The coastal town of Cinquefrondi, in southern region of Calabria, claims to be “COVID-free” and is welcoming buyers from around the world to snap up a home for a little more than a dollar as part of its new “Operation Beauty” initiative.

The town hopes the project will attract more residents and revitalise its urban areas.

Similar to the other towns in Italy with homes on the market for less than the cost of a coffee, many of Cindquefrondi’s young people have been moving to northern regions or abroad in search of jobs, causing a trend of depopulation.

“Finding new owners for the many abandoned houses we have is a key part of the Operation Beauty [mission] that I have launched to recover degraded, lost parts of town,” Cinquefrondi Mayor Michele Conia said.

“I grew up in Germany where my parents had migrated, then I came back to save my land.

“Too many people have fled from here over the decades, leaving behind empty houses. We can’t succumb to resignation.”

The new home owners will have to renovate their house within three years.

As opposed to other Italian towns that have offered homes for €1, Cinquefrondi won’t require a hefty down payment the buyer must give up if they fail to renovate the home.

The town only requires an annual €250 policy insurance fee until work on the home is complete.

If the new home owners don’t revamp the home within the deadline, they’re liable €20,000 fine.

But the €1 houses, which once belonged to farmers, shepherds, and artisans, are fairly small, so the three-year timeline seems doable.

Cinquefrondi is known as the “Zipper Town” as it straddles the juncture between Calabria’s Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts in the toe of Italy’s boot.

It has stunning views of the UNESCO-listed Aeolian isles, easily accessible from a nearby harbour.

“We rise between the refreshing hills and two warm seas, a pristine river runs nearby and the beaches are just 15 minutes away by car,” Conia said.

“But a whole district of my town lies abandoned, with empty houses that are also unstable and risky.”

There’s currently about a dozen available, but there are potentially more than 50 empty dwellings that Conia plans to hand over to new owners.

Fully renovated houses are also available at low prices.