There are thousands of abandoned villages and ghost towns in Europe. Some have been abandoned for centuries, while many others were abandoned after the war. They are hidden in beautiful locations, often in remote and rural areas. For lack of funds, or a lack of long-term plans to reuse them for living or tourism (or for a hostile bureaucracy) these places are now slowly dying in silence. This is why in many countries in Europe, especially Italy and Spain, city councils are proposing interesting formulas like the “buy a house for 1€” deal, in order to save these places from oblivion.
An abandoned village in Italy – Photo source: Wiki page
Abandoned villages and ghost towns. What are they and why?
It was mainly with the post-war economic boom that the population of these small towns moved en masse to larger urban centres: in a city, it was easier to find work and more comfortable living conditions. Almost 50% of the abandoned villages and ghost towns were abandoned as a result of this change in society. In other cases, it was natural disasters (landslides, earthquakes or floods) that caused depopulation.
“Houses for 1 euro”
The sale of houses for 1 euro is one of the possible solutions to repopulate abandoned villages in Europe. Municipalities can donate crumbling structures, or buildings that need repairing, or simply unsold houses due to their particularly unfavourable position. Through a public procedure, the city councils sell the properties for the symbolic sum of 1 euro. Also, the municipalities can act as a “guarantor” for the new owners of these abandoned properties.
Beware of the costs!
However, if you are interested in repopulating an abandoned village or buy one of these old houses, you need to consider different levels of commitments and costs. First of all, you might need to submit a renovation and revaluation project within 365 days of purchase. You have to bear the costs of urban planning too. Then there is the lawyer (notary), and other various professional figures to pay for the renovation works. In addition, there are deadlines to respect. Once you have all the permits, you may need to start the renovation work within two months from the property document acquisition. In some cases, to guarantee the security of the purchase, the municipality asks the buyer to take out a surety policy of 5 thousand euros for three years, which will then be reimbursed on expiry.
Abandoned villages – articles and announcement 🏚️
This page is relatively new. It features articles, news, announcements about “abandoned villages and houses” in Europe (especially Italy, Spain and other Mediterranean countries). If you’d like to inform us about an abandoned village project please feel free to contact us. If you are a host, or a community, or an organization looking for volunteers to help you renovating an abandoned village, feel free toadd your listing.
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