'Sopranos' Actor Lorraine Bracco Wants to Show You What It’s Really Like to Renovate a €1 Italian House
“When I saw the article that you could buy a house in Sambuca for one euro, I jumped on it,” said Bracco.
Bracco’s latest project, My Big Italian Adventure, chronicles her experience renovating a rundown 1,075-square-foot property in a region of southwestern Sicily known for its beaches, vineyards, and hilltops. Bracco’s 200-year-old property is among 16 vacant houses Sambuca di Sicilia put up for auction in 2019 in an attempt to lure new residents to the shrinking village.
Sambuca di Sicilia, located about an hour’s drive from the Sicilian capital Palermo, has seen steep population declines and joined a number of Italian municipalities betting on cheap real estate to help reverse the trend.
“When I saw the article that you could buy a house in Sambuca for one euro, I jumped on it,” Bracco said in a press release. While auction prices started at €1, The Guardian reported the properties sold for an average of €5,000 and €10,000 — still a small fraction of the median home price in the U.S.
Many of the properties went to ambitious U.S. buyers like Bracco who will have to gut them, bring in electricity and running water, add kitchens and bathrooms, and fix crumbling walls, according to the press release.
Bracco, who is of Italian descent, describes her project as a huge undertaking, especially considering she’s an actress, not a contractor. “I've never done this before. I have no idea what I'm really getting into,” she said in the press release. “It's a lot of work, but everything is possible. I believe that. And for one euro, we'll see!"
The local government is requiring buyers to complete renovations within three years. Bracco has teamed up with an architect, contractor, and a translator to help her meet that deadline while creating the Italian dream home she envisions, complete with a custom tile entryway and indoor courtyard.
My Big Italian Adventure with Bracco premieres on Oct. 30.