Lonely Planet Writer

Fancy owning a house in Sicily for less than the price of a coffee?

If you’ve always dreamed of owning a house in the sunny island of Sicily and learning how to live the slow and easygoing rural lifestyle of Italy, then the offer made by the mayor of the town of Sambuca is perfect for you.

If you’d love to live in a beautiful small Sicilian town much like this one, then Sambuca’s offer is what you were looking for. Photo by Raffaello Cursano/EyeEm/Getty Images

Sambuca di Sicilia is a small town in the Sicilian province of Agrigento, named the most beautiful in Italy in 2016. It has around 6000 inhabitants, but the numbers have decreased dramatically in the last few years, with people moving to the bigger cities around it— and that’s why Sambuca’s mayor, Leonardo Ciaccio, decided to participate in the €1 Houses initiative and put around twenty empty houses between 40 and 150 square metres up for sale at the symbolic price of €1 (US$1.14).

Sambuca is close to the city of Agrigento and its famous Valle dei Templi, a UNESCO Heritage Site. Photo by Anita Bonita/Getty Images

Sambuca is not the first Italian village to take part in this initiative— in 2018, for example, the town of Ollolai on the island of Sardinia did the same. People from Sambuca’s public administration though have specified that what’s different this time is that the town actually owns all the houses put up for sale, and so will take care of the transaction directly instead of “just” acting like an intermediary between seller and buyer. What does this mean? Everything will be done a lot faster and you can own your dream Italian house almost immediately.

Of course, there are some conditions. People interested in buying a house in Sambuca must make a deposit of €5000 and start renovation works on their chosen house, at the end of which the deposit will be given back. If you’re a lover of small Italian towns and their history and way of life, though, it might be a perfect investment— Sambuca boasts sights and attractions both of Roman and Arab origins, as well as churches, several palaces and a beautiful historical town centre.

Sambuca is famous for its wine, the Sambuca di Sicilia DOP, and the village is surrounded by wineries. Photo by Riccardo Lombardo/REDA&CO/UIG/ Getty Images

The offer has been made around the world, and the mayor has invited everyone interested to “visit Sambuca and see for themselves the beauty of our town”. He has also created a task force dedicated to answering exclusively any inquiries about the houses.

You can find a list of the houses on sale on the town’s official website here, as well as the rules and regulations for the sale and the e-mail address you can write to if you’re looking for more information.