Houses in Sambuca have been put on sale for as little as €1 in a bid to encourage investment from foreign buyers – that’s cheaper than a shot of Sambuca.
Dozens of these bargain properties are on the market in the hilltop Mediterranean town, which boasts average yearly temperatures of 22 degrees, a view of the Mount Etna volcano, and is only 40 miles from Palermo.
But there is a catch – buyers must commit to refurbishing within three years, at a cost of €15,000 (£13,200) or more.
You’ll also need to hand over a €5,000 security deposit, which will be returned once your refurbishment is complete. But – even if you’re looking at a total bill of €20,000 – that’s cheaper than most houses elsewhere and a lot cheaper than a garage in London.
Potential buyers don’t need to worry about it being a slow process either – local officials have promised it’ll be speedy, as all the properties for sale are owned by the council, not private landlords.
Most of the houses are two-storey dwellings built with pinkish stone, with courtyards, palm gardens and arcaded entrances.
The deal, which has seen the town win global fame, was set up to revive an area that has undergone depopulation in recent years, with residents moving to bigger cities with greater employment prospects.
Sambuca was founded by invading Arabs around 830BC, who named it ‘Zabuth’. They built a castle, and a Muslim population inhabited the area until the 13th century, when it was conquered by Frederick II.
From the 15th to the 19th century, Sambuca experienced alternating extremes of prosperity and plagues, as well as a number of earthquakes.
Now, it’s known for being located inside a nature reserve and surrounded by beaches and mountains. Sounds perfect for a peaceful getaway.