It's usually the preserve of old comics or unloved LPs, but online listings site eBay is offering something a little more impressive to bidders – an entire Tuscan village.
Pratariccia, priced at €2.5 million, is a medieval village around 40km from Florence which has been empty for the last 50 years, ever since its population of farmers and shepherds abandoned their stone properties for factory jobs during Italy's economic boom. For their money the winning bidder will become the proud owner of 25 cottages and eight hectares of land which is home to wild boar, deer and even wolves.
Local estate agent Carlo Magni who is handling the sale believes that the buyer would need an extra €1 million to restore the crumbling buildings, provide electricity to the village and also to form a passable road. Currently the closest visitors can get is within 800m of the village before the road becomes impossible to drive on.
He also believes that with Italy's current economic situation, unusual sales methods like this would become increasingly common place. "Italy is deep in an economic crisis and needs to sell," said Magni. "Finding buyers through the trade press costs, whereas eBay is free and reaches a huge public. It's good for selling small things, but I think we will see a lot more Italian villages and even castles coming up for sale."
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