Travel Ollolai, Italy: The town selling homes for $1

21:40  30 january  2018
21:40  30 january  2018 Source:   CNN

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Ever dreamed of owning a home in a pretty village in Italy ? The news you've been waiting for has arrived. The Italian town of Ollolai is selling homes for a dollar. Italian town Ollolai sells $ 1 homes to lure new residents.

Ollolai , the region's former capital, is selling hundreds of empty homes for next to nothing, CNN reports. Officials want to boost a shrinking local population and preserve the town 's heritage, and they're hoping that the region's charm and low cost of living will attract new blood.

The town's mayor has put 200 homes on the market for just one euro. © Courtesy of Ollolai comune proloco The town's mayor has put 200 homes on the market for just one euro.

Ever dreamed of owning a home in a pretty Italian village? The news you've been waiting for has finally arrived.

You can now buy one for just over a dollar.

Ollolai, a destination in the mountain region of Barbagia on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, is selling hundreds of abandoned homes for just €1 ($1.2).

It's not the first Italian town to try the gimmick, but it seems to be the first to live up to the promise. It's also got the beauty and history needed to draw people in.

The real estate bonanza comes with a catch, though. The 200 stone-built dwellings up for grabs are in poor condition and buyers must commit to a refurbishment within three years -- which will likely cost about $25,000. 

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The beautiful town of Ollolai rests in the mountains of Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy in the Mediterranean. The city has over 200 stone dwellings that are falling into disrepair, and a population that is rapidly dwindling. To reverse the problem, the city is selling off homes for one Euro, provided

January 30, 2018. An Italian village is selling some of its historic homes for only € 1 — or about $ 1 .20. Ollolai , located in the region of Barbagia on Sardinia, has 200 stone houses that need new owners. Pride in our past is our strength. We've always been tough people and won't allow our town to die.”

Behind the sell-off is a plan to rejuvenate a community at risk of becoming a ghost town. In the past half century, Ollolai's population has shrunk from 2,250 to 1,300, with only a handful of babies born each year.

"We boast prehistoric origins," says Efisio Arbau, Ollolai's mayor. "My crusade is to rescue our unique traditions from falling into oblivion.

"Pride in our past is our strength. We've always been tough people and won't allow our town to die."

Disappearing town

Locals are excited about the scheme and hope it will breathe life back into Ollolai. © Courtesy Sardegna Live/Roberto Tangianu Locals are excited about the scheme and hope it will breathe life back into Ollolai. Formerly Barbagia's capital, Ollolai remains the most untouched and authentic patch of Sardinia.

Once buzzing, its maze of alleys and mural-covered piazzas are now silent, as younger residents have been lured away to bigger cities.

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The Italian town of Ollolai is offering to sell people abandoned house for $ 1 if they promise to renovate them within three years. You Can Buy A House In The Picturesque Italian Village Of Ollolai If You Happen To Have $ 1 . # Italy .

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Abandoned by the families who once occupied them, many stone dwellings have been lying in ruin, covered in cobwebs, for decades.

Some traditional ways of life survive. Local shepherds continue to make the exquisite premium sheep cheese, Casu Fiore Sardo, that the area is known for, while artisans still weave fine baskets.

Arbau likens the town's struggles to its olden day battles, from an era when surrounding caves were used by separatists and bandits to stow their kidnap victims.

"We once had a fiery king, Dux Ospitone, who united all heathen tribes in a league," he adds. "Our pagan ancestors never succumbed to the ancient Roman conquerors, who dubbed us 'barbarians.'

"These hills are Italy's 'Highlands' and we are sons of 'Bravehearts.'" 

Regeneration process

The population of Ollolai has dwindled to 1,300 and the town is filled with abandoned stone dwellings. © Courtesy Sardegna Live/Roberto Tangianu The population of Ollolai has dwindled to 1,300 and the town is filled with abandoned stone dwellings. Now Ollolai, which takes its name from an ancient battle cry of "alalé," is fighting back once again.

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Home . In some towns of Italy old houses are sold at one our. In Sardinia, Ollolai with its 2,000 inhabitants has already sold the first house at one euro, and is expecting to sell two more.

OLLOLAI , Italy - If you’ve ever wanted to leave it all and move to an Italian island, a town on Sardinia has a deal for you. Ollolai is trying to fill abandoned homes and is selling the properties for the bargain basement price of 1 Euro or about $ 1 .20.

In a bid to breathe new life into the town, Arbau contacted former home owners -- shepherds, farmers and craftsmen -- asking them to sign the homes over to town authorities.

"They're picturesque old buildings made with Sardinia's typical gray granite rock that grows on mountain peaks and shores," says Arbau.

"We need to bring our grandmas' homes back from the grave."

He approved a special decree and placed the properties on the market, at bargain prices, in 2017.

Despite their poor conditions, three houses have already been sold and Arbau says he's received more than 100 purchase requests from across the world, including Russia and Australia.

The mayor hopes the refurbishment of the homes will help create new jobs and revive the local economy.

Frozen in time

a view of a city © Courtesy of Ollolai comune proloco Vito Casula, a retired builder, was the first to snap up a two-story house for less than the cost of a cappuccino.

He transformed his new home using environmentally friendly materials, but kept the original decor, recycling old furniture.

"We live nearby and frequently visited Ollolai. Then one day my wife saw the ad in the newspaper. It was an opportunity," says Casula. "This quiet town is frozen in time. It offers a peaceful, healthy life."

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The Italian town of Ollolai on the island of Sardinia has hundreds of homes that are currently on sale for as low as one euro (about $ 1 .25). A post shared by Italia | Italy Yallers ® (@yallersitalia) on Dec 10, 2017 at 1 :01pm PST.

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He recommends the village to anyone who "is sick with too much stress and needs a break."

"The fresh air, zero smog and great views have a healing power. My bones and back don't hurt anymore," he adds.

Casula says Ollolai's relaxing vibe, delicious cuisine and friendly locals are among its top selling points.

"Residents are so open and friendly they make you feel at home. They never allow me to pay for anything at the bar and constantly invite us over for lunch and dinner," he adds.

Homemade specialties include su pane vratau, made of layers of flat crispy carasau bread soaked in water, tomato sauce, poached eggs and grated Fiore sheep cheese.

There's also su pistiddu, an autumn cake made of coffee, nuts, almonds, semolina, hazelnuts, raisins and sapa grape syrup.

Local delicacy porceddu (roasted baby piglet), is cooked on a bonfire, skewered on huge vertical spits and placed on burning charcoals.

In fall, cortes apertas (open courtyards) sees stables and ancient granite-and-turf taverns open to the public, offering crazily good wine, ham, cheese and a few other delicacies.

Other town events include a carnival where participants wear costumes including goat-style masks with horns, fur and dangling bells or white embroidered face veils that symbolize the union of death and life.

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Newcomers can also explore folklore events and archaic rituals such as the "s'istrumpa," a tussle where players must toss their opponent to the ground to win the town's respect.

Steeped in superstition, Ollolai is a place where women make amulets to ward off bad luck and residents' cars carry written prayers to keep evil at bay. 

Sardinia's 'primitive heart'

Ollolai offers a perfect vantage point to take in the vast views across Sardinia. © Courtesy of Ollolai comune proloco Ollolai offers a perfect vantage point to take in the vast views across Sardinia. The village regularly attracts travelers looking for a quiet, sunny retreat,

The 1,200-meter-high peak Nodu de S'Aschisorgu (the Treasure Rock) boasts a spectacular 360-degree view of the island, while Ollolai's surrounding lakes, rivers, protected parks, oak and beech tree forests are dotted with cone-shaped primitive settlements called nuraghi.

And while it may be a long way away from Sardinia's luxury beaches, Ollolai is still close to shimmering pristine seas.

A one-hour car drive takes you to the breathtaking cliffs of Cala Gonone, with stunning sea grottoes perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Arbau is also introducing activities like cheese, pasta and basket making courses, alongside dialect lessons to keep newcomers busy.

"Our language is hard to understand, even for Sardinians, but we know foreigners love to mingle. This is also a social experiment," he says.

Only time will tell if the mayor's gamble has paid off, but locals are excited and interest in the town is growing.

In fact, a reality show centered around a group of Dutch families as they set up in Ollolai and restore some of the houses is expected to launch in May.

Silvia Marchetti is a Rome-based freelance reporter. She writes about finance, economics, travel and culture for a wide range of media including MNI News, Newsweek and The Guardian.

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