The Paradise Sale has been going on for quite some time. With the "symbolic euro" towns and villages all over Italy lure people to buy houses. One of the reasons is the continuing rural exodus and the gradual extinction of the "borghi" and "paesi". In Apulia, those responsible have now gone one step further: Anyone who is willing to move to Presicce even gets paid a pretty little sum for it.
In the very south, more precisely in the heel of the boot, is Presicce. The municipality belongs to the province of Lecce and is a member of the association "I borghi più belli d'Italia" (English: The most beautiful places in Italy). For all its beauty, the place lacks the people who keep it alive. That should change, Presicce not fall victim to decay. "There are many empty houses in the old town that we would like to see inhabited again," Mayor Alfredo Palese told CNN.
That's why a plan was devised: 30,000 euros for everyone who buys an apartment in Presicce, so that they can actually live there. Cost of the property: 25,000 euros. This leaves some money left that future residents should and must invest in the renovation. Because the conditions state that the money may only be used for the purchased house, i.e. repairs and renovation work.
On average, these are 50 square meter properties that were built before 1991. Those responsible intend to publish more details about the project on the town's website soon.
Presicce isn't the first town to try to liven up its inner life with a few outsiders. Cammarata is nestled in the hilly landscape of Sicily: cats darting across the piazza, old gentlemen watching them with an espresso, nothing else - country idyll in Italian. The mayor, Vincenzo Giambrone, doesn't think that's nice at all. "I can't bear to see this beautiful historic center empty and turning into ruins. It hurts me," he told CNN Travel.
The solution: More than 100 buildings in the old part of the city are empty and are to be given away. About a dozen are available and there are plans to add more, the mayor assures. However, there is a catch, because such a house is not completely free. Interested parties must undertake to renovate within three years and deposit a guarantee of 5,000 euros. They will get it back once the work is complete.