bounce it back to its glory days. Sure, with just one restaurant, a bar and a few B&B’s, Castropignano isn’t exactly a buzzing place. But it certainly has a charming allure to it that deserves to be revived and preserved.