Airbnb is on the hunt for a candidate willing to live rent-free in a refurbished house in the Italian village of Sambuca in Sicily. The winning applicant will relocate to Sicily with family or friends for a year, keeping all earnings from their time hosting on Airbnb.

The once-decayed traditional three-storey house has been extensively rethought by Italian architectural firm Studio Didea, which combined local craftsmanship with contemporary design codes in a thoughtful restoration. Modern accents run throughout the interior, from Lambert & Fils and Marset lighting to Cc-tapis rugs, and E15 and MDF Italia furniture. Fixtures and fittings in the kitchen and three bathrooms by Bulthaup, Kos, Smeg, and Zucchetti make a modern foil for original design accents, including the existing tiles, which have been repurposed elsewhere in the house.

Live in this Airbnb rent-free as a host

kitchen interior of restored house in Sicily, part of Airbnb rent-free scheme
The restored kitchen

The opportunity is part of Sambuca’s ‘1 Euro House campaign’, created in 2018 to address concerns over the declining population by promoting cultural heritage and appealing to a younger demographic. The winning applicant is encouraged to get involved in local community life and will be offered the chance to attend a mentorship programme, which will teach Italian and uncover the country’s cultural heritage. Those applying must be keen to host a room in the house for at least a nine-month period.

The successful participant may bring their partner, friend or family to share the experience. ‘The beauty of this campaign is that it gives a second chance not just to an abandoned heritage home in the heart of our village – it’s also a second chance to the person who moves into it,’ says mayor of Sambuca di Sicilia, Leonardo Ciaccio. ‘We see it as a designer makeover for the house and the host. We’re looking for someone who wants to live with the local population and participate in all the important moments of the community, from the grape harvest to olive picking, and we can’t wait to welcome whoever gets selected.’ §

orange doors interior in restored house in Sicily, part of Airbnb rent-free scheme
The restored entrance
 
rustic entrance

The bedroom before restoration

lounge interior of restored house in Sicily, part of Airbnb rent-free scheme

The restored living room