Meet Argentine doctors attracted by the rural idyll of Sicily

Editor’s note. Sign up for CNN Travel’s free nine-stage show. Italy newsletter unlock for insider information on Italy’s most loved destinations and lesser-known regions to plan your ideal trip. Plus, we’ll lift your spirits before you hit the road with movies, reading lists, and recipes from Stanley Tucci.
(CNN) – When dozens of cities across Italy began selling dilapidated buildings for the price of an espresso, people from all over the world wanted to grab a piece of the action—and for different reasons.

It’s not always about chasing the idyllic dream of living at La Dolce Vita in a rural, sleepy village where time has stood still.

For some, it’s part of a career change: a radical professional upgrade accompanied by a more laid-back lifestyle.

The sale of cheap buildings in the Sicilian city of Mussomeli for one euro ($1) is attracting Argentine doctors with Italian roots who plan to settle down and give their lives a new twist.

“Due to a shortage of doctors in the village hospital, a cooperation agreement was signed between the University of Rosario in Argentina and our City Hall to fill the vacancies, and we will soon have new Argentine doctors who speak Italian fluently,” Mayor Mussomeli Giuseppe said. Catania reports to CNN.

The partnership began as a promotional tool to attract foreign investment to rebuild the city of Mussomeli, Catania says, and now it is doing more than just addressing the health emergency.

“These new doctors are also interested in contributing to ongoing revitalization projects to breathe new life into our depopulated village, including the purchase and redevelopment of abandoned houses in the historic center, which has been our biggest success.”

In recent years, Mussomeli has sold more than 300 cheap properties starting at 5,000 euros and 150 houses priced at one euro, attracting foreign specialists and smart workers. Many new buyers come from Argentina, where the Mussomeli families migrated in the 1900s.

“Calm down and slow down”

A number of Italian-Argentine doctors recently visited Mussomeli to meet with authorities, schoolchildren and future colleagues, as well as to feel the atmosphere of the city.

For emergency surgeon Leonardo Roldan of Rosario, the goal of moving to Sicily is twofold.

“I’m still quite young at 49, so this is more than just a professional shift in my career: it’s a choice to lead a different life, the exact opposite of the one I live in Argentina, and take my family with me. “

Roldan, who used to live in northern Italy, says he never realized how beautiful Sicily was until he discovered Mussomeli, which also helped him overcome some of the prejudices about the deep south that he learned while living in the north.

“Mussomeli is a complete break from my daily reality. This is a different world: quiet, peaceful, where the locals lead a simple lifestyle. need more time to enjoy quality things.”

For him, Mussomeli is an opportunity to live a measured life and use his free time to enjoy what he loves most: running through the untouched hills of the village, dotted with grazing sheep, and exploring the wonders of Sicily. He likens it to giving up fast food in favor of slow food.

Roldan plans to move from Argentina with his entire family, including his dog, and is already eyeing several properties.

“City has done an amazing job with the cheap house scheme and at some point, once I get the hang of it, I could buy and rebuild one of them as a life project without any rush,” he says.

Initially, he plans to move to a rural house with a garden on the outskirts of Mussomeli, but if his one-year contract is renewed, he will be happy to enter the adventure of renovating a house for one euro or cheap.

“I don’t want this to be an investment or a boutique or business venture. It will be a place that I can call my home in the future.”

The move to Mussomeli will also allow Roldan to reconnect with his Italian roots, given that four of his great-grandparents and great-grandfathers migrated to Argentina from Italy.

Possibility of return

Diego Colabianchi is looking forward to his adventure in Sicily.

Diego Colabianchi

Argentina is going through an economic crisis that also influenced the decision to move, says Italian-Argentine pediatrician Diego Colabianchi from Rosario. His wife, a gynecologist, is also likely to join the ranks of Mussomeli’s doctors.

“I studied in Italy, we love and miss life in Italy. Hiring is an opportunity to come back, and I am excited about the prospect of life change. I’ve never been to Mussomeli before, but I really see I live there – a small village world, calmness, it just kindles endless curiosity in me.

Colabianchi says he longs for new experiences in a tranquil environment surrounded by nature, where the opportunity to enjoy great, authentic Sicilian cuisine is another plus.

“At this stage of my life, I could not imagine myself living even in Rome, too chaotic. But Mussomeli is perfect, not too small, somewhere between the countryside and the city.

“I like its unusual location, high in the mountains, the exact opposite of the Rosario plain where I now live. In addition, Mussomeli is close to the beaches, there are hills, olive groves, vineyards, and farmers produce excellent wool.”

He is drawn to the idea of ​​buying up the dilapidated property and refurbishing it to revitalize the old neighborhood. But Colabianchi wants to take it step by step.

“I will spend my first year in Mussomeli adjusting to the new surroundings, but my dream is to stay there and settle permanently, so at some point buying a one euro house or an abandoned cheap house in better condition becomes really an option.”

‘Full of life’

For Buenos Aires-based gastroenterologist Edgardo Trape, working as a doctor in Mussomeli is a double challenge.

“I want to start doing different things and see different things. First of all, I would like to get a professional push and when I was in Mussomeli I felt this energy running through the village. She is full of life.”

Trape says that working in Sicily will also allow him to be closer to his children in Europe and fully reconnect with his Sicilian heritage.

“Three of my grandparents are from Caltanissetta, and Mussomeli is in the same province, so this cannot be just a coincidence.”

Unlike his colleagues in Rosario, Trape has some concerns that Mussomeli might be too sleepy for him compared to his current life in Buenos Aires, which he says is completely satisfying.

“It’s a small village with a peaceful, subdued atmosphere. Maybe she’s too quiet. [compared to] what I originally expected and that’s what struck me when I first visited, but I’m happy and looking forward to the experience.”

And potentially, once he starts working regularly at the hospital and has a long-term vision for his time in Sicily, Trape says he could buy and renovate the derelict house.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *