Saturday, July 11, 2015

This picturesque Sicilian town is giving away houses for free

Image credits: Giuseppe Finocchiaro via Flickr

Despite being the home of Antonello da Messina, Sicily is synonymous with the The Godfather, and I have a theory that about 60% of people visit the island because of the movie.

   Now, if you're on the lookout for a new home and you're a fan of the Oscar-winning film and the Sicilian landscape, you should check out the picturesque mountain village of Gangi. Why? Because the quaint small town is giving away for free many of the houses that line its ancient stone streets. They are mostly three-story farmhouses, and many of them have panoramic views of Mount Etna. There is, however, a small catch.

Image credits: patrick_22_b via Flickr

Image credits: bruno.s via Flickr
 
   The residences are generally in pretty rough shape, some abandoned years ago. And, "those who will be assigned the free houses have to bear the expenses for the transfer of ownership and must undertake to present the project of renovation of the property within one year of purchase and complete renovations within three years."

   The offer is the last ditch attempt of local government officials to save Gangi from falling into rack and ruin. Starting in the 1890s, the town experienced mass exodus, with much of its population leaving for the United States or South America. It's population has sunk from 16,000 in the 1950s to around 7,000 today.

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