(CNN) — Cities throughout Italy have been racing to launch intelligent schemes geared toward luring new residents to revive their fortunes lately.
From dilapidated houses promoting for little greater than a greenback, to ready-to-occupy homes at knockdown costs, there’s been a frenzy of competitors.
The picturesque city of Presicce within the sunny area of Puglia is the most recent to enter the sport with a tantalizing provide. Officers say they are going to pay folks as much as 30,000 euros (roughly $30,000) to purchase an empty dwelling and take up residency.
Even higher, the homes up on the market as a part of the deal are priced from round 25,000 euros. Like different low-cost properties on sale throughout Italy, they have been lengthy deserted by their authentic house owners.
And as an added bonus, the situation is unbelievable, surrounded by the character of the Salento space within the heel of Italy’s boot and near the powder seashores and turquoise clear waters of Santa Maria di Leuca.
Authorities in Presicce hope the provide of a money incentive will breathe new life into their depopulating city, the place newborns are fewer every year.
“There are various empty houses within the historic heart constructed earlier than 1991 which we wish to see alive once more with new residents,” native councilor Alfredo Palese tells CNN. “It’s a pity witnessing how our previous districts stuffed with historical past, great structure and artwork are slowly emptying.”
“We might be providing as much as 30,000 euros to folks keen to maneuver right here and purchase considered one of these deserted dwellings,” he says. “The overall funding might be break up in two: it should go partly into shopping for an previous house and partly into restyling it, if wanted.”
A story of two cities
Presicce merged with the close by city of Acquarica in 2019.
Palese says a 2019 merger with an adjoining neighborhood to create the bigger city of Presicce-Acquarica has bequeathed it with extra cash to make sure the undertaking can proceed for years to return.
“After the merger, as per Italian regulation, our wider territory might be blessed with extra public funds, roughly 1,000,000 euros per 12 months for a number of years ahead, which we intend to take a position to revitalize the previous district,” says Palese.
Collectively, Presicce and Acquarica now have some 9,000 inhabitants however solely half of the inhabitants stay within the older a part of the neighborhood.
The city corridor has already launched different schemes to lure extra residents, together with tax advantages to arrange new enterprise actions and child bonuses for households with children.
To qualify for the 30,000-euro incentive, patrons should take up residency in Presicce and buy considered one of a collection of properties constructed earlier than 1991, which have been mapped by authorities.
In line with Palese, home costs begin at 500 euros per sq. meter. Round 25,000 euros ought to be sufficient to safe a 50-square-meter dwelling in want of some repairs.
The properties up on the market are within the city’s older district.
Presicce traces its historical past to the center ages, when settlements unfold out round a Saracen fortress constructed by monks who dug crypts and underground olive mills as shelters for pirate raid survivors.
It gained a popularity as Puglia’s “metropolis of inexperienced gold” for lush olive groves that yield premium further virgin olive oil, flourishing in the course of the Renaissance as a affluent fiefdom additionally recognized for its positive wine, cheeses and cattle commerce.
Many locals lived underground, digging caves into Presicce’s rocky terrain.
Beneath the principle piazzas and lavish Baroque palazzos lies a community of 23 secret chambers and olive mills through which farmers, often known as trappettari, spent months throughout harvest season, urgent olives in stone mills pushed by donkeys.
Many historic buildings have personal entry to underground chambers the place large mills nonetheless stand. Guided excursions by means of the subterranean metropolis are a vacationer spotlight.
Within the historical district, extensive elegant streets are crisscrossed by winding slim alleys. Stately adorned gold-colored buildings with wrought-iron balconies and internal courtyards mingle with easy white dwellings.
A subterranean olive mill.
There are frescoed palazzos, chapels and votive columns constructed by the wealthy rural bourgeoisie out of white-reddish rock.
The vecchi curti (previous courtyards) are typical dwellings positioned in two picturesque neighborhoods of the previous heart known as Corciuli and Padreterno with personal gardens, subterranean mills, citrus bushes and unique vegetation.
Presicce’s countryside provides the perfect of rural Puglia with historical solitary dome-shaped stone chapels, byzantine crypts, olive groves with large twisted tree trunks, purplish dry stone partitions and fortified masserie rural farms the place peasant households as soon as lived beneath the safety of highly effective lords to flee pirate assaults.
Festivals and meals
The homes on the market begin at round 25,000 euros.
Trekking and biking routes unwind by means of bucolic surroundings dotted with sheep-grazing fields and deserted stone forts. Salento’s pristine shoreline, operating between the seaside areas of Gallipoli and Santa Maria di Leuca, is a stone’s throw away.
Along with the excursions of subterranean oil mills and festivals with olive oil and meals tastings, sights embody a museum of peasant civilization, which showcases objects from the previous.
There are annual festivals that includes Salentina folks music, dances, vintage crafts and meals festivals.
Presicce’s fried fish delicacies, linked to the cult of Saint Andrew, are a gourmand specialty, alongside the enduring handmade pastas, orecchiette and strascinate. Different native delicacies embody pittule leavened pasta pancakes filled with shrimps, cod, greens — or made alla pizzaiola, with olives, capers and cherry tomatoes.