Peter Gabriel buys one euro Sicilian house

Last Updated: Fri, Sep 26, 2008 08:30 hrs

English musician Peter Gabriel is among a host of celebrities who have filed applications for buying houses for one euro each in an earthquake-ravaged Sicilian town.

The selling of these houses is part of an audacious scheme to revitalise the craggy hilltop town of Salemi in western Sicily, which was hit by a devastating earthquake four decades ago.

More than 2,000 people have evinced interest in buying the dilapidated buildings there. US Vogue editor Anna Wintour and owner of the Inter Milan football team Massimo Moratti are also said to be keen to get in on the extraordinary offer.

Vittorio Sgarbi, the town’s Mayor, announced earlier this month that around 3,000 derelict homes would be sold off for just one euro apiece on the condition that buyers would renovate them within two years.

In so doing, the buyers will have to abide by strict building standards and use traditional materials and local labour, a challenge that may cost each buyer at least 80,000 pounds.

Sgarbi apparently has the support of most of Salemi's locals for the project.

"It will revive this dead town," The Telegraph quoted Ninfa Benenati, 55, who is still waiting for compensation for the damage caused to her house by the 1968 earthquake, as telling the Corriere della Serra newspaper.

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