Sicilian mayor makes an offer that's hard to refuse: a home for next to nothing...and just a small catch.

If you're having trouble affording a home in your area, a mayor in Italy has a great deal for you. How would you like an authentic stone villa for the price of 1 Euro? That's right, one Euro. That equals about $1.50 in Canadian dollars.

Creative, flamboyant, former Italian culture minister and now mayor Vittorio Sgarbi is offering homes in the Sicilian hilltop town of Salemi for that price.

Why? He's come up with a scheme to rejuvenate the town, which was damaged during an earthquake in 1968. Since then, many homes have remained unoccupied and abandoned. Sgarbi proposes to give you a villa for one Euro, provided you renovate it and return it to reasonable condition and employ local people to do it.

It's a creative approach that is attracting much attention abroad. Sgarbi is an eccentric figure who has been a wild politician at the national level and popular art critic on Italian TV. He has an uncanny ability to flip easily from highbrow activities to very argumentative public debating and all types of baser pursuits.

You can read all about it in National Geographic's Intelligent Traveler, and in other publications. Just follow the links.

A Sgarbi primer is here.

The photograph in the corner is the picturesque town of Taormina in Sicily. It's a beautiful place on the coast. It's courtesy of Rinske Bok who made it available on the stock.xchng.

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