In the Covid-Free Italian Town of the ‘Last Greeks’ You Can Buy a House for 1 Euro

MUNICIPALITY OF CINQUEFRONDI/Tullio Pronesti

Cinquefrondi, a village in the southern region of Calabria, Italy, made headlines around the world for its offering of homes for 1 euro ($ 1.10) to encourage people to move there and help restore the place into its former glory.

Mayor Michele Conia has launched “Operation Beauty,” a project aiming to stop young people from moving elsewhere in search of work. The idea is that the cheap property in a beautiful setting will lure people to come and give new life to the town.

Another great advantage of Cinquefrondi is that it has not been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike most of the rest of Italy, that saw close to 35,000 deaths and almost 240,000 cases of the virus, Cinquefrondi is a haven of health at the moment.

However, buyers are obligated to restore the house they buy. Renovations shouldn’t cost too much, though, as the homes on offer are quite small, at around 40 square meters (about 430 square feet). The mayor estimates that the costs will be between €10,000 and €20,000.

Other than its rugged, bucolic beauty and the mountainous terrain in the toe of the boot of Italy, Cinquefrondi carries a rich history, dating back to Ancient Greece. Its residents call themselves the “Last Greeks” and one can hear Ancient Greek words in their regional dialect.

The town was a strategic outpost during the Greek expansion in the 8th and 7th centuries BC. Ruins of Greek fortresses and a strategic ancient Greek road built to connect the two seas are a remaining testament to that fact.

One of the area landmarks, the Aspromonte National Park, with its trekking paths across dry riverbeds, has its name from both Greek and Italian, literally meaning “white mountain” (aspro in Greek and monte in Italian)

In later centuries the town was colonized by other conquerors. Elders in the area can also be heard using old Spanish and French terms when they speak.