June 12 (UPI) -- An Italian village that bills itself as "COVID-free" is attempting to attract new residents by selling homes for $1 -- but the new owners must promise to renovate the houses.
Cinquefrondi, in the southern region of Calabria, bills itself as a "COVID-free village," as there haven't been any confirmed coronavirus cases reported in the community, and the Calabria region has one of Italy's lowest levels of reported cases.
Mayor Michele Conia said the "Operation Beauty" initiative is designed to attract new residents willing to renovate abandoned homes that have fallen into disrepair.
"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," Conia told CNN.
"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," he said.
The program offers the houses for only $1, but the purchasers must pay an annual policy insurance fee of about $280 until renovations on the homes are complete. The new owners of the homes will be subject to a $22,470 fine if they do not complete renovations within three years.