Airbnb, the online short-term rental platform, is giving away a free one-year stay in a newly renovated property in Sicily’s small rural village of Sambuca.
The successful candidate, who may bring up to three family members or friends, must rent out one of the house’s rooms on Airbnb, but profits are theirs to keep.
Sambuca di Sicilia, which was crowned “the most beautiful Italian village” in 2016, has a population of roughly 6,000 people and is located around 80 kilometres south of Palermo.
Airbnb purchased the formerly abandoned residence as part of Sambuca’s €1 house program, which started in 2018 to address the village’s falling population by promoting cultural heritage and sustainable tourism.
According to the Italian news agency ANSA, the campaign has given new life to the village, which has become a multi-ethnic community, with 143 properties sold (by both local officials and private individuals) to families from 38 countries across the world.
According to Airbnb, the renovated home “combines the necessities of modern life with the charm of the Sicilian architecture.”
The three-story mansion is completely furnished and located near the Belvedere di Sambuca, which overlooks the Belice Valley.
“The beauty of this initiative is that it gives new life to an abandoned heritage home in the heart of our village as well as a second chance to the person who will move here,’ the mayor of Sambuca di Sicilia, Leonardo Ciaccio, told ANSA.
The mayor stated that the chosen applicant should wish to immerse themselves in the community’s culture, customs, and language, including participating in the grape harvest and picking olives.
The house will be available from 30 June and applicants must apply by 18 February via the Airbnb website, which contains full details of the offer.
Applicants must submit a short essay detailing how they would organize their lives in Sicily and how they view themselves as hosts, “sharing a private room of your Sicilian house with visitors coming from all over the world.”