I first started reading about houses being sold for €1 in Italy towards the end of 2018. After the initial feeling of this is “too good to be true” I did some research and discovered that it was indeed true, that is when I decided I must make the effort to secure one of the properties.
Little did I know at this early stage, that it would end up being one of the most frustrating episodes of my life! I didn’t realise that it would take over two years to get anywhere close to securing a €1 house.
However, along the way I managed to visit many towns and villages in Italy that I simply wouldn’t have found had they not offered €1 houses or other attractive schemes to lure would-be residents to live the “dolce vita”.
Early in 2019 I started to send lots of emails to some of the €1 house towns and villages, and because of the sheer number of interested people that were probably doing the same as me, I realised that probably the best course of action would be to travel to Italy to try and view some houses.
Most of the emails I sent requesting further information just went unanswered. I remember reading an article on the CNN website about a young Australian gentleman who jumped on a flight to Italy and ended up in Sicily and actually managed to get a €1 house – so maybe it has to be sheer tenacity that will get results?
I decided to travel to Italy in May 2019. I had to be in Rome by the 10th of May to meet some family who were visiting, so this all tied in nicely. When carrying out my research I came across a village called Locana in the Northern region of Piedmont. This village did not offer €1 houses, it launched a scheme that would pay people, or more specifically families to go and live there and the scheme is still open to applicants.
A bit of background – Locana had a population of about 7,000 in the early 1900’s, but this has declined to just 1,500 today!! Locana is only about 45 kms from Turin, so over the years, many residents moved to the city to work in the factories there.
So, the deal is the commune will pay a family €3,000 a year for 3 years, so €9,000 in total. This grant will enable the family to relocate to Locana. The requirement is for the family to have school age children, as the village schools are threatened with closure due to lack of school age kids. It is hoped the parents can work “remotely” or even start a business in one of the empty properties.
So, to qualify you need at least one child and also a provable income of €6k pa. Despite the dwindling population Locana is an affluent village – it has a hydro-electric dam and sells electricity to the Italian state and industry. But for every 40 deaths there are only 10 births, a ratio that is unfortunately quite common in parts of Italy.
So having travelled through the Mont Blanc tunnel from France, I was greeted with a light snowstorm on arrival in Italy! This soon subsided and Locana is only about an hour’s drive from the Mont Blanc tunnel.
Locana is in a stunning location – it’s an alpine village and the scenery is simply breath-taking – I can imagine living here would be idyllic.
Having pitched-up at an RV park (which was not manned at the time due to being out of season), just outside the village we did manage to get free-wifi. I spent the following day exploring and looking for the mayor’s office.
After a lengthy wait at the mayor’s office, we didn’t get to see the Mayor – Bruno Mattiet, but a very helpful assistant, and we used a google translate “crib-sheet” to describe the residency scheme. We were understood, which is always a positive, but were told the new resident’s scheme is handled by the Locana Tourist Office. The tourist office is easy to find, it is on a big square with parking. However, the opening times in May were only Saturday morning!
I had to head off and visit other towns on my way down to Rome, so I took down the website and email address of the Tourist Office and decided to contact them by email.
When I sent an email asking for further details on the new resident’s scheme the Tourist office came back and said that ‘at this stage the scheme is only open to applicants that have resided in Italy for a minimum 5 years. So, the moral of the story is don’t always believe 100% of everything reported in the news!
But, I understand now that overseas applicants who have not resided in Italy for the past 5 years can apply for the Locana new residents scheme and be eligible for the €3k pa grant – I think it is an unbelievably attractive scheme for families looking to start a new life in Italy.
When I visited the town back in May 2019 I noticed there were many small businesses that were closed, probably looking for new owners to breath a bit of fresh life back into the centre. There was even a big banner on a guest house in the centre saying they were looking for new hosts to run the business!
So, if you want to take things further the email address of the Tourist Office is:
The website is :
And the email address for the commune is :