"It seemed like a pretty good deal,” says Rafael Solorzano,
leaning against an ancient whitewashed wall.
The 28-year-old American from Miami is referring to the house we’re standing in – all four floors of it, including a yawning basement – and the fact that this habitable, historic home in a comely old Sicilian hill town was his for €1 (about R18). That’s basically the same as what you’d pay in Italy for a slice of pizza.
It’s now 14 years since former MP and cultural commentator Vittorio Sgarbi suggested a radical solution to Italy’s ratcheting rural decline which over the past two decades has seen a million Italians abandoning their small-town homes and going in search of opportunities in cities.