In recent years, several small towns in Italy have begun selling vacant homes for just one euro (about $1.18) in an effort to repopulate rural communities. The promise of cheap land — often in gorgeous, medieval villages — is undeniably intriguing, but left many would-be buyers wondering if the prospect was too good to be true.
Well, HGTV fans are about to learn the answer.
PEOPLE can exclusively reveal that actress Lorraine Bracco, who starred in Goodfellas and The Sopranos, was one of the buyers who decided to take the plunge and purchase a $1 home in Sicily — and she'll be documenting her entire experience in a new show, My Big Italian Adventure, premiering October 30.
“I believe life is an adventure,” Bracco says in a press release. “When I saw the article that you could buy a house in Sambuca for one euro, I jumped on it. So, I came on the plane. I bought the house. I’m very excited to be here, meet and work with the locals, and live amongst them. I’m here to pay homage to my family that comes from Sicily."
The Sambuca one-euro program was created by the mayor as a way to bring a resurgence of citizens back to the historic town, which has seen much of its younger generation leave for bigger cities such as Palermo, the capital of Sicily, in recent years.
There is one big catch: the program requires that centuries-old homes be renovated within three years of purchase, ensuring that those that buy that homes do intend to help breathe life back into the town.
The series follows the 65-year-old actress as she says “ciao” to a 1,075-square-foot, 200-year-old property in a hilltop town on the island, located just off the “toe” of Italy’s boot.
She quickly finds out her home is crumbling from the inside out (the walls, floors, and roof are all deteriorating) and has no electricity, running water, kitchen or bathrooms.
“This is a huge undertaking,” Bracco admits. “I'm not a contractor. I'm not a decorator. I'm an actress. I've never done this before. I have no idea what I'm really getting into! It's a lot of work, but everything is possible. I believe that. And for one euro, we'll see!”
With the help of an architect, contractor, translator and several friends new and old, Bracco guts the home, overcoming challenges as she works to finish the renovations within the time frame stipulated by the town. Fans will watch as the actress turn the old house into a place she and her family can call their Italian retreat for years to come, honoring her family history along the way.
My Big Italian Adventure premieres Friday, October 30, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV.
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