houses in a Sicilian village

California based Woman Buys 3 Abandoned Houses in Sicilian Village for $3.30


In a remarkable story of opportunity and adventure, a California-based woman named Rubia Daniels took advantage of Italy’s desperate need to repopulate its fast-emptying ghost towns. She flew to Mussomeli in Sicily after hearing about its cheap homes and bought three crumbling houses for an unbelievably low price of $3.30 in 2019. Daniels is now restoring these abandoned properties, contributing to the revival of rural Italy. Her story is just one example of the various schemes introduced by Italian towns to attract new residents and breathe life back into their communities.

A Woman Buys 3 Abandoned Houses for $3.30

Rubia Daniels, a resident of San Francisco who originally moved from the outskirts of Brasilia in Brazil to California 30 years ago, was captivated by the idea of Italy’s inexpensive homes. Intrigued by the opportunity, she decided to see them for herself. She recalls, “I was so amazed. It was one of those things where you must see it to ensure it’s true.” Within three days, she had made all the necessary arrangements and embarked on a journey to Mussomeli, a small town in Sicily.

Acquiring Three Dilapidated Homes for a Bargain

Daniels’ ten-day trip to Mussomeli in July 2019 proved to be life-changing. By the end of her stay, she had become the proud owner of three dilapidated houses, each purchased for a mere €1, or $1.10. The housing project in Mussomeli, organized by Case 1 Euro, confirmed the sales.

Daniels was not only drawn to the rich history and warm hospitality of the town but also motivated by her passion for restoring abandoned properties. As an advocate for environmental sustainability in the solar industry, she believes in repurposing existing structures instead of constructing new ones.

Unique Plans for Each House

Rubia Daniels has distinct visions for each of her newly acquired properties. One of the houses she intends to transform into an art gallery showcasing local and contemporary artwork. Another will serve as her residence, providing her a home away from home in this picturesque Italian village. However, the third households has the most significant potential for impact. Daniels plans to convert it into a wellness center, offering services that benefit the community. Her dedication to revitalizing these abandoned homes showcases her commitment to the town of Mussomeli and its inhabitants.

Overcoming Challenges and Pausing Due to the Pandemic

After purchasing the houses, Daniels began the restoration process in late 2019. Unfortunately, the project was put on hold due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel restrictions prevented her from returning to Mussomeli, delaying her efforts to breathe new life into the properties.

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However, she resumed renovations last year and now splits her time between San Francisco and Mussomeli, dedicating at least a month to the Italian village during each visit. Although she has completed the exteriors of two houses, work on the third is yet to commence.

Italy’s Efforts to Repopulate Ghost Towns

Rubia Daniels’ story is not unique. Italy has introduced various initiatives to entice new residents to its rural areas, preventing them from becoming ghost towns. In 2021, nine villages in southern Italy offered cash payments of $33,000 to millennials under 40 who agreed to move there and help repopulate these dwindling communities. These villages in the southern region of Calabria included Civita, a cliffside village, and Aieta, a charming coastal town.

Rubia Daniels’ bold venture of purchasing abandoned houses in Sicily for a mere $3.30 demonstrates the allure of affordable real estate and the potential for revitalizing forgotten communities. Her dedication to restoration, sustainability, and community engagement inspires others to seek similar opportunities.

As she continues her work in Mussomeli, Daniels showcases the transformative power of one person’s vision and the collective effort of a supportive community. Through her art gallery, wellness center, and personal residence, she envisions a future where these abandoned houses become catalysts for cultural enrichment, economic growth, and enhanced well-being.

Rubia Daniels’ story is a testament to the power of perseverance, creativity, and the belief that one can breathe new life into the forgotten corners of the world with passion and determination.

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