the astonishing revival of an Italian village

Cinquefrondi, a small village embedded between the mountains of Calabria, has become in the space of a few weeks a place where thousands of people from all over the world want to live. A “miracle” accomplished thanks to a tempting offer and clever marketing.

When the sky is clear, you can see the Aeolian Islands from the balconies, which are about a hundred kilometers away as the crow flies. The inhabitants of Cinquefrondi, a village in the province of Reggio Calabria [sur la pointe de la Botte italienne], owe this breathtaking view to their privileged location: at an altitude of 257 meters.

It is undoubtedly this magic which conquered thousands of foreigners who flock today to buy a house in this Calabrian town, which has barely 7,000 souls. Nestled in the Aspromonte National Park, away from traditional circuits, Cinquefrondi is becoming, against all odds, a new tourist El Dorado. How did he accomplish this feat in these times of coronavirus? To understand this, you have to take a look at the contagion map, but also at an irresistible offer: houses for sale for one euro.

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This device is nothing new in Italy. Several municipalities have in the past offered housing at a nominal price to stem desertification. The mayor of Cinquefrondi, Michele Conia, had already launched the idea himself in 2017, but at the time, no one had answered the call. He tried again in the middle of a pandemic. This time, he had a new asset: the virus completely spared the village – which did not record a single case – which he used to create the label “Village without Covid”. Then, in a flash of marketing genius, he called the initiative “Operation Beauty”.

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Filippo Femia

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