The announcement of the "houses for 1 euro" scheme in Italy has been a great success in general, including the village of Sambuca in Sicily, a municipality in the province of Agrigento which was elected "Borgo dei Borghi" (the village of villages) in 2016. Now, in 2020, this Italian municipality has come up with a new project to attract people to the area: idealista/news spoke to the deputy mayor, Giuseppe Cacioppo.
- After the success of the "houses for 1 euro" scheme, there is talk of a new "houses for 2 euros" project. Can you confirm if this is on the way?
"We have the announcement, and we were ready to launch it with the arrival of spring, then with the COVID-19 lockdown and the restrictions on movement, we postponed it. We are waiting for the moment when it will be possible to travel freely throughout Europe and also from the United States to make it public. The new announcement will affect another 15 properties in the area.
For us it is important to make Sambuca known. It's an area with beautiful landscapes, 18km from the sea, near the airports of Trapani and Palermo and in a strategic position for those who want to reach Agrigento, Selinunte, Segesta and Palermo itself, not to mention the wines and the excellent food it offers".
- What exactly will this new announcement consist of? And why "houses for 2 euros" this time?
"We wanted to make this new project 'houses for 2 euros' to highlight that is a phase B. Phase A with the 1 euro properties was a fascinating phase, and now phase B wants to highlight a sort of leap forward.
We'll repeat what we did with the first announcement. Therefore, the conditions are the same, where buyers will have 3 years to complete a renovation of the property they have bought.
Like before, a deposit of 5,000 euros is also required at the time of the request to participate in the project. This has been done with a precise purpose: to select the people that are really interested. This will be returned after the end of the refurbishment."
- What is, to date, the outcome of the previous"houses for 1 euro" scheme?
"The experience has been very positive for Sambuca. We had 15 properties and we received 110 thousand requests. So, what happened? Those who didn't manage to get their hands on one of the 1 euro properties moved their search to the private market. There was a lot of interest, with a consequent increase in activity.
The people who bought the properties are all professionals, people who can make a contribution in terms of cultural development and stimulation in the local community. There are journalists, writers, two actresses and a singer, amongst others. This means that the village is a fascinating place, even more so because many have settled in Sambuca for a long time".
- Do you think that these initiatives are important for small Italian municipalities?
"Yes, of course, but not only from the point of view of the renovation of buildings because these renovations have a limited time, they have a beginning and an end. What is important is that a family come to Sambuca, they make the community grow and maybe encourage other people to renovate their homes too. Consequently, the aspect of urban regeneration, which is fundamental, is also enhanced.
We must not forget the equal exchanges that have taken place between the community and those who have arrived. The life of small villages is also a life of proximity. Those who arrived entered cautiously and the locals in Sambuca welcomed them with open arms. This is the strength of the project that goes beyond buying cheap properties and we invite everyone to visit Sambuca, not only for the project."