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Tasteful Friends: a fixer-upper piano nobile apartment in a Sicilian palazzo, €39,000

On a gorgeous narrow street in Módica a UNESCO World Heritage city located in Raguas, the southernmost province of Sicily. Módica is a hillside city of 52,369 people founded about 2700 years ago and reached much of its present Baroque appearance under Spanish rule with continued through the remainder of the 18thC and early 19thC.

The apartment is 120 square meters one flight of stairs up on the first floor (second American) plus a 35 square meter ground level space (155 square meters total or 1670 square feet.) The communal entry and stair hall is spectacular, practically worth the price for the privilege of passing through the space. Floor plans show a large central entrance flanked by a kitchen and dining room to the right and to the left by a large room with Modernist style ceiling decoration of the early 20thC and in front of that a bedroom and bathroom. The ground floor space is now tagged as a "garage," but I hope not; it's a glorious tunnel of a space perfect for an artist's studio, a small shop, or maybe a guest bedroom or simply a room apart from the rest.

It's not €1, and it doesn't come with residency or citizenship rights, but what a beautiful space for practically no money. It's not in bad condition, it just needs cleaning up and some minor repairs. The electricity should be redone of course, but there's no reason to make that complicated: its runs outside the walls now and the best thing to do is replace it in kind. There's wallpaper that wants removed. The kitchen is kind of terrific, if antique, the stove built into a tile enclosure (and then dressed up in part with some 'Not Quite Burberry' adhesive paper it looks like) and sinks are late 19th/early 20thC and great. Add the minimum modcons, keep the rest, replace the ugly floor, and add a great work table in the center. The bathroom isn't shown, but again, it's one-bedroom, one-bath vacation property (probably), and it's €39,000. If you hate patina and everything not perfect and new and nice, look elsewhere; it would be a great pity to make it slick and shiny like a new penny.

The things the structure it needs are obvious and simple. I would reluctantly arrange some stabilization repairs to some of the the lower areas of plaster in the communal stair, but watch over the workmen to see that they didn't overdo anything. The "garage" is a great space, simply cleaned out and cleaned up a bit. I really dislike the Modernist painting in the one ceiling, though I would leave it exactly as is. The rooms are not huge but they are beautiful.

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by Anonymousreply 21October 22, 2021 10:45 AM


by Anonymousreply 1October 21, 2021 2:35 PM

You are kidding right? It looks decrepit

by Anonymousreply 2October 21, 2021 2:40 PM

Look how close those flats are to one another. Hardley any light, even less air, the building is in complete disrepair. You'll be suicidal before you're halfway through Italian renovation laws. They're looking for a sale to foreign suckers.

by Anonymousreply 3October 21, 2021 2:43 PM

You expect me to entertain family and friends in THAT??

by Anonymousreply 4October 21, 2021 3:09 PM


Does the mafia still take their cut?

by Anonymousreply 5October 21, 2021 3:25 PM

The narrowness of the street gives it great atmosphere, if not great light and air as you not, R3. And it stands to amplify noise and the smell of your neighbors' dinner cooking.

The building is fine. If you wanted to restucco and replaster and re hang every roof tile and redo everything, you could do — and that would open up the intricacies of renovation within a period building in a heritage zone.

I wouldn't buy the place with the idea of making everything "right" and new, but would only submit repair permit requests — and those are easily permitted if they are truly repairs: electrical, plumbing drains and service, adding HVAC are all permitted as a right, the details of placement of wires or pipes of HVAC units externally is the only arguable point, and it's one that has been dealt with and approved endless times. In this case the only issue might be where to place a heat pump (the obvious place a balcony on the rear elevation not visible from a street), and possibly the question of restoring the kitchen floors to an earlier period of hydraulic or terracotta tiles.

Stabilizing the plaster loss at the lower walls areas in the communal stair would require approval from city conservation authorities; it could take time but it's not a point of urgency.

by Anonymousreply 6October 21, 2021 3:37 PM

Wasn't it here on DL on another thread that several people concurred, if you have a place in Italy and aren't there all the time, be prepared to be robbed blind? That may be more for the rural areas, such as cottages.

by Anonymousreply 7October 21, 2021 4:11 PM

Damn OP that place is amazing. I wouldn’t really change anything, just move all my books, set up a fridge and a microwave and retire in eccentric, killer style.

by Anonymousreply 8October 21, 2021 4:25 PM

I think it's great. Some of you sound too much like HHI fraus

by Anonymousreply 9October 21, 2021 4:35 PM

I can smell the cat piss from here.

by Anonymousreply 10October 21, 2021 4:42 PM

What a nightmare. I would hate the idea of trying to fix this thing up. It's dark, dingy and claustrophobic and ANCIENT.

by Anonymousreply 11October 21, 2021 4:45 PM

Italy is a blood and sand country so if one can prove an Italian bloodline residency and eventual citizenship is guaranteed.

by Anonymousreply 12October 21, 2021 4:51 PM

This is why my ancestors left Sicily, pass

by Anonymousreply 13October 21, 2021 5:11 PM

R7: I recall that seeing that thread as well, maybe on one of the Buy a House for €1 in Italy threads. It's definitely more a problem in remote rural areas where a house sits out on its own, out of sight of any neighbors. The "I can't see any neighbors from my house" attraction comes at that cost. I wouldn't buy a rural house that was that remote, not unless I had money enough to keep someone living on the property watching after it. In cities, however, most people have shutters that can be secured and good locks and, if you're on good terms with them, good neighbors who stick a nosy head out a door or window and ward off opportunity seekers.

by Anonymousreply 14October 21, 2021 5:14 PM

Oh fuck no.

by Anonymousreply 15October 21, 2021 5:17 PM

Looks like a great place... to die. That kitchen is a horror show. And I guarantee that this dump will always smell like old dirt and mud, no matter how much you try to cover it up.

by Anonymousreply 16October 21, 2021 5:23 PM

Gurl, no.

by Anonymousreply 17October 21, 2021 5:26 PM

Dr Ray Stantz: Everybody can relax, I found the car. Needs some suspension work and shocks. Brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear-end.

Dr. Peter Venkman: How much?

Dr Ray Stantz: Only $4800. Also new rings, mufflers, a little wiring.

by Anonymousreply 18October 21, 2021 5:31 PM

That's a beautiful flat, OP, and Id wager one could get it for less than asking. Personally I don't like to live that close to others. Sicilians are LOUD.

by Anonymousreply 19October 22, 2021 7:47 AM

Is this a home or a roomy tomb for an upcoming Italian earthquake? The latter methinks.

by Anonymousreply 20October 22, 2021 10:24 AM

Sicily is full of undesirables, even more than before.

by Anonymousreply 21October 22, 2021 10:45 AM
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