News sites all over the world published articles about Italian villas with panoramic views of the Mediterranean on a fertile patch of land dubbed the “Earthly Paradise” for One. American. Dollar. Is this the international real estate deal of 2019? Upon closer look, you see that, yes, there is a catch.
Due to depopulation as people pick up their things and opt for more metropolitan areas, realtors are floundering and left to figure out creative ways to draw potential buyers back to the area for a major revitalization. The homes are dilapidated and the catch is that buyers must invest $17,000 towards reconstruction efforts within the first 3 years of purchase.
“As opposed to other towns that have merely done this for propaganda, this city hall owns all €1 houses on sale,” says Giuseppe Cacioppo, Sambuca’s deputy mayor and tourist councilor. “We’re not intermediaries who liaise between old and new owners. You want that house, you’ll get it no time.”
Despite the $17k catch, within 48 hours of the story going live, the town has been inundated with tens of thousands of inquiries from people hoping to grab their piece of the rural Italian dream. “The whole world has got in touch,” Cacioppo adds. “Callers are from Europe, mainly Spain, Russia, and as far as South Africa, Australia, USA, the Arab Emirates.” And it’s not just individuals and tourists lured by a dream house in sunny Sicily. “A team of US lawyers, working for an American company interested in doing real estate business in Sambuca, wants to meet up with us,” says Cacioppo. “A businessman from New York just called me, saying he’s flying to Sicily tonight.
The city has a total area of 37 square miles in the South-West of Sicily, 42.25 miles far from Palermo, about 21 miles far from the archaeological park of Selinunte, and about 13 miles far from Menfi, that has beaches still pristine and the Blue Flag beach for its sea. Perched on a hill, the town of Sambuca di Sicilia is surrounded in the North-East from hills and woods, including the towering peak of Mount Genuardo in the South-West by the valleys of the river Carboj that form the reservoir of Lake Arancio. The beautiful woods surrounding the town are full of local legends and myths. The architecture is something right out of an Italian romance novel. Originally, Sambuca was coined “Zabut,” thought to be from the Arabic term meaning “the beautiful.” Other hypotheses about the origin of the name go back to the Greek instrument, the Sambuca, similar to a small harp, that reminds of the urban map of the old town, or to the sambuco plants, spread around downstream. Sambuca is a timeless environment untouched by the modernization of more metropolitan areas and inhabited by only a few thousand people. It would be ideal for an international getaway and/or real estate investment.
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