(CNN) — The Covid-19 pandemic may perhaps have irreversibly transformed the world as we know it, but it would seem there are some items that can continue to be counted on.

And struggling towns in Italy providing off deserted houses at bargain costs in a bid to reverse a craze of depopulation is unquestionably one of them.

The picturesque town of Salemi in Sicily is the most up-to-date to offer you up dilapidated houses for less than the expense of an espresso.

In excess of the next month, a number of dozen crumbling dwellings will go up for auction with a commencing cost of €1, or little more than a dollar.

The town’s mayor, Domenico Venuti, hopes the plan will breathe new daily life into Salemi, which saw its populace shrink considerably when at minimum 4,000 citizens fled adhering to the horrible earthquake of 1968 that rocked Sicily’s Belice Valley.

“All buildings belong to the town council, which speeds up the sale and cuts down red tape,” Venuti tells CNN Vacation.

“In advance of launching the scheme we initial had to get well the old areas of Salemi where by the houses are positioned, upgrading infrastructures and companies from roadways to electrical grids and sewage pipes.

“Now the city is prepared for the up coming action.”

Revitalization hopes

Sicilian town Salemi is hoping to appeal to new people by auctioning off properties with a 1 euro commencing selling price.

Francesco Russo

Whilst it may possibly seem to be like Salemi is fairly late to the a person-euro-home celebration, officials right here ended up amid the first to advise providing off dilapidated households for following to practically nothing on the ailment that customers renovate the homes.

Equivalent schemes have been introduced in a variety of Italian hamlets, such as Cinquefrondi, a community in the southern area of Calabria, and Mussomeli, also in Sicily.

Having said that, officers could not get the Salemi task signed off at the time owing to a variety of bureaucratic troubles, and it was considered required for the town to receive an exterior makeover initially.

“It was a prolonged procedure,” points out Venuti. “Not only did we carry out extensive upkeep will work to secure the risky crumbly locations, we also experienced to recover lots of houses to residential use.

“We have been all set for a although but needed to wait and see how the Covid-19 crisis evolved.”

Italy was hit significantly difficult by Covid-19 relatively early on, though Sicily has so far been a single of the European nation’s least impacted areas.

When Venuti admits the virus stays a problem for inhabitants of the town, which currently has close to 30 described cases, he believes now is the appropriate time to go forward with the plan, stressing that case numbers are reducing by the day.

The picked residences will go up for auction with a €1 starting up rate, replicating the process adopted by the Sicilian city of Sambuca, the place dwellings were offered to the best bidder and at minimum one customer acquired a home sight unseen.

Urban impact

Italian town of Salemi auctioning off homes for one euro

Some properties had been considerably weakened during the 1968 earthquake that rocked Sicily’s Belice Valley.

Francesco Russo

Dating again to the 1600s, the residences lie in the heart of the historical center, enclosed by the historic town partitions.

Although some might be in need to have of significant repairs owing to the injury triggered by the earthquake, a lot of are in reasonably good condition, with nominal get the job done necessary.

Masking an region of at minimum 85 square meters, they are created with a yellowish-pink reliable sandstone extracted from nearby caves which is named “campanedda,” or “bell’ in regional dialect — its name arrives from the audio the stone will make when hit with a hammer.

All have incredibly related attributes, these types of as several flooring and thick walls, when a few have panoramic balconies, but individuals on Belvedere Avenue are arguably the most attractive, as they overlook a rich eco-friendly valley.

While restyled quite a few times around the generations, the properties, which extend across two to three floors, were as soon as microcosms of rural daily life in the city.

When they were initially built, people would sleep on the higher floors, when their animals ended up stored in stables on the ground stage.

In accordance to Venuti, potential purchasers are not expected to stop by Salemi to examine the houses prior to making an provide, but they will need to deliver a specific restyle plan to display their motivation to the venture.

Individuals interested can look at images of offered houses, along with maps determining their whereabouts, and download software varieties on the city council’s institutional web site after the task goes live.

The renovation initiatives will also be evaluated according to the urban impact.

All those organizing to transform one of the attributes into a B&B or one more sort of enterprise establishment with financial exercise will obtain additional factors and tax credits.

A solitary consumer can buy extra than 1 residence, but all potential buyers ought to pay a deposit promise of €3,000, which is to be returned if the restyle is done within just three a long time.

Venuti claims there are at minimum a further 100 dwellings in the city that could most likely be offered following this 1st ton.

But several are former storehouses, stables or retailers, so they are going to will need to be converted to residential use ahead of getting positioned on the marketplace.

Golden dreams

Italian town of Salemi auctioning off homes for one euro

The abandoned residences heading less than the hammer all have modest panoramic balconies and terraces.

Francesco Russo

Salemi has a one of a kind sparkle many thanks to the golden warm hue of the campanedda stone adorning the facades of its churches, castle, palazzos and homes, which would make them shine in the daylight.

Situated near to Trapani’s airport and the departure harbor for the tropical-like Egadi islands, it truly is ideally positioned for exploring Sicily’s wild spots and stunning beaches.

Surrounded by fields of grazing herds, Salemi sits at the feet of Roses Mountain and is encircled by two pristine rivers, which add to its new, oxygen-prosperous air.

When Sicilian summers are notoriously sizzling, the city is located at an altitude of 450 meters earlier mentioned sea amount, a placement that generates a refreshing amazing breeze.

Visitors can get on several scenic “archeo-trekking” routes through the countryside with ruins of fortresses and a necropolis dotted alongside the way.

The organic reserve of Scopello, well-known for its amazing sea stacks and open-air tuna manufacturing facility, is just a 20-minute car journey absent, even though gold-colored temples of Selinunte and Segesta are just a stone’s toss away.

Established on the ashes of a primitive settlement and afterwards conquered by the Saracens, its title is believed to stem from the Arab word “Salam,” which interprets to “healthy and safe” — or “Salem,” which indicates “tranquil.”

A stratification of medieval and Baroque architectures, Salemi slowly but surely unwinds beneath a majestic Norman castle, when aristocratic mansions give way to simple stone dwellings that formerly belonged to farmers and artisans.

The town’s most important piazza is a crumbled church, whilst the ruins of its stone apse are however standing close to the go-to spot for leisurely sunset strolls.

Its residential layers are linked to the abandoned regions the houses are situated in by a maze of narrow alleys.

These forsaken districts form a patchwork of very small ghost neighborhoods and are a sharp distinction to the town’s extra energetic places.

Jazz, beer and bread

Italian town of Salemi auctioning off homes for one euro

Bread-generating artistry on display screen at Salemi’s Church of San Giuseppe.

Francesco Russo

Although Salemi may be in need to have of far more residents, the city absolutely isn’t really missing when it arrives to food and exercise.

A jazz competition is held below yearly to commemorate American musician Tony Scott, who is buried in Salemi — Scott’s parents were both Sicilian.

A quirky “minimal Oktoberfest” occasion, wherever young beer-makers offer you a taste of their ales made with local cereal grains, normally takes put in October.

On St. Joseph’s Working day, Father’s Working day in Italy, a culinary feast is held all through which 101 gourmand dishes are ready in excess of the program of a 7 days to honor the adoptive father of Jesus.

The party is anything of an ingesting pilgrimage that unravels by the town’s districts, where by food items altars protected in laurels and embellished with artistic bread sculptures and other delicacies are set up, even though church altars are adorned with dough masterpieces.

Three youngsters from deprived family members are invited inside the church to sit at a banquet and indulge in a collection of gourmand plates.

The banquet’s “spiritual menu” functions signature dishes designed with neighborhood, seasonal products this sort of as polpette meatballs with fennel and broccoli, and omelets with fragrant herbs, alongside Vastedda sheep cheese.

There is certainly also a excellent offer of remarkable bread-building artistry on display.

This tradition hails back to pagan moments, when harvest festivities, Sicilian-model Thanksgiving get-togethers, have been held to honor Ceres, goddess of abundance, and shut out the annually grain cycle.

You may locate living crèches created of biscuits and breads to symbolize the holy spouse and children, with the toddler Jesus as a round-shaped bagel and the Madonna as a palm-formed loaf.

A different standout town celebration is the Pageant of the Busiata, in which attendees are treated to steaming plates of handmade pasta created from twisting the durum wheat around knitting needles to develop an elongated helix shape.