Ticino is selling houses for just one Swiss franc

Ticino is selling houses for just one Swiss franc

A municipality in Canton Ticino has made the bold decision to sell traditional rustici homes for just one Swiss franc, in an attempt to revive a remote hamlet.

Gemeinde Gambarogno could offer your dream Swiss home

While traditional tourist hotspots, including popular ski resorts in the Swiss mountains, have suffered over the past two years, the southern Canton of Ticino thrived off Swiss tourists coming to the canton for their holidays. This sparked an idea in the municipality of Gambarogno for getting the town up and running again: offer stunning, yet dilapidated, houses to buy for the symbolic price of just one Swiss franc.

The houses, known as rustici, were formerly stables that have since been converted into quaint stone-built holiday homes. Since the town of Gambarogno is in a fairly remote location, it is easy to understand how the hamlet became so run-down as people moved away. The council (Gemeinde) hopes that the one-franc programme will help to slowly restore the town.

Like all good things, the one-franc homes do come with a caveat, though. In order to purchase the property, the local municipality requires buyers to agree to renovate it, in the traditional rustici style. The local authorities therefore have a high level of control over the ways in which the properties can be restored and renovated. 

Ticino not the only place in Switzerland to offer one-franc homes

Other Swiss Cantons have tried similar schemes in the past, in an attempt to restore their towns. The idea first gained popularity across the border in Italy, and also in Spain, and has only come to Switzerland in more recent years. 

The mayor of Gambarogno has said that he was truly surprised at the amount of interest the properties had received, but stressed, “Anyone who buys a one-franc rustici must be interested in the history of the place. This is not for people who just want a holiday home in the sun.”

Both individuals and foundations can apply to buy the properties, but Mayor Gianluigi Della Santa told Swiss broadcaster SRF that only those showing an interest in learning Italian and integrating into the local area would be considered. 

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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ThiagoSantos2 07:12 | 29 June 2023

Hi, Firstly, thank you for all these information! I'm interested in buying and renovating at least one of these houses. Do you have the contact information of the department/person I should get in touch with in order to apply? Thank you! Best Regards! Thiago Santos