May 19, 2021 2 min read

Are one-euro homes in Italy too good to be true?

An Italian village near a mountainous hillside, with brown, tan and orange roofs

Have you heard about the villages in Italy that are offering homes for €1 — yes 1 euro, or about $1.22 USD.

Have you heard about the villages in Italy offering homes for €1 — yes 1 euro, or about USD 1.22?

You may have seen the headlines. Houses in Italy are on sale for the bargain-basement price of 1 whole euro. Let's talk about a bit of history and then assess the opportunity.

The History

A street map of Italy

To many, Italy is a part of the Old World, a nation with an ancient history dating back to the first Roman Republic. But the nation we know as Italy only unified in a process that started in 1848 and was finally completed in 1871.

Since the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fourth and fifth centuries, the peninsula of Italy has existed throughout history as a fragmented group of city-states. Kings, queens, popes, and invaders would trade territory back and forth.

The famous cities of the North like Florence, Milan, and Rome experienced a series of economic renaissances starting with — well, The Renaissance.

The south of Italy, including the island of Sicily, has always existed in the shadow of the economic powerhouse that is the North.

During the 20th century, many people left southern Italy for the Northern cities and North America, seeking economic opportunity.

The Situation

Villages in southern Italy, often with beautiful views and proximity to wine country, rolling vistas, and stunning Italian landscapes have experienced the population-brain-drain for decades now. Houses in villages — often hundreds of years old — sit abandoned. These towns, where the abandoned houses are often the de facto responsibility of the municipality want to welcome people back.

Now let's be sober-eyed about this. There's a reason that they a being sold for a single euro. These houses need work. Almost anything that is one euro will be in bad shape.

But people are still taking the plunge — people like Lorraine Bracco from Goodfellas (Karen Hill) and The Sopranos (Dr. Melfi).

And this is not just one random town — dozens of towns are participating in programs to offer up houses for one euro.

🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹 Here's how to explore further 🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹

Read about 11 towns that are offering the program.
Check out Travel and Leisure's list of tips from someone who did it.
Watch Business Insider's video on The Truth About One Euro Homes
Take a deep dive with CNN on Mussomeli, a Sicilian town that's open for business.
Take note of the caveats at italymammamia.com


Other cool items for digital nomads and remote workers:

🔢 Forbes released a list of the best destinations for digital nomads. Oddly, Norway garnered the highest score, and the UAE — sunny Dubai — took the lowest score.

🇭🇷 Total Croatia News interviews Zoltan Nagy about the Dubrovnik digital-nomads-in-residence program

🇮🇹 Italy opens its borders to American residents among a general loosening of the EU and Schengen area restrictions. So — Americans — if you were thinking about attending an open house at one of those one-euro homes...

📱 Refinery29 contemplates the future of influencers in a post-pandemic world.

🧳 Fast Company goes deep on the trend we are most interested in — the idea that countries are competing for digital nomads. This is not just some grey-area, fuzzy, ill-defined way of making an income while traveling. Nations are formalizing digital nomads' right to be present in the country while earning income elsewhere.


Curtis Duggan
Curtis Duggan
Founder of Wayviator.com. Curtis co-founded a digital health company in 2016 and sold it to Virgin Pulse in 2020.
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