This week Italy has been emerging timidly from lockdown. The European country has opened its borders to tourists and eased restrictions allowing inter-regional travel. As one of the places that was initially hardest hit by the coronavirus, Italy is looking ahead to what will hopefully be better days.
And in Cinquefrondi, a municipality in the south of the country that has been deemed Covid-19-free, the mayor is trying to get things off on the right foot by putting several of the region's abandoned properties on the market for merely €1 (Dh4.17).
More than a dozen properties are for sale in the municipality, which is part of Italy's Aspromonte National Park. The initiative is designed to repopulate the town after many years when younger residents have emigrated to bigger cities.
In addition to the initial €1 payment, investors will also need to pay a deposit of €250 (Dh918). This is to guarantee that renovations on the properties, all of which are in varying states of disrepair, will be carried out over the next three years.
Investing in Italy
Like several other €1-home initiatives across Italy, purchasers who fail to complete the works in this amount of time will lose their deposit, and face fines of up to Dh80,000.
Renovations don't have to be expensive and can be completed on most of the properties for about €10,000 to €20,000 (Dh41,700 to Dh83,500), the mayor of Cinquefrondi told CNN.
Requests are already flooding in for the €1 homes, and the mayor said that more properties could be made available.
"We believed it from the beginning and soon our abandoned houses will be inhabited by many tourists, only today hundreds of requests have arrived," said the municipality's social media pages.
Where is Cinquefrondi?
Traditionally not on the well-trodden Italian tourist trail, Cinquefrondi is part of the Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria in the very south of the country. It makes up part of the "toe" of Italy's "boot". In the Calabria region, three airports connect the south with major cities across Italy and some international destinations.
The area has had its fair share of problems – recurrent earthquakes, emigration and a long history of poverty – but it's also one of the best places to experience la dolce vita. It also escaped the worst waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, with Calabria as a whole recording only 1,177 cases in total.
People who purchase one of the in-demand properties can expect to be welcomed into the community-focused town surrounded by wild mountains and known for its rural beauty. There's also a hugely interesting cultural framework, with influences derived from the time the region spent under Spanish, Arab and Norman rule. For foodies, this southern slice of Italy is known for it's spice-laden, sun-roasted cuisine that can't be found anywhere else in the country.