We are very often asked if it is possible to get a €1 house in Tuscany (Toscana) and the answer is “yes” it has been possible, and you still can find a €1 house in this most desirable Italian region.
It is quite incredible, as the Tuscan region is home to some of the most desirable dwellings in Italy. Here you will also find the famous Chianti wine and over the years the region became so popular with wealthy UK buyers that it became known as “Chianti-Shire”.
But there are still remote villages in the region where the population has plummeted due to falling birth rates and migration to cities and other countries. Consequently, there are derelict buildings that have stood empty for many years and are now at the point where they are inhabitable and in some cases just ruins. Many of these properties have been inherited and subsequently the owners still must pay property taxes even though they have never visited the dwelling.
In May 2019, I planned to visit several towns and villages in Italy to find a €1 house. After leaving Locana, in Piedmont I headed for Tuscany and spent a night in Pisa. The day after I headed for a town called Fabbriche di Vergemolin which is only about 62 kms from Pisa and about 100km from the beautiful city of Florence (Firenze).
I had looked at the commune’s website and seen pictures of some of the €1 houses they were offering. These were mainly rural properties – some with big footprints where the costs of renovations would be extremely high (think big roofs to be replaced and stone walls that have collapsed). Some properties appeared to be little more than a pile of stones, but hey it’s Tuscany.
I had emailed the commune to see if it would be possible to visit some of the €1 houses, they still had available, but I hadn’t received a reply before my planned visit, so I decided not to drive to the town as I didn’t want a wasted journey.
I did receive a reply a few days later but by then I had arrived in Rome for a week. I thought maybe I could visit Fabbriche di Vergemolin when I pass through Tuscany on our journey home but was told that many of the ruins were on single track lanes therefore, I decided the access for a camping car would be far too dangerous and aborted this lovely part of Italy.
A word of warning – I thought the best way to secure a €1 house would be to visit the town or village, turn up at the commune and ask to see some of the €1 houses they have on offer. In practise this didn’t work! Often the offices for the commune may not be in the village you visit, but a regional office in a bigger town. Also, in the summer months it is very difficult to get responses by email. Forget August as nothing happens (like most European countries) and everything is closed. Also bear in mind there may be restricted visiting days whereby you can physically visit the Commune offices, particularly post Covid. Opening hours could also be limited e.g. 08.00-14.00 seems quite common.
My advice is to email or call and to make any appointments well in advance of your planned visit – I like to be spontaneous but it didn’t seem to work. Unless you can stay in the region for a month or so you might struggle – I was heading to Rome and had a deadline to get there and it just didn’t tie in with doing day visits to towns with no confirmed appointments for meetings or viewings.
I since discovered the commune of Fabbriche di Vergemoli is extremely well organised and efficient with its approach to the €1 house allocation. They probably had more detailed information on their website than any other commune and were very “up front” with regards to the expected costs of renovations. I read in a FAQ section that average renovation costs would be €100,000 or more.
We had heard that the €1 house scheme had been suspended as all properties were now allocated, but the commune website seems to indicate there are properties still available.
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