5 Stunning Italian Villages Where You Can Buy a House for $1

caltagirone old town sicily, italy
5 Places in Italy Where You Can Buy a Home for $1Flavio Vallenari - Getty Images

Have you ever scrolled your news feed and been intrigued by news of the 1-euro homes for sale in beautiful Italian villages? Right now, the euro and dollar are roughly equivalent, so you could become a homeowner for a dollar and a few pennies. The thought of buying a villa in these picturesque places is all the more compelling when you consider that home prices in the United States have shot up nearly 37 percent over the past five years, with the median home now priced over a half million dollars.

These 1-euro home initiatives have been introduced by several small towns, mostly in southern Italy, to combat depopulation and restore old buildings instead of tearing them down, explains Ilaria Barion, the owner and principal of Barion Design and a native Italian who has owned and remodeled homes in Italy.

That’s to say living la dolce vita ultimately costs a pretty penny as these homes are in need of more than just a cosmetic refresh.

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How Much Do 1-Euro Homes in Italy Actually Cost?

While the initial price of these villas and apartments is indeed a steal when they’re sold online or at auction, you’ll notice when you read the fine print that buyers must commit to remodeling the properties and often have a deadline of one to three years to do so. Fees associated with closing the sale are usually in the $5,000 to $6,000 ballpark, and then remodel costs can run the gamut from about $25,000 if you have a construction background and buy a small apartment to $500,000 for bringing in contractors to completely gut and renovate larger spaces.

“[The 1-euro homes] can involve significant investment, often amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Barion says. “These houses are usually on the brink of collapse and suffer from structural issues. Remodeling in Italy is not for the faint of heart.”

Also, there’s several ways in which buying real estate in Italy differs from doing so in the United States, explains Samira Easton, a global advisor at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty.

The process can be more bureaucratic and slower due to extensive paperwork, she says. Mortgages are available but can be more challenging to obtain, especially for nonresidents. The process is stringent, and higher down payments are often required. Program rules for the 1-euro homes spell out the details, so while you can usually remodel the interior how you see fit, you’ll need to keep the original facade.

In the case of 1-euro homes, the likely scenario is investors are bringing cash to remodel the homes. The renovations often require mold and water damage remediation, replacing the roofing, and addressing structural issues, so you need to have the cash on hand to invest in the work, says Nikki Beauchamp, an associate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty who has clients who have explored buying and renovating in Sardinia and Sicily.

If you’re up for the challenge, there are dozens of quaint Italian villages, mostly with populations under 10,000, where you can snap up abandoned homes for a euro for your Total Home Makeover: Italy edition.

How to Find 1-Euro Homes in Italy

Every village or region runs its own 1-euro home program, and if you’re interested in seeing what’s available, you can bookmark sites—like case1euro.it—that post homes for sale. If there’s a property that catches your eye, though, you’ll want to tour it in person to get a good overview of its actual condition. There will be minimal photos and details online.

Cities in Italy Where You Can Find 1-Euro Homes

Several parts of Italy with dwindling populations have sold 1-euro homes, but these five areas of Sicily, Tuscany, and Piedmont, as well as villages on the outskirts of Rome, have become known for the sales. In many cases, the sales are promoted and managed by the mayors of the cities.


The 1-euro home sales have mostly taken off in Sicily. Several villages on this Southern Italy island have been selling or auctioning off 1-euro homes. Some notable Sicilian villages with 1-euro homes have included Caltagirone, which is known for its beautiful ceramics and a 142-step staircase decorated with local pottery (shown here), and Mussomeli, a mountaintop town with a population of about 11,000 that’s close to beaches.

Related: See Inside a One-Euro Airbnb Rental in Sicily

caltagirone, the seventeenth century staircase of santa maria del monte decorated with polychrome ceramic tiles sicily, italy
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Montieri, Grosseto

About 40 miles south of stylish Florence in Tuscany, this cute countryside village is surrounded by chestnut tree forests and dotted with medieval tunnels. The mayor of this town sells abandoned and ruined properties for one euro, but buyers must renovate them within three years or return them, Easton says.

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montieri, grosseto, tuscany italy
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Pratola Peligna, Abruzzo

This town, located two hours east of Rome, has been actively selling homes for 1 euro, Easton says. Set at the foot of the Apennine Mountains, Pratola Peligna pioneered the 1-euro homes trend in Italy’s Abruzzo region.

Related: Peek Inside an Intimate Apartment in Rome

the village of pratola peligna in abruzzo
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Borgomezzavalle, Piedmont

This tiny town with a population under 400 is set in the mountains less than an hour's drive from beautiful Lake Maggiore (shown here) to the southeast, on the border of Italy and Switzerland. It also offered homes for one euro, Easton says, including some vacant homes that date back to the 1600s. Each winter, residents in this area, which is located in the narrowest section of the Antrona Valley, position a mirror to reflect the sun and bring in more sunshine.

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cannobio, verbano cusio ossola, lake maggiore, piedmont, italy
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Zungoli, Avellino

About 70 miles from the Amalfi Coast, Zungoli is a charming hilltop town of about 1,000. Paolo Caruso, the mayor of the village, told European real estate site Idealista News: “Without 1-euro houses, there would only be ruins.” The town has acquired about 100 homes and will make 15 available in its next application round.

Related: This Hotel Has the Best Views on the Amalfi Coast

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