1 euro houses in Cammarata: the Sicilian village's project for its historic centre

After featuring on CNN, this 1 euro house project is especially popular with foreigners.

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1 euro houses in Cammarata / Berthold Werner Wikimedia Commons
16 June 2021, Redaction

The 1 euro house project in Cammarata, Sicily, is almost unique in Italy amongst the many 1 euro home schemes in the Italy in 2021. In this village, the scheme is however slightly different, as the municipality is collaborating with an association of young professionals who have decided to commit themselves to safeguarding the historic centre of their home town. idealista/news has spoken to those involved to find out more about the 1 euro houses in Cammarata and the Sicilian village's project for its historic centre.

The municipality of Cammarata has joined the 1 euro house scheme by approving the regulation for the redevelopment and reuse of abandoned properties in the historic centre through the free transfer to third parties for tourist accommodation, commercial or housing purposes.

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Giuseppe Coniglio

Interest in these 1 euro houses in Cammarata, as Enzo Ligregni, head of the municipality's urban regeneration technical area, explained, boomed after a CNN report that gave the initiative international coverage: "After that interview, requests arrived from all over the world and many people came to see the village. The coronavirus lockdown slowed down operations a bit, but they are now resuming".

As Ligregni also points out, the initiative was set up to safeguard the historical heritage of the historic centre of Cammarata: 'Our village is ancient, the first settlements date back to before the year 1000, it is entirely east-facing and when the sky is clear we wake up seeing Mount Etna from our windows, even though it is 200km away'.

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Paolo Severino

To better develop the project of selling houses for 1 euro in Cammarata, the municipality has signed an agreement with an association called "StreetTo" in order to promote the initiative. This is an association of young local people, including architects, designers, accountants, lawyers and photographers, some of whom have moved abroad, but who are working together to put their know-how at the service of a common cause: saving the historic centre of Cammarata from oblivion.

One of the project leaders, Martina Giracello, told us about this partnership: "With our activity we want to be a showcase for getting the offer of houses for sale in the historic centre of Cammarata to as many people as possible, and not just those for sale for 1 euro". 

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Giuseppe Coniglio

"We realised last year," explains architect Martina Giracello, "that when we took people to show them the houses on sale for 1 euro, many of them asked us if there were other houses in better condition, even at a higher price but still affordable. This then lead to the idea of StreetTo looking for other owners interested in selling, even if this isn't for the symbolic sum of 1 euro. The important thing is that the property must be in the historic centre of the village and in need of restoration work, as Giracello herself points out: "Our mission is to save the centre from decay and the danger of abandoned buildings falling to pieces".

In addition to the 1 euro houses in Cammarata, the other properties for sale that can be found on the association's website range from 5,000 to 25,000 euros, depending on their condition and the renovation work needed. "99% of the buyers are foreigners, of which a good 80% are people who want to change their lives, while the remaining 20% are people who live in South America and want to return to the places their families left many years ago".

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Domenico Russotto

All proposals are assessed, whether for residential or commercial use. Not only that, but often, as Martina Giracello points out, "they go hand in hand, perhaps including a part to be used as a house and the rest for accommodation, catering or craft activities". The StreetTo website is currently only available in English, but those who run it are also working on Italian and Spanish versions.

Another feature of the 1 euro houses offer in Cammarata is that the young professionals of StreetTo assist buyers throughout the whole process, from the initial contact to the renovation works, including the bureaucratic part. "In our group," explains Martina Giracello, "there are lawyers, designers, linguists, photographers and accountants. We are even committed to answering questions that should not be our responsibility, for example questions about permits and visas, right up to concrete help for those who want to open a business in the village".

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