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Italy’s Villages Are Dying. Who’s Saving Them? Sometimes People Who Buy Houses for €1. Sometimes Refugees.

Helle Christensen ROME—Every now and then, an Italian hilltop town mayor realizes there are suddenly more citizens in the cemetery than in the corner coffee bar and decides to employ the fail-proof plan of selling crumbling villas for euro pennies. The trend started a decade ago when the mayor of Salemi, Sicily, sold houses that had been destroyed after an earthquake for one euro each, which back then was around $1.
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