(CNN) — When the mayor of a sleepy Italian city introduced it was promoting homes that individuals can transfer into for lower than the value of a used automotive, he thought he would possibly get one or two gives.
“We were flooded with requests,” Gianfilippo Mignogna tells CNN. “Many people sent us touching letters of why they’d like to buy a house here and become part of our community, alongside their photos to introduce who they were.
“Some had intriguing, fascinating private tales, linked to our territory and migration historical past.”
Messages keep flowing in, Mignogna says. Writers, cooks, scientists, doctors, movie makers and ordinary families have all reached out.
Biccari is the latest in a series of Italian towns and villages to sell off dilapidated old houses for a song in the hope of reversing depopulation trends that threaten their existence.
But while the town has joined others in putting dwellings in need of renovation on the market for a €1, or a little over a dollar, it bucked the trend by also offering hassle-free ready-to-occupy homes for sale with prices starting at €7,500 ($9,000).
Even with Covid restricting global travel, Mayor Mignogna says the deal acted like a magnet for people wanting to move to Italy. Some have been spurred to contact the town because of the pandemic.
“A number of foreigners who occurred to be in Italy drove over to see the buildings,” he says. “I’ve set-up a workforce to reply the emails. Very shortly the properties can be on-line.”
Among those dreaming of a new life under the Puglia sun, drinking great wine and indulging in tasty food, were some applicants hoping to return to the community their families emigrated from.
Tony Colanardi says he already speaks the local dialect thanks to his father who emigrated from Biccari.
Tony Colanardi, who owns a paint company in Ontario, says his father was born in Biccari in 1938 and migrated to Canada in the 1960s to start his own family.
Colanardi says he has never lost with his roots and sees the cheap homes deal as a chance to further connect with the town of his origins.
“We retained lots of the customs together with the making of many meals merchandise at dwelling,” Colanardi tells CNN. “To this present day we nonetheless make our personal tomato passata, sausages and wine.”
Colanardi even speaks a Biccarese dialect that only locals understand and often visits the village. He says his children love Biccari — the food, the hiking, the history of the area — and each time he returns to the village he’s enthusiastic to show them the real places of their grandfather’s stories.
“Biccari gives a pleasant calm life-style with attractive countryside,” he says “The local weather is ideal for somebody from Canada and as I transfer in direction of retirement age I wish to spend a few of my time someplace the place the tempo is just not so quick and the persons are good.”
Saving the rural world
Hailing from the Netherlands, husband and wife Tom and Ellen Jannink own two companies focused on supporting villages in keeping their communities livable. They have two kids and are hoping to buy a ready-to-move-in property in Biccari for leisure and work.
“We are in search of a spot the place we will discover our peace and relaxation,” Tom Jannink told CNN. “Space for our household, through which we will work and through which we will additionally obtain friends.
“This way we can share beautiful Italy with our large social and business network. And perhaps entice more families to move to Biccari.”
Jannink says he is labored with communities within the Netherlands that are going through the identical points as Biccari and believes he has the data and expertise to assist revitalize the city.
The household is eager on a second residence in Biccari the place they will spend a big a part of the yr working remotely — more and more an choice as a result of pandemic.
Italian-Brazilian Eduardo Bergonzoni Junqueira from Sao Paulo additionally desires to help in reviving the dwindling local people.
His ancestors got here from the Italian area of Tuscany. He and spouse Ana Carolina wish to provide their scientific abilities to higher the village. Junqueira is a laboratory technician, physiotherapist and has began his grasp’s diploma in neuroscience.
“I want to explore and make sense of my Italian citizenship,” he says. “I’m planning to provide services in the area of information technology to help the local agriculture and tourism and strengthen the traditions of the local society.
“As my spouse and I are within the healthcare discipline another choice could be to validate our diplomas in Italy and work by providing our providers to the folks of the area”, says Junqueira.
They’re looking for a cheap redone house rather than a €1 property to avoid the complexities of renovation.
“I like outdated homes, and I simply desire a snug place that I can change in line with the wants of my household and in my very own time.”
‘Happy and fulfilled’
Andres Jose Encerrado Manriquez hopes his scientific background will benefit the community.
Andres Jose Encerrado Manriquez
The realities of the coronavirus pandemic have pushed many people to reevaluate their lives, prompting their interest in Biccari.
Physicist Andres Jose Encerrado Manriquez from Chihuahua in Mexico says he would like to buy a ready-to-occupy house in Biccari to turn into a permanent residence.
No kids are on the way, but both he and his wife have extended families also interested in spending time in Biccari. They also have four dogs, two rats and one snake.
“If the pandemic has taught us something is that life is just too brief to attend for our desires to fall on our lap,” he says. “This I discovered after each my father and my partner’s father handed away final yr resulting from Covid, which they acquired from performing their jobs in Mexico.
“We want to live a life in which we feel happy and fulfilled, not just a life of surviving and working to pay for the next bills”.
When he noticed the unique CNN story, Encerrado Manriquez realized the housing deal might assist the couple of their purpose of a contented life, whereas permitting them to contribute to the revitalization of a village full of tradition and pure magnificence.
If he manages to show this right into a actuality he is desperate to help the event of the cultural and inventive values of Biccari’s tiny neighborhood. He’ll says he’ll use his diploma in physics to protect the atmosphere and implement inexperienced power for sustainability — one thing his father used to do in Mexico’s farms.
Andrew and Tamara Tiss wish to swap rural US life for Italy’s countryside.
Biccari is the one village within the more and more widespread vacationer vacation spot of Puglia providing low cost properties, which might partly account for the large response from overseas. The area is famend for its robust wines, additional virgin olive oil, scrumptious meals and nice areas.
Unlike the island of Sicily, the place many cities have been providing €1 dwelling offers, Puglia is on the mainland and boasts a strategic location on the Adriatic coast. It faces Greece, Slovenia and Croatia.
The Tiss household from Poolesville, Maryland, say they’re additionally searching for an inexpensive vacation dwelling in Biccari, lured by the close by stunning Dauni Mountains park and the peaceable environment.
Even although they already dwell in a rural space with an agricultural reserve they nonetheless search the idyllic tranquility of the village.
“We are thrilled about the idea of purchasing an inexpensive home in Biccari, one that has been redone already if possible, and we are looking to purchase the house as a vacation home for our family during the summer months”, says Andrew Tiss, a medical know-how employee who assists in surgical transplantation and cryopreservation.
Together along with his spouse Tamara, an legal professional with Italian blood, and their two daughters, they’ve picked Biccari additionally as a result of it is near the Adriatic port of Brindisi, the place they will hop on a ferry to go to pals in Greece.
They’re enthusiastic about touring to Puglia and Tiss is keen to leap on a aircraft to check out the properties if that helps to hurry up the method.
“We both plan to learn some Italian before our first trip to Biccari,” Tiss says. “I have already been vaccinated for Covid and my wife and children will wait to be vaccinated prior to any overseas trips.”
The proper place
Ernesto Quaranta says he and spouse Analia Diaz wish to recapture the approach to life of his Italian grandfather.
Italian-Argentinian film director Ernesto Quaranta and his Spanish spouse Analìa Diaz, an inside designer and economics professor, are hoping Biccari will provide them an escape from their hectic lives in Buenos Aires.
They suppose buying a ready-to-occupy dwelling might additionally assist them additional foster transatlantic ties by utilizing it because the headquarters of a cultural integration undertaking.
As Quaranta’s grandfather got here from the tiny village of Palata in close by Molise, he feels the pull of reconnecting along with his Italian origins and sees a chance to maneuver nearer to his native hometown.
“It’s a way to relive the culture and world of my grandparents,” he says. “We love the peacefulness and the life quality in Italy, far from the chaos and environmental pollution which makes it an ideal place for remote working.”
The couple are members of Argentina Per Il Mondo, a corporation uniting Italian-Argentinians internationally. The physique already has an workplace in Biccari aimed toward serving to Argentinians with Italian origin apply for Italian citizenship.
Quaranta and his spouse plan to go to Biccari quickly to pick a possible home the place they hope to develop digital actuality documentaries on the relations between the 2 communities.
“We seek a pleasant spot to live in where we can carry on with our jobs, do sports, travel, enjoy nature, eat good Italian food.,” he says. “We think Biccari could be the right place for us.”