Ever dreamed of owning a pretty Italian home in a picturesque village? And that too for just 90 PENCE?! This is no more a distant dream but an actual reality now. The village giving this unique chance lies in Sardinian region. In a bid to prevent it from turning into a ‘ghost town’ due to depopulation, Ollolai, on the island of Sardinia, is suddenly on everyone’s mind now.
As a destination, it’s more promising than any of its other Italian counterparts, because it grabs eyeballs with its distinct beauty and history to draw people in. It is offering 200 abandoned stone dwellings for the bargain price of just €1 (90p) each. Formerly Barbagia’s capital, Ollolai remains the most untouched and authentic patch of Sardinia.
Ollolai’s once-buzzing piazzas and the mazes of alleys lie vacant after the town’s population halved over the past three decades, with just 1,300 people – mostly middle-aged and childless couples, according to a report by The Local. The abandoned town’s many homes have been left unoccupied, ruined and unrecognizable for decades.
In the past half century, Ollolai’s population has shrunk from 2,250 to 1,300, with only a handful of babies born each year.
Despite lying in such a ‘forgotten’ state, the real estate bonanza seems to have an interesting notion behind the sell-off – to rejuvenate a community at the possible risk of becoming a ‘ghost town’ and preventing it from the obvious extinction.
While all the debilitated houses are in poor condition, there’s a catch for the buyers. After the purchase, they must commit to refurbishing each dwelling within three years – for an estimated cost of up to €30,000 (£26,000). The buyer can also not sell it until after five years of ownership.
Some traditional ways of life still exist, though. Local shepherds continue to make the exquisite sheep cheese, while artisans still weave fine baskets.
According to Ollolai’s mayor, he’s confident that the town’s beauty and past will lure the people.
“We boast prehistoric origins. My crusade is to rescue our unique traditions from falling into oblivion.Pride in our past is our strength. We’ve always been tough people and won’t allow our town to die.”
The concept was even widely published all over the net, with established portals like CNN covering it.
The first to readily snap at the opportunity was retired builder Vito Casula and his wife, who bought a two-storey home for less than the cost of a loaf of bread in the spring of 2016. He then refurbished it with environmentally friendly materials, but retained the original décor.
And now, thanks to the media attention, applications are starting to pour in from all over the world.
By late 2017, they’d received 120 applications from all over the World – countries included the United States, Australia and Russia.
A deadline of February 7 has been set for applications due to the high interest, after which they will be assessed in order in which they were made.
Thanks to such initiative, one of the loveliest spots on Earth can now emerge from near-extinction to livelihood.
Would you buy an old beautiful Italian home and refurb it?