Friday, June 26, 2015 10:29 AM EDT
A small Sicilian town is offering up vacant houses gratis to try and reinvigorate the economy and bolster its dwindling population. But there’s a catch (there is always a catch).
The early medieval town of Gangi clings to the slopes of Sicily’s central mountains, just south of Palermo. It’s all red-tiled roofs, cobblestone streets and valley views for miles. But those roofs are in disrepair, the streets are far from bustling and the views are underappreciated.
With the current population resting at 7,000, for the past century there has been a slow and steady stream of people simply locking up and leaving, and it’s taken its toll on the town. As any homeowner knows, houses need constant attention—without it, things can get messing pretty quickly; Gangi is literally crumbling.
So, the town council took matters into their own hands and decided to hand out its vacant houses…for free. Pack you bags and grab a copy of “Just Enough Italian”, you’re thinking! But wait, there are conditions: The new owners must initiate renovations within the first year of the property transfer, complete all the work within three, and foot the bill for all the repairs.
Even with those stipulations, the project seems to be working. Gangi has already bestowed a number of houses and there is a hefty waiting list for the remaining 200. But the real question is, do you know any great contractors looking for a working vacation?