The Sicilian town of Cammarata is the latest Italian destination hoping to appeal to new residents by offering them free houses.

Multi-storey hilltop properties in Sicily
The Sicilian town of Cammarata is putting empty homes on the market for absolutely nothing ©Getty Images

In recent years, a number of Italian homes have hoped to revitalise dwindling communities by luring new residents with financial incentives. In the south of the country, the region of Moise is offering people €7000 if they agree to move there, while the Alpine town of Locanna in Piedmont has promised new residents €9000. In Puglia, the mayor of Candela has agreed to pay new residents anything from €800 to €2000 to live there, on top of tax credits. Over in Sicily, the mayor of Sambuca put around 20 empty houses up for sale at €1 (US$1.14), less than the price of a cup of coffee.

Now another underpopulated town in Sicily is adopting a similar initiative by offering homes for absolutely nothing in a bid to attract new residents.

Cammarata Sicily.jpg
The available homes are located in the medieval quarter of Cammarata © Andreas_Zerndl / Getty Images

In Cammarata the population has been dwindling for years as younger people seek job opportunities in big cities. With his town risking extinction in the coming decades, Mayor Vincenzo Giambrone is convincing homeowners to who have left the town to turn their homes over to new residents for free.

"I can't stand to see this gorgeous, old historical centre empty and turn into a ruin. It hurts me," Giambrone told CNN Travel. "The owners are oblivious to the damage they cause when they ditch their homes and refuse to restyle their ancient dwellings. It leaves a deep scar on the townscape with the risk of dangerous collapses."

Mountaintop village surrounded by dense woodland with a fog of pink cloud above it
Cammarata is noted for its clean air ©Andreas_Zerndl / Getty Images

Noted for its historic quarter, clean air and dense woodland, Cammarata is pretty hilltop town with a population of about 6120 people. It's about a 90-minute drive to Palermo and roughly 44 minutes to the tourist hub of Agrigento, famous for its incredible architecture, including the best-preserved ancient Greek buildings outside of Greece itself.

At present there are about a dozen empty stone houses available for free but Giambrone says there's more to come in the near future. Around 100 more. And they'll be available for free. Young families with children will be given priority if they agree to move, and a €1000 bonus. There are a few catches, however: potential residents must pay a €5000 deposit and agree to renovate their new home. Though the deposit will be returned in full once the renovation is complete. 

"Now new buyers can finally step in to secure these crumbly walls and revive the historical area," he adds.

You might also like:

Explore related stories

Photo taken in Troina, Italy


This Italian village could pay you €25k to help you renovate a €1 home

Jan 27, 2021 • 3 min read