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The small town of Troina in Sicily is trying out that path to rejuvenation
The town of Troina in Sicily has decided to try and revert demographic decline and infrastructural decay by joining the initiative ‘Houses for 1 Euro’, which has been gathering speed in Italy. This involves offering historic houses, in need of restoration for a symbolic price of one euro and letting interested parties from all over the world bid on them, with the condition that upon winning they will commit to restoring them.
The Sicilian town’s authorities, however, have decided to take things even more seriously and sweeten the deal by offering to co-finance approved restoration projects.
Troina counts with a population of a bit over 9000 people
The town is certainly not lacking in charms and history, either, so there is plenty of reasons for rural and small-town enthusiasts to pay attention. It has been inhabited probably for thousands of years, and it even had the distinction of serving as a capital of the medieval Norman state in the 10th and 11th centuries. Although, that basically means that it was the base from where the island was conquered.
These days, it offers plenty of architectural and cultural attractions plus beautiful views towards Mount Etna – the glorious Sicilian volcano. It is surrounded by the Nebrodi National Park, so the opportunities for sports, leisure and recreation are boundless.
The idea for recovery of the town through encouraging private investment is not new in Italy. The country is counting on the charm of its heritage and nature to attract people back to the rural areas and its opening its arms to foreigners, too. Troina mayor Fabio Venezia said that the idea came to him after noticing a lot of interest from international visitors to own a house in his town.
As a consequence, he added: “We have decided to develop a project that allows us to recover the many unfortunately abandoned buildings, repopulating the ancient uninhabited neighbourhoods and, at the same time, offering a possibility of refreshment to the local economy and workers, who will be involved in the recovery works”.
Around 30 houses will be placed on the market for auctioning by the end of this month, but 100 more will go on offer later on, too. The above-mentioned commitment to restoration on part of the buyers will be expressed not only contractually but also through a refundable deposit payment of 5000 euros.
If they fail to begin works within two years, the Municipality reserves the right to cancel the deal. But on the upside, if they present good projects, the homeowners could be aided with payments of up to 25 000 euros in their work, plus the waiving of property and service taxes for three years.
You can get acquainted with the process by visiting the website of the Municipal property agency, where you can find a contact form for inquiries.
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