Real Estate

Italian homes on sale for 1 euro are more than buyers bargained for

“What did I expect?” requested Lorraine Bracco within the intro to “My Big Italian Adventure,” which premieres Friday, Oct. 30, on HGTV. The actuality present follows the 66-year-old, Brooklyn-born “Goodfellas” and “Sopranos” actress as she renovates an ostensible dream house she bought in idyllic Sicily, the birthplace of her grandparents, for the nominal sum of simply 1 euro. The twist? The 200-year-old construction is — shock, shock — woefully dilapidated. Really, what did she count on?

Last 12 months, in hope of attracting new residents and stimulating native economies, small cities throughout Italy like Ollolai in Sardinia and the Sicilian cities of Gangi, Mussomeli and Sambuca listed homes for sale for as little as 1 euro, or a bit over a greenback.

The Sicilian city of Cammarata gave away homes for free and within the area of Moloise they’ll even pay you $827 a month to dwell there. It’s not simply Italy that’s combating dwindling populations: the small Greek island of Antikythera additionally pledged to offer settlers $590 a month for three years to relocate, and Ponga, Spain, provides younger {couples} transferring there $3,544, with an additional $3,544 for each baby that strikes with them, or is born there.

The solely stipulation for the buyers within the Italian cities was that they offer a refundable safety deposit of $5,907, and make investments at the least $17,721 to renovate inside three years. Prospective house owners inquired from all around the world, eyes large with desires of second homes and a more rural, less complicated life.

Towns had been inundated with calls, electronic mail inboxes had been flooded and a few fortunate bidders ended up with property, like Chicago-based monetary advisor Meredith Tabbone and Bracco. Both Tabbone and Bracco bought homes within the historic hilltop city of Sambuca di Sicilia.

Buck, the pattern: Chicago monetary advisor Meredith Tabbone paid a pittance for a house in Italy.Meredith Tabbone

In “My Big Italian Adventure” Bracco, alongside together with her contractor, translator and some mates together with “Rizzoli & Isles” co-star Angie Harmon, discover la dolce vita (like tasting native dessert Minni di Vergini, impressed by a very pert a part of a girl’s anatomy) whereas navigating the ups and downs of renovating Bracco’s 2-century-old, 1,075-square-foot public sale house.

Spoiler alert: she finally decides that she wants more house and purchases the property subsequent door in a personal sale, including three bedrooms and two baths for a further $53,157.

Expansion isn’t an unusual alternative. Forty-one-year-old Tabbone had been contemplating shopping for a house overseas for years, however didn’t suppose it could be so quickly, or in her dream location of Sicily, in the identical city that was house to her ancestors on her father’s aspect and the place she nonetheless has distant family.

There was nonetheless hay on the ground and hooks with rope on the partitions.

 – Meredith Tabbone

She purchased her home sight unseen, with out ever having been to Sicily even. She initially gained her public sale house in May of 2019, paying $6,562 for the fixer-upper, however after visiting the property determined to additionally buy the newer house subsequent door from the proprietor.

Her public sale house dates again to the 1700s, with a floor flooring that was previously horse stables, with a trough constructed into its aspect.

“There was still hay on the floor and hooks with rope on the walls,” she informed The Post.

And there was additionally loads of work to be carried out.

“The house was really just a shell,” she mentioned. “ No plumbing, electricity or glass in the windows or doors and every single room is on a different level upstairs and downstairs.”

Even although the house wasn’t fairly what she anticipated, she was enamored with its distinctive architectural charms.

“It has beautiful vaulted ceilings downstairs, great stonework throughout that can be restored and the ceilings upstairs are very high,” she mentioned. “I loved it from the second that I walked into it.”

Meredith Tabbone’s Sicilian dream home, an 18th-century stable, was a nightmare to reno.
Meredith Tabbone’s Sicilian dream house, an 18th-century steady, was a nightmare to reno.Meredith Tabbone

After combining her two homes with a high-end renovation together with photo voltaic panels for power and heated flooring, she anticipates the prices to be over $100,000, a cut price for an eventual 2,500-square-foot house which can boast 4 bedrooms, 4½ bogs, two dwelling rooms, a library, eating room, kitchen, two-car storage and two terraces.

“In Chicago to have that and the [same] quality of home, it would be well into the million-dollar range,” she mentioned.

Tabbone additionally not too long ago added to her portfolio one other property within the middle of city, which she envisions as an eventual gathering house for the group with a café, artwork gallery and further house for an Airbnb or visitors.

The historic hilltop village of Sambuca di Sicilia has €1 villas.
The historic hilltop village of Sambuca di Sicilia has €1 villas.Shutterstock

And she undoubtedly anticipates visitors. Known because the City of Splendor, Sambuca contains a vibrant Arab quarter and is a brief drive from seashores, woods, mountains and well-preserved Greek ruins that Tabbone mentioned are “better than the majority of the ruins in Greece.”
For these hoping to do that sooner or later Tabbone advises doing a little legwork first.

“The way that I got my home was really just a fluke,” she mentioned. “I did zero research and had no idea what I was really bidding on, but that is probably not going to turn out as well for most people going down this route.”

She suggests utilizing an organization that focuses on serving to individuals purchase homes in Italy, or visiting the city and driving round, whereas connecting with an area realtor.

“A lot of the time there are homes that are not really listed at all for sale,” she mentioned, “but if you go there, you can talk to realtors and they know which homes are available.”

It may additionally assist to parla italiano.

“I didn’t speak Italian, but I do speak some Spanish and that has helped quite a bit because they are very similar,” mentioned Tabbone. “I am determined to become fluent. Last time I was there, the mayor, my architect and my geometra (surveyor) all said they cannot wait until my Italian is better.”


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