Another Italian town offers free houses to new residents

Anyone interested in relocation to Cammarata must commit to renovating the property and pay a €5,000 deposit

Recently, Italy has been experiencing quite an interesting trend. For the sake of fighting depopulation, small towns around the country are coming up with tempting offers to attract new residents. 

After Zungoli near Naples and Sambuca in Sicily — which both offered abandoned houses to anyone for €1 — another Sicilian town of Cammarata has made a step even further. It will give out old buildings for free. 

“I can’t stand to see this gorgeous, old historical center empty and turn into a ruin," the mayor says — Andreas Zerndl / Shutterstock Another Italian town offers free houses to new residents Another Italian town offers free houses to new residents
The town of Cammarata might soon welcome new inhabitants — Andreas Zerndl / Shutterstock
 

But obviously, there is a catch. Anyone interested has to commit to the renovation of the building within the next three years. In addition, they have to pay a €5,000 deposit which they will get back once the restoration is complete.

The idea comes directly from Cammarata’s mayor, Vincenzo Giambrone, who is worried about the state of the old town.

“I can’t stand to see this gorgeous, old historical center empty and turn into a ruin. It hurts me,” Giambrone told CNN Travel.

He has spent some time trying to convince the former inhabitants to hand over the empty buildings to newcomers for free.

The new owners will have to restore the houses in three years — Andreas Zerndl / Shutterstock Another Italian town offers free houses to new residents
The new owners will have to restore the houses in three years — Andreas Zerndl / Shutterstock
 

“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.”

According to Giambrone, currently, there are over ten houses ready for new residents. But he added that more will be available soon.

Towns will pay new residents for relocation

Cammarata’s offer is only one in many that have popped up recently. Other locations in Italy have been struggling with depopulation as well, however, they have chosen a bit different approach. 

For instance, the town of Locana in the Piedmont region decided to pay €9,000 to almost anyone willing to become a new permanent resident. Their only requests were that the new resident has to earn more than €6,000 per year and stay in the area for at least three years. 

The town of Locana decided to pay €9,000 to almost anyone willing to become a new permanent resident — Shutterstock Another Italian town offers free houses to new residents
The town of Locana decided to pay €9,000 to almost anyone willing to become a new permanent resident — Shutterstock
 

Similarly, Italy’s second smallest region — Molise — has kicked off an initiative to fill its underpopulated towns and villages with a grant program for new inhabitants. They pay up to $24,000 to anyone who sets up a business in the area. 

The trend is not limited by borders, as the Swiss village of Albinen decided to pay $25,000 per adult and $10,000 per child to every new resident that will stay in the area for at least one decade.