The One Euro House Program in Italy- How It Reads from Cyberspace

If you’ve read other articles on the One Euro House project in Italy but still find yourself scratching your head wondering, “huh?”… we agree with you.  Here are our observations of the program and what can and cannot be known “from afar” by searching around online… which is the presumable vantage point of every potential buyer. 

What’s clear:

  • Yes the program is real, some towns in Italy are electing to sell homes for they symbolic price of 1 euro (and yes, one euro is roughly one dollar…)
  • Yes, the program was initiated to try to combat Italy’s depopulation problem, which is leaving many small (and in many cases, adorable) villages on the brink of extinction
  • Yes the program comes with stipulations for renovation (usually a guaranteed agreement to start renovation within 2 months of purchase, and complete renovations within 3 years).

A Few Surprises:

  • Inventory is smaller than expected. Some sites report towns having 10, 12 houses for the program, or even fewer.  Gangi, the first town to successfully sell properties, is reported to have unloaded “all 100” homes in their inventory.  There do not appear to be thousands of houses in inventory in most cases… although by most accounts, there are thousands of bidders.
  • There seems to be no centralized management of the program. This is why it is impossible to find all the information in one place on properties available, how to proceed with bidding, etc.  Each town appears to take on the responsibility itself, for posting its properties and creating its own rules of engagement. The Italian government doesn’t seem to sponsor a central site; (instead, few good-hearted citizens take it upon themselves to maintain information… check out this YouTube channel for some nice videos on the towns… we found them pretty helpful).
  • Even for Italian towns, Italian bureaucracy can be overwhelming. By some reports, some towns could not sustain the program, or could not “make deals happen” due to problems with Italian bureaucracy.
  • There are reports of foreign investors buying homes sight unseen. And perhaps it is even encouraged.  It makes for a fun story for sure. But it seems prudent for anyone looking to invest in Italy to hop a plane to check out the place before buying.

What’s Not Surprising

  • No, houses do not actually cost 1 euro. When you sign on you agree to absorb costs both in terms of property transfer and guaranteed renovations, that will total more than 1 euro.
  • No, houses are, by and large, not in good condition. They are in many cases entirely uninhabitable.
  • These are not all “Italian villa” material. You might be imagining snagging a big house with some land around it.  And not all of these are that. Many are not.
  • Yes, there seems to be a lot of competition. Cities report getting absolutely flooded with calls for these properties. Local real estate agencies

Our Take

  • One euro house hunting in Italy may seem fun on the surface but it’s not for the feint of heart… expect lots of competition and more than likely an enormous renovation project awaiting you.
  • Seems like it’s still be a good deal when all is said and done… if you just go into it without “Under the Tuscan Sun”- type  fairytale delusions. You are going to spend more than one dollar.  A lot more.
  • You may also end up with a home in a beautiful medieval Italian town through the one euro house project… and it will certainly be a great story to tell your grandkids! However…
  • If every home you wanted in the One Euro program gets snatched up by another buyer… you can definitely find great homes in one of the thousands of other equally adorable Italian villages, for about the same actual price you’d pay for a One Euro home after renovations and other fees are factored in.  And with far fewer strings attached.


Do you have thoughts on the One Euro home project in Italy that you want to share?  Tell us in the comments below!



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