As dozens of Italian towns sell off old houses on the cheap, foreigners who rush to grab one are often in search of a year-round sunshine spot, a vacation retreat, or just to live their Italian dream.
But one American family has done it to start a new life far from the United States.
In 2019, the Dawkins family – Nadine, 59, her husband, Kim, 61, and their children Lorenzo, 29, and DeNae, 27 – bought a charming home in the town of Latronico. In the southern region of Basilicata, the town of 4,000 inhabitants is located within the pristine Pollino National Park and surrounded by hot springs.
They got excited after reading CNN’s article about Latronico’s initiative to sell cheap houses that are already inhabitable, rather than ruins for one euro, or a little over a dollar. The town advertises available properties on a dedicated website.
Reading the article at her home in El Paso, Texas, Nadine Dawkins, a retired former soldier and businesswoman, felt the pull of her ancestry.
Her great-great-grandfather was Italian and came to America in the 19th century.
“After hearing my nonna’s stories, I always felt a connection to Italy,” she tells CNN Travel.
“As a soldier stationed in the region many years later, I vowed to return. Years more, my husband and I brought our children over to see where they hailed from.”
Her Italian ancestor took on an American name when he landed in the States: Clint Jeffrey. Nadine doesn’t know much about her great-great-grandmother, Lucinda, who was an enslaved woman on an Arkansas plantation when Jeffrey bought her, and “lived out the rest of his days with her,” she says.