June 24, 2015, 9:39 amYahoo7 Finance
If you’ve ever dreamed about getting out of the rat race and possibly opening a quaint cafe in a quiet European village, now is the time to get in.
A woman in Gangi, Sicily. Photo: AFP
It's an offer you can't refuse: rustic abodes in a picturesque hilltop village on the island of Sicily, once home to Italian peasants and their donkeys, are available at no cost.
All you need is a love of DIY and a lot of elbow grease.
The local government has decided to give away historical properties in Gangi in an effort to boost the population of the tiny town.
Gangi used to be home to 16,000 people, but in the recent years that number has come down drastically to around 7,000.
Under the programme, vacant homes will be offered at no cost to businesses that want to spruce up the area with hotels, and individuals looking for a European fixer-upper.
A panoramic view of the village of Gangi, Sicily, 120 km from Palermo. Photo: AFP
Here’s the fine print though: Once a business secures a free house, it has to pay for the transfer of ownership and show a renovation plan within a year.
The owners will also need to fully renovate the property within three years.
The New York Times reports that project has been a success so far and has gathered a lot of international attention and interest.
A narrow street is pictured in the historical centre of Gangi. Photo: AFP
So far, nearly 100 homes have either given away or sold for cheap and there's a waiting list for the other 200 homes.
Most buyers are Italians looking for a weekend getaway, but some are from other European countries.
The NYT reports that officials are giving priority to business-minded individuals and entrepreneurs.
So if you’ve ever dreamed about getting out of the rat race and possibly opening a quaint cafe in a quiet European village, now is the time to get in.
A panoramic view of the village of Gangi in Sicily. Photo: AFP
(Inputs from AFP, Yahoo Finance)