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The town of Sambuca seen from high above, Source: Airbnb

There is a strong interest in Sicily’s Airbnb free house

There is a strong interest in Sicily’s Airbnb free house

This weekend there is an open house session for those curious to have a look at it

Two months ago, we reported on an exciting opportunity offered by the Italian town of Sambuca di Sicilia and the hosting platform Airbnb to have a digital nomad relocate there, stay for free in the refurbished property and act as a host. It turns out that the initiative has generated plenty of interest from around the world with more than 100 thousand applications coming in.

What’s more, the refurbished property can be visited this weekend (26-27 March) as there will be an open house session. The event will also include other initiatives, such as a food and wine fair of organic products of the territory, with tastings in the square and visits driven.

Italy is moving to formalize Digital Nomad status

Among the applications for the house stay, 22% came from residents of the United States, 15% from Argentina, 10% from India, 8% from Mexico and 5% from the United Kingdom, but there have also been applications from countries such as Canada, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand, China and Japan. The initiative is strongly linked to the possibilities offered today by remote working.

In recent days, an amendment was approved in the so-called "Sostegni-ter" tax-break decree which introduced the figure of the Digital Nomad or remote worker into the Italian legal system. They are now defined as "citizens of a third country, who carry out highly qualified work through the use of technological tools that allow working remotely autonomously or for a company even if the person is not resident in the territory of the Italian State."

Their special visa application process, however, is still being defined, according to sources. Most likely they will need to provide that they have a legitimate remote work operation, which brings them income and they will have to purchase healthcare insurance.

The 1 Euro House initiative is part of a larger Airbnb project for the promotion of conscious tourism that looks to small Italian villages. After having regenerated and transformed four properties into artist residences in the villages of Civita di Bagnoregio (Lazio), Lavenone (Lombardy), Civitacampomarano (Molise), and Sambuca di Sicilia, in 2021 the company decided to continue the adventure with the village of Sambuca.

Once again, a house was bought for 1 euro from the municipality. It was then completely renovated. The result is a property that embodies the charm of the historic Sicilian architecture and the comfort of contemporary design.

"From the sale of the houses for 1 euro repeated this year with a second call for tenders, an economic investment estimated at least 25 million euro has arisen, giving a breath of fresh air to businesses, crafts, trade and the productive fabric of Sambuca," stated the mayor of the town, Leo Ciaccio, as quoted by ANSA news agency. 

He concluded: "But above all, the recovery of these buildings has restored beauty and decor to our historic centre, becoming an example of urban regeneration for many other villages."

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