Small Town in Italy Sells Houses for 1 Euro

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. uninhabited / ˌʌnɪnˈhæbətəd / (adj) – not occupied by people

    Many houses in my town are now uninhabited because the previous residents already moved to other countries.

  2. picturesque / ˌpɪktʃəˈrɛsk / (adj) – very attractive or beautiful

    I want to live in a picturesque town near the beach.

  3. greener pastures / 'griːnɚ 'pæstʃɚs / (idiom) – a place or situation that is more favorable

    He decided to quit his job to move on to greener pastures.

  4. lure (someone or something) into (some place) / luɚ ˈɪntu / (phrasal) – to make someone or something want to be somewhere

    The local government lowered its taxes to lure businesses into the town.

  5. occupied / ˈɑːkjəˌpaɪd / (adj) – busy doing something or thinking about something

    Reading keeps me occupied on the weekends.


Read the text below.

Uninhabited houses in a small town in Italy are being sold for €1.

The town, called Sambuca, is known for its picturesque landscape. It features a view of the volcano Mount Etna, a number of hiking trails, and vast vineyards [VIN-yerds]. Because of its beauty, the town was dubbed as an “Earthly Paradise.”

Despite its charm, many residents have left the town to look for greener pastures in bigger cities. To lure people into the town, the local government decided to sell houses for a very low price. Once buyers pay the €1-charge, local officials can easily hand the houses over to the buyers.

However, the officials noted that the houses need major renovations. If buyers decide to purchase a house, they have to spend at least €15,000 in renovations, and they need to complete the house improvements within three years. Buyers also need to pay a security deposit of €5,000, which will be returned once the renovations are done.

Although the cost of refurbishing may seem much, Sambuca Deputy Mayor Giuseppe Cacioppo [juu-SEP-ee kah-CHOH-poh] said that living in an “Earthly Paradise” is worth it. Many people seem to agree since the town has gotten 38,000 inquiries in January.

Kathleen Peddicord, founder of Live and Invest Overseas, a website that gives advice to those who want to live and invest abroad, said that life in Sambuca will be very simple and quiet. Hence, she advised buyers to have a plan on how to keep themselves occupied as there will be limited activities to do aside from renovating and gardening.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Considering the renovation costs, do you think it is worth it to buy a house in Sambuca? Why or why not?
• Aside from selling houses for a cheap price, in what other ways can Sambuca encourage more people to move there? Discuss.

Discussion B

• What would make you decide to live abroad?
• What problems would someone moving abroad encounter? Explain how these problems can be addressed.