If you’ve ever dreamed of moving to Italy (and, really, who hasn’t?), and need that extra bit of incentive, we’ve got it here. Not only is the mayor of Candela paying people to relocate to his gorgeous little town in the Puglia region, but now Ollolai, a little village nestled in the mountains of Sardinia, is selling historic homes for just one dollar.
Now, to recap, Sardinia isn’t just a stunning little island off the Italian coast with sandy white beaches and a turquoise sea. It’s also one of only five Blue Zones—a name that bestselling author Dan Buettner gave to describe five geographic areas where people live statistically longest. Loads of reporters have traveled there recently to extract the secrets to a long life (which you can read about here), and now you can be one of the people benefiting from their healthy and exciting approach to existence. Not to mention, they are rumored to have even better food and wine than the mainland. No wonder Italians are consistently rated the happiest and healthiest people on Earth.
Ollolai is smack dab in the center of the Sardinia, in the mountain region of Barbagia, which is famous for its incredible multi-day hikes through ancient caves and cliffs and rivers to the Baunei coastline. It’s a thoroughly historic town, filled with romantic, cobbled alleyways, and tiny restaurants sinking into their wine cellars. Many of the traditions there pre-date to the Roman Empire, and local shepherds continue to make the delectable cheese, Casu Fiore Sardo, which the area is known for.
But, over the past fifty years, it’s also seen a major shrink in population, going from 2,250 to 1,300, as young people flock to the cities in search of greater financial opportunity. Stately mansions that have been abandoned stand dilapidated, gathering dust. So the mayor, Efisio Arbau, has proposed a solution: he will sell the homes for as little as a $1, with the provision that the buyer has three years to refurbish the dwelling, a project that would likely only cost about $25,000.
Arbau is hopeful his plan will work, and his positive attitude is one of the personality traits that Sardinians possess that helps them live so long.
“We boast prehistoric origins,” he told CNN. “My crusade is to rescue our unique traditions from falling into oblivion. “Pride in our past is our strength. We’ve always been tough people and won’t allow our town to die.”
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