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A picturesque Italian town that pays $30,000 to those who want to move there

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — In recent years, cities across Italy have been competing to launch smart schemes aimed at attracting new residents to revive their fortunes.

From run-down homes that sell for just over a dollar, to ready-to-move-in homes for bargain prices, the competition between Italian cities seems to be intense.

The picturesque municipality of Breziche, in sunny Puglia, seems to be the latest to join the competition with an impressive offer.

Municipal officials announced that they will pay up to 30,000 euros, or about $30,000, to anyone who wants to buy and reside in an empty house in the municipality.

A picturesque Italian town that will pay you $30,000 to move there
The town offers old abandoned properties for sale with prices starting from around 25 thousand euros., plain_textCredit: Autori da Citare Nei

The price of the homes offered for sale as part of the deal is around 25,000 euros.

Like other cheap properties for sale across Italy, it has long since been abandoned by its owners.

As an added bonus, the properties have a stunning location, surrounded by the nature of Salento, and close to the beaches and clear turquoise waters of Santa Maria di Leuca.

The authorities in Presići hope the deal will breathe new life into the empty town, where fewer and fewer newborns are born each year.

“There are many empty homes in the historic center, built before 1991, and we would like to see them come back to life with new residents,” local council member Alfredo Pales told CNN.

A picturesque Italian town that will pay you $30,000 to move there
“There are many empty houses in this historic center, which were built before 1991 and we would like to see them alive again with new residents,” Alfredo Bales, a local council member, told CNN.Credit: Roberto Micoccio

“It is unfortunate to witness how the old neighborhoods, full of history, wonderful architecture and art, are slowly being abandoned,” Bales added, explaining that the details of the deal are currently being finalized, but the authorities are ready to launch application forms in the coming weeks when the information is available on the municipality’s website. .

He continued, “We will offer up to 30,000 euros to people who want to move here and buy one of these abandoned homes.”

Bales explained that the total funding will be divided into two parts, the first part of which will be allocated to the purchase of an old house, and the second to partly remodel it, if necessary.

A picturesque Italian town that will pay you $30,000 to move there
The municipality of Presiće was merged with its neighboring town of Aquarica in 2019, plain_textCredit: Ragemax/Adobe Stock

Bales said that the merger of the neighboring community of Aquarica with Presiși, to create a larger town, Presiși-Acquarica, in 2019, has provided it with additional funds to ensure the continuity of the project for years to come.

“After the merger, according to Italian law, our wider territory will be blessed with more public funds, around 1 million euros per year for the next several years, which we intend to invest to revitalize the old quarter,” Palese said.

Brzeci and Acquareca together have a population of 9,000, but only half of the population lives in the older part of the municipality.

The municipal council has already launched other schemes to attract more residents, including tax benefits for setting up new businesses and special bonuses for families with children.

In order to qualify for the €30,000 deal, buyers must hold residency in Bresice, and buy one of a selection of properties built before 1991, designated by municipal authorities.

House prices start at 500 euros per square metre, according to Bales.

The amount of 25 thousand euros is enough to secure a house of 50 square meters, which needs some repairs.

“green gold”

A picturesque Italian town that will pay you $30,000 to move there
Subterranean olive mill, plain_textCredit: Roberto Micoccio

The history of the municipality of Brezice dates back to the Middle Ages, when settlements spread around the Saracen castle built by monks who dug underground cellars and olive mills as shelters for survivors of pirate raids.

The commune gained a reputation as the “green city of gold” in Puglia for its fertile olive groves producing extra virgin olive oil, and flourished during the Renaissance as a thriving fiefdom also famous for its trade in fine wines, cheeses and livestock.

Many locals lived underground, digging caves into the rocky terrain of Presići.

Beneath the main courtyards and stately Baroque palaces is a network of 23 secret rooms and olive presses where, during the harvest season, farmers spent months pressing olives in stone mills driven by donkeys.

Festivals and the food scene

A picturesque Italian town that will pay you $30,000 to move there
Homes for sale start at around €25,000., plain_textCredit: Roberto Micoccio

Trekking and cycling trails wind through rural scenery dotted with sheep grazing fields and abandoned stone forts.

The pristine coast of Salento, which stretches between the coastal locations of Gallipoli and Santa Maria di Leuca, is just a stone’s throw away.

In addition to tours of subterranean oil mills, olive oil festivals and food tastings, attractions include the Museum of Peasant Civilization, which displays artefacts from the past.

There are annual festivals featuring Salento folk music, dance, antique crafts, and food fairs.

Fried fish dishes in Bresice, associated with Saint Andrew, are considered a delicacy, along with the famous pastas, including orecchiette.

Other local dishes include small fermented noodle dumplings stuffed with shrimp, cod and vegetables.

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