Bitti: How to revive a village in Sardinia
For years, the alarming phenomenon of the depopulation of the inland areas of Sardinia has been written about, and there are questions about possible solutions to stem this devastating demographic decline.
Bitti is one of the most important centers of northern Barbagia. Today there are about three thousand permanent residents enrolled in the registration offices, but just 50 years ago, there were more than twice that number. Mayor Joseph Ciccolini launches a challenge, together with the community, to revive the image of his country. He introduces a project aimed at recovering and selling uninhabited houses at very affordable prices to those who decide to invest in a place of beauty and memory, rich in tradition, history and archaeology.
“The census, on a national scale, assigns to Bitti a depopulation among the highest in Italy,” says the mayor. “To stop the flight of those who migrate to the more populated centers providing services is almost impossible. I believe that to face reality today, means finding new solutions, creating conditions that might attract a stable tourism so that within a few years, we can avoid an actual desertification of our territories.”
Here is the analysis of the situation and the response that the City of Bitti provides: “It is necessary to focus on proposals that have a tangible return. Nowadays, there lacks an appealing offer to attract those – Sardinian or not – to enjoy our island and seek the right motivation to invest on a solid foundation.” The City guarantees the mediation between those who want to buy a house in the old town of Bitti and those who will provide the houses which are now uninhabited and closed: “Our interest is to propose, even outside the island, buying houses at ridiculously low prices. We are defining all homes for sale, with certain owners and regular acts in such a way that the negotiation can be started without any problems whatsoever.”
There are more than over a hundred uninhabited homes currently available for new buyers at a very low cost. Through a real estate brokerage, activities proceed with a census of the houses; a data-sheet is prepared which entails the characteristics of the property, and the price is given. Through a public announcement, the end of this step opens the selection of subjects (private or real estate agent) interested in purchasing homes.
“The hope – continues the mayor – is that influential Sardinian persons will join our initiative and give us a hand as an exceptional “testimonial” to promote our project. I have already thought out and contacted some important people who showed interest, but for now I can’t reveal the details of the operation.”
For the municipal administration of Bitti to improve the historic center, the museum of tenor singing and the completion of the International Scout Center are the fundamental objectives in reviving the resettlement of the city.