September 17, 2019


A small town in Italy offers houses for sale for less than an espresso (Orla Barry, 9/16/19, PRI)

Italian towns like Sutera and Riace took a different approach when they saw their populations decline. The two towns opened their doors to migrants who arrived in Italy in huge numbers a few years back. The hope was to provide a home for the newcomers while also reviving the town centers. Fiore, however, doesn't believe inviting migrants to move into San Piero Patti's empty houses is the solution for the town's dwindling population. He says the issue of immigration needs to be dealt with at the national government level.

"If we have forced or spontaneous migration to San Piero [Patti], it would not be beneficial either for the migrants or the locals. We need a more cohesive political solution from the government. It cannot come from one small village."

Nepumaceno says she would welcome migrants to San Piero Patti. Her biggest worry is for her daughter, who is 1 years old. The hilltop town is undoubtedly a peaceful environment to raise a child, but for young mothers, like Nepumaceno, the issues revolve around schools and health care facilities.   
"I don't know what my daughter will find in three years. I don't know if we'll still have a school or the doctors or pharmacies. In a very short period, we could lose it all."

In 10 years, Nepumaceno says, so much has changfed in the little Sicilian town. A sense of fun and vitality has ebbed away. But in the next decade, she says, things could reverse -- starting with the sale of just one house for just 1 euro.

We need them more than they need us.  Commence the bidding...

Posted by at September 17, 2019 12:00 AM