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Italian Village of Ollolai Entices New Residents With $1 Homes

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Looking to get away from it all? For just €1 (about $1.20), you can score a Mediterranean country home in Sardinia's mountainous Barbagia region. Ollolai, the region's former capital, is selling hundreds of empty homes for next to nothing, CNN reports. Officials want to boost a shrinking local population and preserve the town's heritage, and they're hoping that the region's charm and low cost of living will attract new blood.

Many residents have left Ollolai for bigger cities, leaving the village filled with abandoned houses. So mayor Efisio Arbau decided to acquire the abodes, contacting former inhabitants and asking them to sign their properties over to town authorities. The government obtained a special decree to sell the homes on the cheap, and sales began in 2017.

Ollolai is a mountain paradise, with fresh air, quaint cobblestone alleys, lively folk traditions, and fine local crafts and food. But like most too-good-to-be-true offers, the town's real estate bargain comes with a catch: Its empty stone homes are in poor condition, and new homeowners are required to refurbish them within three years—at a cost of about $25,000, according to one estimate.

This conditional offer hasn't deterred potential purchasers, Arbau told CNN. Several homes have already been sold, and more than 100 offers have poured in from as far away as Russia and Australia.

"We boast prehistoric origins," Arbau told CNN. "My crusade is to rescue our unique traditions from falling into oblivion."

[h/t CNN]

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Ciao, Roma! Alitalia Is Offering Free Stopovers in 2018
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If you’ve been eyeing a trip to Rome, now’s your chance. The airline Alitalia is now offering passengers free stopovers in the Italian capital, allowing them to stay for up to three days before continuing on in their itinerary, as Condé Nast Traveler reports.

There are a few catches: You’ll need to book both your departure and return flights through Alitalia, somewhat limiting your choice of airports. The airline’s website is currently showing the stopover promotion only for flights out of India, South Africa, and Kenya, even though it technically applies to all Alitalia flights, according to Frommer’s—meaning you’ll have to pick up the phone and call to book if you’re located elsewhere. And if you’re American, you’ll have to take your Roman holiday on your outbound flight, since the stopovers don’t apply on flights headed back to North America.

On the bright side, Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport will hold your luggage during your extra-long layover, so if you’re headed on a monthlong trip to India, you won’t need to lug all of your suitcases around the city. You will also qualify for discounts on some Roman hotels.

Several other airlines have used free stopover options as a way to encourage tourism in their home country, including the Portuguese national airline TAP and Icelandair, whose uber-successful stopover program has contributed to a tourism boom so big that the Icelandic government has started considering new taxes to handle it.

The Alitalia promotion lasts through the end of 2018.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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Louvre Abu Dhabi
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Art
The Louvre Abu Dhabi Just Opened the World's First Radio-Guided Highway Art Gallery
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Louvre Abu Dhabi

One way to plan an epic art road trip is to drive from museum to museum, but in the United Arab Emirates, you can take in masterpieces without leaving your car. As Artforum reports, the Louvre Abu Dhabi has lined a stretch of highway with billboards displaying works by Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, and Piet Mondrian.

The 10 works on display along the E/11 Sheikh Zayed road connecting Dubai to Abu Dhabi are recreations of pieces at or on loan to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which developed the project in partnership with three radio stations. Dubbed the Highway Gallery, it was "created to reinforce art's role in elevating everyday life into something beautiful and memorable," the museum website reads.

Like in a traditional gallery, the 30-foot-by-23-foot displays along the road are accompanied by a guided audio tour. Drivers can learn the title, artist, technique, and other details about each piece by tuning into a participating local radio station (Radio 1 FM, Classic FM, or Emarat FM). There they will hear descriptions of Leonardo da Vinci’s La Belle Ferronnière, Van Gogh’s Self Portrait, 1887, and Piet Mondrian’s Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow, and Black, as well as the Islamic sculpture Mari-Cha Lion and the sarcophagus of Egyptian princess Henuttawy.

The Highway Gallery will run through mid-March. After that, art lovers can drive their cars to the Louvre Abu Dhabi to see the items in person.

[h/t Artforum]

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