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California Woman Buys 3 Sicilian Houses For $3.30 As Italy Hopes To Repopulate Its Ghost Towns

The houses are beautiful but not shiny. These houses often come with a large list of requirements to make them livable.
Cover Image Source: Instagram| @rubia.daniels
Cover Image Source: Instagram| @rubia.daniels

When Rubia Daniels, a resident of California, learnt about Italy's cheap houses, she was both amazed and curious. She got so excited that she decided to go there "to see it to make sure it was true," Business Insider reported.

By the end of her 10-day trip to Mussomeli, a remote town in Sicily, her heart was brimming with joy as she had bought three homes for €1, or $1.10, each.

Daniels had moved to California over three decades ago from Brasilia, Brazil, and told the publication that these houses reminded her of her childhood home.

"People were super welcoming and everyone wanted to have a coffee with me. The realtors embraced me like a sister — they were with me every single day through the time I was there," Daniels said.

A Perfect Plan to Remodel History

The houses are beautiful but not shiny. These houses often come with a large list of requirements to make them livable. People like Rubia make the choice of investing in remodeling rather than investing in a ready-to-move home. The money one puts in has a purpose and is still relatively low compared to other countries, as reported by The Independent.

Rubia Daniels spoke about the rich history of the town and the inhabitants that charmed her. The idea of being able to restore an abandoned building was truly her calling as it seems by her efforts. Rubia Daniel, who works in the solar industry says that this is an "environmental concept."

"We need to stop building and start remodeling the existing things that we have," she told Insider.

She gave us an insight into the different plans that she has for the new houses. Daniels is working on one of the houses to turn it into an art gallery. She plans to keep one for herself and has an elaborate plan for her third house.

"The third house, which will be my biggest project, I want to convert into a wellness center to give back to the community," she said.

The 49-year-old started rebuilding the properties towards the end of 2019 and just like all the plans that year, even this was halted by the pandemic. She has already completed two of the houses' exteriors and will start the third soon.

Italy's Dozing Towns, Yearning For People

Daniels is not alone in the quest of remodeling old structures in an attempt to repopulate the small town of Italy. Italy is known for drawing people to move there, as Forbes reported, nine villages are even offering to pay people to move there, in an effort to repopulate the lands.

The beautiful region of Calabria in southern Italy is giving a handful of new residents hard cash of about $33,000 to move to one of the several charming villages.

The region of Calabria made news in the summer of 2020 when it offered homes for $1.14 in the village of Cinquefrondi. Why is Italy selling its beautiful homes for throwaway prices? Well, as a result of young Italians increasingly migrating to the city and choosing cosmopolitan jobs over the rural way of life, the beautiful landscapes of Italy are becoming abandoned with small, aging populations that are beginning to perish.

There's Always a Flipside, Here's How To Counter it

Getty Images | Donato Fasano
Getty Images | Donato Fasano

Back in 2021, CNN reported several cases where the original owners of the houses came forward much later after the deal was sealed. They informed the buyers that they weren't informed and staked their claims on the old structures. There are several ways to counter it and end up with not one but three succesful boys like Rubia Daniel. The way to counter is lies in good research and survey. Rubia Daniels first Visited Mussomeli in spring 2019, she toured the properties with just one companion. When she returned she was in a group of eight people. Demand hints at authenticity. "Be prepared. If you find the location you want, let them know you want to sign up for the house. There are lots of people searching for these homes, and you need to be ready," Daniels advised interested buyers.