Hilltop Homes in Sicily from $16,500
(That’s Not a Typo)

If you’re looking for bang for your buck on a romantic overseas home in one of the most culturally and historically rich countries in the world…then you need to investigate Sicily.

The Italian island is teeming with historic towns…ancient churches and temples…and charming medieval villages… It’s also the land of incredible real estate bargains.

You’ll find remarkably affordable real estate right across this beautiful island, but some of the best bargains can be found in the interior among its historic hill towns.

Cammarata is one of numerous hill towns in central Sicily where you’ll find incredible real estate bargains.

Sicily’s many hill towns are a legacy of its tumultuous history.

Over the millennia, numerous great powers have fought to control this island due to its strategic position at the center of the Mediterranean. It’s been ruled by the Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Spanish, Vandals…just to name a few.

And those are just the invaders. There’s been plenty of internal conflict, too.

Hilltop settlements were a solution to the constant dangers of the medieval world. The elevated locations made them easier to defend. And since these towns could be protected, many became prosperous.

Of course, the tides of history later turned against hill towns.

Amid the relative peace and stability that emerged in the latter half of the 20th century, the isolated locations of these towns became a drawback rather than a benefit. The young moved away in search of work and opportunity, leaving too many homes for too few people.

The upshot is that today, you can find homes in Italian hill towns at prices that sound like someone forgot to add a digit. And these communities can be wonderful places to live, offering cool mountain air, stunning views, and laidback small-town atmospheres.

My scout, Ciaran, has boots on the ground in Sicily right now.

I’ve asked him to look into the incredible bargains available there and to investigate the possibility of buying an entire town. (You can read about our plan to buy a town here.)

While he’s had boots on the ground in Sicily’s hill towns, Ciaran has been sharing some listings with me. I’ve collected some of the most interesting ones below… (Note, we haven’t done any due diligence on these properties.)

Fixer-Uppers in Mussomeli from €15,000

As Ciaran shared in Thursday’s Overseas Dream Home, the hilltop town of Mussomeli is overflowing with bargain properties.

Mussomeli is about 90 minutes’ drive southeast of Sicily’s capital Palermo. This is a quintessential hill town—a patchwork collection of homes lined along narrow, winding streets that snake up to the summit of a hill.

Once ravaged by depopulation, Mussomeli is one of the great success stories of the €1 homes projects. These programs were launched in towns and villages across Italy, selling dilapidated homes to people for €1 under the condition that they’re renovated within a given timeframe.

The hill town of Mussomeli has experienced a stunning renaissance in recent years as foreign buyers snapped up homes here.

Today, Mussomeli’s €1 homes are largely gone, most of them sold to buyers from overseas. But the town is continuing to see an influx of foreign investors, many of whom are now focused on buying homes in the €10,000 to €35,000 range.

These homes—particularly those at the top end—are very different than the derelict shells you’ll see with €1 homes. Sure, they typically need updating and some moderate renovation, such as new plastering. But for €35,000 or less, you can get a structurally sound, livable home in a charming village in central Sicily.

Ciaran did a few walkthrough videos of these homes. Below is a walkthrough of one that’s on the market for €28,000 ($30,000).

Ciaran’s video walkthrough of a home on the market in Mussomeli for €28,000. Click to view.

Frankly, these homes are snatched up so fast, you need to visit the town to find the best deals. But online listings can give you a sense of what you’ll find when you go there. Here’s one Ciaran found that’s a good example…

This home spans six rooms and over 1,000 square feet, and includes an upstairs deck. This home is certainly in need of some renovation and restoration work. But the price tag is…wait for it…€15,500 ($16,500).

You’ll find homes like this across Mussomeli…bargain properties waiting to be restored. Listing here.

Town Center Home in San Giovanni Gemini for €70,000

Thirty minutes’ drive northeast of Mussomeli are the sister hill towns of Cammarata and San Giovanni Gemini.

As in Mussomeli, these towns cascade up the hill, covering every available inch of space in traditional stone houses and steep, cobbled streets.

The Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist sits at the center of the town of San Giovanni Gemini in central Sicily.

Though they are technically separate towns, Cammarata and San Giovanni Gemini appear like one—the invisible border between them perceptible only to locals.

San Giovanni Gemini serves as the commercial center for both towns. This is where you’ll find the cafés, restaurants, bars, stores, and supermarkets. Cammarata, meanwhile, boasts many of the local historical sites, including the ruins of a castle dating back roughly 900 years.

This traditional home is set in a small alley yards from the center of San Giovanni Gemini. Spanning six rooms and over 1,500 square feet, the house appears to be in good condition. It’s on the market for €70,000 ($75,000).

This home in San Giovanni Gemini is yards from the town’s stores, restaurants, and cafés.  Listing here.

Luxury Villa in Cammarata for €339,000

If you’re looking for something more luxurious, you can find it in this area too. Just outside the town of Cammarata are villas looking out on the Sicani mountain range. Ciaran found an interesting listing right at the edge of town.

A wealthy family living in northern Italy started work on a modern three-bed villa with amazing views. The home is 90% done, but due to a bereavement in the family, they now want to sell.

Most of the remaining work on the project, including the landscaping and bathroom fittings, will be completed before delivery. The home was originally listed for €379,000, now it’s down to €339,000.

You’ll find a listing for the property here. And you can see Ciaran’s walkthrough of the property below.

This villa is on the market for €339,000 and the price has already been reduce so there’s a possibility that the owners will accept less. Click here to view the walkthrough.

Idyllic Small-Town Living for €50,000

Drive 40 minutes east of Cammarata, through the Mount Cammarata Nature Reserve with its hiking trails and camping grounds, and you’ll reach the town of Bivona.

Set in a valley, this quaint, well-preserved town of roughly 4,000 people has a charming central piazza offering spectacular views of the rolling hills and Magazzolo Lake, a popular swimming spot, in the distance.

The view from the central piazza in the charming town of Bivona.The name Bivona literally means “twice beautiful.”

Bivona previously operated a €1 home scheme. And you’ll still find listings for €1 homes here online. But the agent who runs the scheme on behalf of the town told Ciaran they’ve all been snapped up.

You can still find some very affordable homes in Bivona, though.

This three-story house, set right in the center of town, is on the market for €50,000 ($64,000). It spans around 1,350 square meters and has a large balcony offering views of the town.

This home in the center of Bivona has three bedrooms across its top two floors as well as a spacious balcony. Listing here.


Ronan McMahon, Founder, Overseas Dream Home & Real Estate Trend Alert

P.S. To get more photos, videos, and listings from me and my team as we scout the world for the best real estate bargains, sign up for the Overseas Dream Home WhatsApp Channel here.

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