Live Rent-Free in Sicily for a Year Thanks to Airbnb!

We’ve all heard about the 1 Euro Home Project, but before you ‘sign and drive’ why not first try out small town living in Italy, in a fully restored home? Thanks to Airbnb, it is possible! On January 18th, the company announced that one lucky candidate along with a partner or family member and up to two children can live rent-free in Sicily for a year.

live rent-free in Sicily for a year
Sambuca from above. © Airbnb

If you’re curious to know more, keep reading and follow the link to enter. In bocca al lupo!

Key Takeaways

  • Airbnb is looking for an adventurer with a passion for hospitality to live rent-free and host from a restored Sicilian home for one year.
  • The project aims to boost tourism and bring new temporary residents to the Italian village of Sambuca as part of a wider commitment to support rural communities and cultural heritage in Europe.

Airbnb is on the search for the ideal candidate to live rent-free for a year and host from a decayed-turned-designer Italian heritage home. With a newfound flexibility to live and work remotely, one person will be given the opportunity to relocate to Sicily with their family, partner, or friend and move into this uniquely restored house.

The picturesque three-story traditional home is located in Sambuca which was made famous thanks to its recent “1 Euro House” campaign. Like many Italian villages, Sambuca is suffering from a declining population so it launched the “1 Euro House” campaign in 2019 to promote cultural heritage, encourage international investment and appeal to a younger demographic to restore the charm of the once bustling village.

Second Chances

“The beauty of this campaign is that it gives a second chance not just to an abandoned heritage home in the heart of our village – it’s also a second chance to the person who moves into it. We see it as a designer makeover for the house and the Host. We’re looking for someone who wants to live with the local population and participate in all the important moments of the community, from the grape harvest to olive picking and we can’t wait to welcome whoever gets selected!”

Leonardo Ciaccio, Mayor of Sambuca di Sicilia

Ideal candidates should be committed to hosting and contributing to village life. Their Sambuca residence will take place over a one-year period beginning June 30th, with the successful applicant retaining all earnings from hosting on Airbnb.

The House

Restored 1 Euro Home in Sicily © Airbnb

What is truly special about this “1 Euro House” is that it has been given a total designer makeover. Airbnb worked with the Italian architectural firm Studio Didea to transform the home using materials and colors in harmony with the local landscape. Blending contemporary design with hand-made and local artisanal elements, the structure is typical of Sicily’s charming architecture.

The spacious building spans three floors, with plenty of room to work remotely and host on Airbnb.

The ground floor comprises a small living room, master bedroom with king-size bed and en-suite bathroom.

The first floor includes a living room, kitchen, working space, bathroom and mezzanine bedroom with a king-size bed.

The upper floor includes an additional living space with a queen-size sofa bed.

The successful applicant gets first dibs on the bedroom that best suits their needs with the second bedroom to be listed on Airbnb.

The Location

Sambuca is characterized by a unique blend of Italian and North African cultures and architectural styles.

Sambuca is a small rural village of about 6,000 inhabitants in Sicily, characterized by a unique blend of Italian and North African cultures and architectural styles. Thanks to the “1 Euro House” campaign, the successful applicant will join a growing international community of millennials moving from bigger cities to rural villages in pursuit of a slower pace of life.

How to apply

Visit this link. Before applying, carefully read the Selection Terms available on the website.

Candidates must be over 18, available to move to Sambuca for at least 3 consecutive months starting from June 30th, 2022 and be able to speak conversational English (Italian a plus!). The selected participant will be given the opportunity to take part in a mentorship program: learning Italian and attending Italian cooking classes. Candidates will need to demonstrate a commitment to hosting one room in the house for a minimum of 9 months.

The successful participant may bring their partner, friend or family (maximum of two adults and two children in total). The successful participant will live rent-free and will retain all Airbnb Host earnings over the course of their residence.

Sambuca is characterized by a unique blend of Italian and North African cultures and architectural styles.

Sambuca is characterized by a unique blend of Italian and North African cultures and architectural styles.

Airbnb’s commitment to heritage in Italy

This opportunity in Sambuca, Sicily highlights the potential economic benefits for rural communities as a result of changing travel trends on Airbnb driven by the pandemic. In Q3 2019 just four Italian cities accounted for over 26% of all travel: Rome, Venice, Milan, and Florence. In Q3 2021, however, those same four cities accounted for under 17% of travel and one of the top visited areas in Italy was Sicily.* Airbnb aims to support this demand by working with villages like Sambuca to help restore them to their former glory.

Airbnb has previously supported similar heritage efforts with small villages, such as the restoration of an artist’s house in Civita, the Italian Sabbatical to support the revitalization of the village of Grottole and the Italian Villages Project to showcase off-the-beaten-track destinations and sustainable tourism.

Airbnb encourages safe and responsible travel. Local and international travel requirements, as well as health guidelines, continue to change quickly. The selected participant and their guests will be required to follow COVID-19 rules applicable at the national and local level.

About Airbnb

Airbnb was born in 2007 when two Hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home, and has since grown to 4 million Hosts who have welcomed more than 1 billion guest arrivals in almost every country across the globe. Every day, Hosts offer unique stays and one-of-a-kind activities that make it possible for guests to experience the world in a more authentic, connected way.

All images courtesy of Airbnb


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1 Euro Homes in Castropignano
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2 Comments
  1. Hi, I would love to live in Italy for a year. I loved it when I visited in my motor home and to have the opportunity to be integrated into local society would be amazing. I have previously owned a guest house on the Isle of man and also had paying guests at my home here in Portugal, so I have a good background in hospitality. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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