The quaint town of Cammarata in Sicily is taking an unusual approach to a glut of abandoned houses.
Mayor Vincenzo Giambrone, who desperate to fill the houses the owners have deserted, has come up with a plan to give the houses away free.
The mayor is passionate about his town and hopes the plan will see it flourish again.
Giambrone told CNN Travel, “The owners are oblivious to the damage they cause when they ditch their homes and refuse to restyle their ancient dwellings.
"I can't stand to see this gorgeous, old historical centre empty and turn into a ruin. It hurts me," he told CNN.
However, there are conditions to the agreement. New homebuyers must commit to renovations within three years of purchasing the property and pay a 5,000 euro deposit (8,692.55 NZD).
The deposit will be returned once the house has been fully renovated. The scheme is not without incentives.
Young couples will be prioritised, and if a couple has a baby in Cammarata, they will receive a 1,000 euro bonus
Giambrone told CNN Travel, “visitors and guests come first, even before our own family. Newcomers trigger change, innovation, new ideas.” Cammarata is home to over 6000 residents and is located 60 kilometres southeast of Palermo, Sicily.