Buying Property in Sicily – 1 Euro Homes in San Piero Patti

I knew exploring the town of San Piero Patti would be special, but I didn’t realize how unique and uplifting this experience would be. My husband Max and I went to San Piero Patti for a weekend to explore the town’s 1 Euro Homes Project and to learn more about buying property in Sicily. Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed by our host, Consuelo Damico. She is a prominent figure in this small village of 2,500 residents in the Messina region of Sicily. 

Consuelo is deeply passionate about showcasing Sicily’s beauty and hopes to attract more people to the town to support its growth. “For us, it’s essential to proceed with the recovery and repopulation of areas of high historical and cultural value, such as the Arabite Quarter, built by the Arabs and inspired by a Kasbah.” This is where most of the 1 Euro homes are for sale, and it was lovely to go on a tour.

Buying Property in Sicily

Where is San Piero Patti?

San Piero Patti is located approximately 2 hours from each major airport in Sicily,  1 hour from Messina, and just 20 minutes from Patti, a larger city with around 9,000 inhabitants. This hilltop area offers stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. From here, you can see the Aeolian Islands, and on a clear day, you can also see Panarea at the very bottom on the right, Stromboli.

The lush landscape and the friendly citizens of all ages make me believe this will be the next 1 Euro Home hotspot in Sicily. What’s more, it’s only half an hour from the beach!

We were also graciously hosted by the current mayor, Cinzia Marchello. Although she didn’t speak much English, she was wonderful. She even drove us to our wine and food experiences in villages near San Piero Patti. Additionally, she showed us a home that she renovated. It was fascinating to see what a 1 Euro home can look like, especially if you don’t naturally have an eye for home makeovers.

Brief History of San Piero Patti

San Piero Patti, a town in the Metropolitan City of Messina in Sicily, boasts a rich history stretching back to ancient times. The town is considered the site of the ancient Greek city of Petra, which was mentioned as early as the 4th century BC. Its strategic location made it a hub of various cultural influences and conquests over the centuries.

The Arab period was particularly impactful, with the town under Arab control until the 11th century. The legacy of Arab rule is still visible in certain areas of the town. This era ended with the arrival of Roger I of Sicily, who incorporated San Piero Patti into his territories after defeating the Arabs. The subsequent Norman rule significantly altered the political and cultural landscape of the region.

San Piero Patti also flourished under Federico II d’Aragona, witnessing further development in governance and culture. The town’s religious heritage is notably rich, with the construction of the Church of Santa Maria and the Convent of Carmelitani Calzati in 1566, both notable for their Renaissance art and 16th-century frescoes.

Sicilian Heritage

This blend of ancient roots and layered history makes San Piero Patti a fascinating snapshot of Sicilian heritage. An important Iman from Qatar has visited the mosque, and I believe his findings will soon attract more interest and visits.

The 1 Euro Homes Project

The 1 Euro Home project in San Piero Patti was launched officially in November 2021 but had to be shut down due to COVID-19. It reopened in March 2023, and the great news is that you now have up to 5 years to renovate the home. With any other 1 Euro Home city, the goal is to repopulate the town and renovate these amazing, often abandoned homes.

What is needed to buy 1 Euro Homes?

The process for purchasing a 1 Euro house is quite simple. Once you contact Consuelo and decide which home you will purchase, you must visit a notary with the house documents to complete the purchase deed and transfer of ownership. Once the ownership transfer is completed, you must pay the municipality a deposit of 5,000 Euros, after which you can begin the renovation process.

You will have to follow certain guidelines for exterior home remodeling, but mainly for the exterior part.

What is needed to buy 1 Euro Homes?

Arriving at our 1st one Euro house.

1 Euro Home Buying Checklist

  • 5,000 Euro deposit that will be refunded once your project is complete
  • 1 Euro and signed notarized documents with the municipality 
  • Investment money to renovate the home can range from 10,000 – 100,000+ Euros depending on the home and what you would like to do with it
  • A local Bank account is not needed to purchase the home, but you will eventually need it to pay the bills due to the municipality (water, garbage), which are based on factors such as the type of house purchased, the square footage of the house, etc
  • Commitment to hire out contractors, engineers, or architects of which Consuelo can help direct you to the right people
  • Some elbow grease if you wish to do some updates yourself
  • Patience as things in Italy can be slow at times, and many of the homes don’t have direct car access 
  • Vision for what you want your home and life to look like 
  • Keep utility payments up to date
  • Embrace slow living as a lifestyle

Three 1 Euro Homes For Sale in Sicily

We visited three houses that are part of the 1 Euro Home Project. One was almost move-in ready, another needed renovations, and the third needed to be fully gutted and remodeled. Check out the video below to learn what it would take to renovate these three homes.

What I loved about San Piero Patti

When I first heard about 1 Euro Homes, I imagined a deserted town with no children. However, it was quite the opposite. Although it can be quiet at times, especially during siesta time, the town is home to children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. The residents are incredibly friendly and hospitable. As it is a small town, we immediately stood out.

Safety & Cleanliness 

It is a super safe town with practically no crime. Kids play at the piazza without supervision, and the townspeople look out for each other. There are two police officers in town, and I doubt they have much work to do.

The town is very clean and so well-maintained. You don’t see garbage around, and it looks almost like a studio movie set.

San Piero Patti Messina Sicily

The San Piero Patti Community

I had a great time meeting people like Graziela from Antica Caffetteria Carmela and Mrs. Carmela herself. She has owned the cafe for over 50 years and proudly told me it used to be at a different location. I got to try granita with beer and a delicious cafe granita. Their service was always so pleasant, and I felt right at home.

I also want to thank Martha from Hair AM Salon, who did an amazing job caring for my hair with a fabulous wash and blowout. Although we didn’t speak much English, we understood each other perfectly. They were so excited to have me there and even featured me on their Instagram. 

Then there’s Mr. Enrico Giuttari, the volunteer at Carmela’s church, who spoke to me in his Sicilian dialect as if I understood it all. Let me tell you, I understood a lot, but his passion for the church’s restoration to its glory days was evident in every line and in the Facebook post photos he showed us. He proudly showcased the intricate designs, marble, and original wall reveals. I saw him again outside Carmela’s, and he hugged me and thanked me once again for visiting and capturing the church.

Grazie mille!

Consuelo Damigo , Feuza Reis and Max pose for a photo at Piazza

Of course, a big thanks to Consuelo, ( follow her on Instagram) who, with her intermediate English, was patient with my basic Italian. We stayed at her family’s B&B called B&B Petra and felt like we lived in a big house, like the Brazilian novelas we watched as kids. She organized our visit, was our tour guide and translator, and was a mega host. She is the main contact person if you visit to view some homes.

I enjoyed spending time with Cinzia and her husband, who engaged in discussions about life, politics, and remodeling. I also had the pleasure of meeting a prominent figure in the town, Santo Alba. He has extensive experience in hotel management and is passionate about promoting the true essence of San Piero Patti, which is slow living and slow tourism – something I deeply appreciate.

Luciana and her husband Jean Carlo – Trattoria de Luciana

The Cultural Experiences

Max and I also had an opportunity to do some local experiences in nearby villages. We ventured out to Trattoria da Luciana for a feast! This super-awarded farm-to-table shop and restaurant serves over 40 types of antipasti, both hot and cold, and I ate so much that I think I rolled down the steps on my way out. Luciana is so passionate about what her family has been able to do, and she loves cooking and hosting.

She is filled with so much joy in what she does that it’s contagious. We tried different appetizers, including a breaded fried egg with ham and cheese, the best egg I had ever eaten, fresh ricotta with different marmalades, including a sambuca flower one, and many other yummy appetizers. I don’t know how, but I also managed a few forkfuls of their truffle tagliatelle, which melted in my mouth. Oh, and I may have ordered gelato with pomegranate and sambuca sauces!

Museo del Convento dei Carmelitani Calzati

The Convent Museum in San Piero Patti, officially known as the Museo del Convento dei Carmelitani Calzati, is a significant cultural and historical site. This museum is housed within the Convent of the Barefoot Carmelites, which dates back to the 16th century.

Established in 1566, the convent has been an important religious site in the region. The Carmelite order that inhabited the convent is known for its commitment to the contemplative life and has played a crucial role in the religious history of San Piero Patti.

The museum showcases a variety of religious artifacts, manuscripts, sacred art, and historical documents that trace the history of the Carmelite order and its influence in Sicily. Visitors can find beautifully preserved frescoes, intricate sculptures, and antique liturgical items among its treasures. 

Agriturismo Il Daino

On our second evening, we ventured out to visit Agriturismo Il Daino. This nearby agriturismo facility serves as a wedding/event venue and has accommodations for families. They also serve deer meat pizza, which I wasn’t brave enough to try, but it did look yummy. The “Il Daino” farm stay is a 200-hectare property in San Piero Patti, Sicily, on a hill 630 meters above sea level. It offers peaceful surroundings and easy access to the Nebrodi mountains and Sicilian beaches. Guests can enjoy traditional Sicilian dishes made with organic produce and meats from the farm, comfortable rooms, a large swimming pool, and a spacious hall.

Tenuta Gatti Winery Tour

We also had a great wine tasting at Tenuta Gatti, touring the estate and learning more about the family’s history and wines. ” The person that is driving the revival of these lands is Nicolas Gatti Russo that, after having spent the majority of his life in Argentina, in 2008 decided to come back to its origins in Sicily, to give a change and a leap to the firm in order to put it among the excellences of enology.” This winery will celebrate its 200th anniversary next year.

Overall, we had so much fun exploring the local cultural experiences.

Slow Living in Sicily

Sicilians take great pride in their heritage and customs, and rightfully so. If you’re considering moving to Sicily, be prepared to embrace the slower pace of life, be mindful of water preservation due to drought, and learn some Italian – it will greatly enhance your experience.

Some things to consider when it comes to slow living in Sicily:

  • Prioritize life quality over quantity.
  • Indulge in local fresh food.
  • Explore on foot.
  • Embrace the siesta.
  • Engage with locals.
  • Attend local festivals and events.
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Eat & cook with fresh fruits and vegetables.

I also loved how walkable the town is, the wind, and the beautiful views. Since I am a beach gal at heart, I love how close it is to Marinello Beaches and Patti Marina. Overall, this town has a lot of potential, and they make buying a property in Sicily easy.

What I think foreigners will love about San Piero Patti 

  • How close the town is to the beach 
  • 2 hours away from Catania Airport or Palermo Airport
  • Easy access to highways
  • Weather as even though it was hot, you had lovely wind 
  • The incredible views
  • Investment opportunities as the rental market has grown due to Argentinians visiting to claim citizenship. Rent used to be around $250 Euros, and now it’s about $450 Euros, and I believe the price will go up as more people invest there
  • Some great agriturismo experiences nearby
  • The friendly people
  • 2 Supermarkets and 2 mini markets
  • 2 Butcher Shops and 1 Fish Shop
  • There are also various book/nursery stores, toys, clothes and shoes, tobacconists, and household and country utensils
  • 1 Urgent Care
  • 1 Pharmacy
  • 25 minutes from the hospital in Patti
  • Great 1 Euro Homes

What needs improvement

Honestly, the only thing I noticed that could be improved is the eating-out food options like lunch spots and restaurants serving hot meals. In Sicily, people tend to eat a lot of sweets, and when we arrived during lunchtime, we didn’t find any restaurants that served meals or even hot sandwiches. The mayor also hopes to see this in the near future, so it could be a business opportunity for those who may want to invest in that area.

Overall, I believe this is the next 1 Euro hometown expats will flock to. I would jump in before it’s fully discovered. There are a limited number of 1 Euro homes for sale, and I love that these homes need work, but they are not ruins like other towns that offer the program. I also love that it’s not an auction like some other places; it truly is 1 Euro. Thank you, San Piero Patti, for your hospitality. I can’t wait to see how this project unfolds.

If you would like to learn more about the 1 Euro Home Project in San Piero, contact Consuelo Damico. consudamico@gmail.com.

Photos by Travel Blogger Feuza Reis.

Feuza Reis

News & Events Editor

My name is Feuza, but everyone calls me Fuse. I am originally from Brazil and have been traveling all my life, but then I became obsessed with Italy. I launched my TikTok and travel blog in 2021, sharing my Italian adventures and other Southwest Europe travel. I am a member of The International Food Wine Travelers Association (IFWTWA), leaning deeper into travel journalism. I am also a professional photographer and SEO strategist. My style of travel is slow travel. I like finding the oldest cafes and bars in town, and I imagine how it would be to live there. Travel fuels my soul, and I am beyond excited to be a contributor to Live in Italy.

2 Comments
  1. Hello
    Can you please send me the website where I can buy a house?
    And could I buy the house from Egypt?; and after that I move to Italy to renovate the house.
    Thanks in advance
    Louis

    1. Hello Louis. Thanks for discovering Live in Italy Magazine. We just published a new article about homes for sale in San Piero Patti in Sicily. I’m not sure if you can buy a house from Egypt and although we are not real estate or immigration experts, you need to look into the conditions of home ownership and how long you can stay in Italy as a foreigner. We hope you find this article useful. At the end is a link to the San Piero Patti tourism site that offers more information about the 1 Euro Homes: https://liveinitalymag.com/buying-property-in-sicily-1-euro-homes/

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