Quaint Italian town with dwindling population offers up its abandoned homes for 85p

A quaint Italian town has offered up its abandoned homes for just 85p – and without the usual need to pay a deposit like the country’s other 1 euro house schemes.

Laurenzana, in the southern region of Basilicata, is enticing newcomers by scrapping the typical caveats of deposits and legal fees which can rise to more than £5,000. 

All the mayor asks is that prospective buyers complete renovations within three years and are prepared to spend at least £17,000 to return the houses to their rustic glory.

Homes range in size from 130 to 500 square feet, but the real selling point is the idyllic setting of the town which rises high over the Serrapotamo valley, once the domain of medieval dukes and later a hiding place for 19th century revolutionaries.  

Homes range in size from 130 to 500 square feet, but the real selling point is the stunning location of the town which rises over the Serrapotamo valley, in the southern region of Basilicata

Homes range in size from 130 to 500 square feet, but the real selling point is the stunning location of the town which rises over the Serrapotamo valley, in the southern region of Basilicata

Homes range in size from 130 to 500 square feet, but the real selling point is the stunning location of the town which rises over the Serrapotamo valley, in the southern region of Basilicata

The mayor said that prospective buyers will be asked to submit a detailed proposal for the style of their renovations and works will need to begin three months of purchase

The mayor said that prospective buyers will be asked to submit a detailed proposal for the style of their renovations and works will need to begin three months of purchase

The mayor said that prospective buyers will be asked to submit a detailed proposal for the style of their renovations and works will need to begin three months of purchase

The sleepy town of 1,700 residents comes alive in the spring and summer when many families visit to escape the city during the holidays

The sleepy town of 1,700 residents comes alive in the spring and summer when many families visit to escape the city during the holidays

The sleepy town of 1,700 residents comes alive in the spring and summer when many families visit to escape the city during the holidays

‘We want to help newcomers purchase the house of their dreams without making it hard for them to follow tedious procedures and tight requirements,’ Mayor Michele Ungaro told CNN

‘At times it can be difficult to navigate through regulation, particularly if you’re a foreigner. We want this adventure to be a pleasure, not a burden.

‘That’s why we are not asking for any deposit guarantee to ensure the works are speedily carried out. It sounds as a sort of threat.

‘We rely on the good faith and commitment of buyers, but we will be constantly monitoring the work-in-progress and status of the renovation.’

The mayor said that interested parties will be asked to submit a detailed proposal for the style of their renovations and works will need to begin within three months of purchase.

Mayor Ungaro advises people to consider how they want their home to look before contacting his team to avoid being flooded with emails from people who just want an 85p house.

The properties vary in terms of how much work is required, but though many of them have not been lived in for decades, they are still in relatively good condition and do not require drastic exterior surgery.

Due to the pandemic, those who are looking to buy should expect to wait for around three months before their purchase can be completed.

But as soon as Europe’s borders reopen, Ungaro said he wants to make transactions as swift as possible. 

‘We’re also happy to cut down on purchase deed costs,’ the mayor added.

‘People won’t need to pay a notary of the usual €2,000 (£1,700) for such a legal formality, the town hall secretariat will take care of that for just €300 (£250).’ 

The town is typical to the region, with narrow, winding cobbled streets, known as 'strettele,' and arched passageways with niches in the walls

The town is typical to the region, with narrow, winding cobbled streets, known as 'strettele,' and arched passageways with niches in the walls

The town is typical to the region, with narrow, winding cobbled streets, known as ‘strettele,’ and arched passageways with niches in the walls

Laurenzana was built by the Normans in the 12th century for its strategic view of the valley and the old castle sits atop a crag in the centre of town

Laurenzana was built by the Normans in the 12th century for its strategic view of the valley and the old castle sits atop a crag in the centre of town

Laurenzana was built by the Normans in the 12th century for its strategic view of the valley and the old castle sits atop a crag in the centre of town

The town is typical of the region, with narrow, winding cobbled streets, known as ‘strettele,’ and arched passageways with niches in the walls.

Although rural, Laurenzana comes alive in the spring and summer as families return to old homes to enjoy their holidays. 

It is is situated in the heart of the Serrapotamo valley which stretches from Monte Alpi to Senise, where the Serrapotamo stream flows into the Sinni river.

Laurenzana was built by the Normans in the 12th century for its strategic view over the valley and the old castle still sits atop a crag in the town centre. 

The stunning forest of the surrounding valley rises beside the castle built by the Normans in the 1200s

The stunning forest of the surrounding valley rises beside the castle built by the Normans in the 1200s

The stunning forest of the surrounding valley rises beside the castle built by the Normans in the 1200s

It is often used for conferences and exhibitions, while part of it has been turned into a museum.

Those who choose to buy a home in Laurenzana will have their pick of cultural festivals and celebrations which the town hosts throughout the year, including medieval games.

The town is also renowned for its famous coffee liqueur which is not sold in any shops but kept by all of the residents in their homes to be served after dinner.

In the late 1800s, there were around 8,000 people living in Laurenzana but at the turn of the century thousands from the region emigrated to seek a better living in Germany and Switzerland.

Link hienalouca.com

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