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Italian Town Offers Historic Homes For Just $1

Mboesch - Wikimedia / Francesco Sciame - Instagram

Are you dreaming of retiring somewhere comfortable and affordable? Do you have $1 to spare and a taste for adventure?

If so, say ciao to Sicily, where homes are dirt cheap right now.

The historic town of Sambuca on the southern Italian island is offering properties for just over $1 in a bid to stop their population from shrinking.

The town offered select properties owned by the town for just €1 (around $1.15). But like similar offers from cities and towns around the world, Sambuca left a few hitches in the fine print.

Sambuca, Sicily
Sambuca's city center features winding cobblestone alleys.fatturighiara - Instagram

While the homes are cheap, buyers must promise to spend up to $17,000 on renovations within three years, and also hand over a $5,000 security deposit.

Still, that’s much cheaper than the average American home, which is $199,000 according to real estate website Zillow. And despite the costs, Sambuca’s officials say its scenic views of Mount Etna, nearby beaches, and friendly atmosphere are worthwhile.

Sadly, after the story went viral earlier this week, Sambuca was flooded with tens of thousands of offers to buy up the dozens of cheap properties.

Giuseppe Cacioppo, the town’s deputy mayor, said he was "flabbergasted" by the number of calls he received in only two days.

"I haven’t come up for air since the story appeared," he told CNN.

Sambuca, Sicily
Sambuca is sunny and warm, with beaches nearby and historic streets to tour.neli.nha - Instagram

"The €1 houses email inbox is full, so people have been calling me on my mobile. It hasn't stopped ringing. I have received something like a thousand phone calls, I hope not to go nuts."

He says the emails he received, more than 38,000 so far, came from every corner of the globe including the U.S., Europe, South Africa, and Australia.

"The story has killed me," he said.

While new residents are worried all the interest will ruin their quiet paradise in the Mediterranean, local officials are glad for the interest in the town, including offers from wealthy foreigners and American developers.

Sambuca, Sicily
Sambuca has a rich history, but the town's population is shrinking.valigiabordo - Instagram

Sambuca’s history stretches back to ancient Greece, and the town was once a center for trade under the Saracens, who named it after the Emir Al Zabut. Because of this quirky past, Sambuco is an architectural melting pot with Arab and Italian influences side by side.

Only time will tell how the new neighbors will change the “City of Splendor,” but hopefully it all works out for the town.

[H/T: CNN]

If you could get your hands on one of these $1 homes, would you take the deal?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com