Picturesque Island Near Sicily Could Be Yours for as Little as $1.1 Million

Marcello Karra, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Marcello Karra, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Want to get away from the world without becoming a complete hermit? A private island less than 1000 feet off the coast of Sicily is currently up for sale, according to Travel + Leisure.

The island is called Isola delle Femmine, which means “Island of Women.” However, considering that there are no people to speak of on the island, you’ll enjoy complete privacy and unobstructed views of the Mediterranean. The island also affords pleasant temperatures year-round, excellent scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities, and close access to the city of Palermo—so long as you have a boat.

Sure, there are no houses or infrastructure, and it will set you back at least $1.1 million, but that’s fairly cheap for an island in southern Italy. According to CNN Travel, the asking price was originally $3.9 million, but there weren’t any takers. The aristocratic family that owns the island is now willing to consider offers between $1.1 and $3.3 million.

The only structure on the “baby isle,” as it’s known locally, is a crumbling stone tower from the 17th century. According to one legend, the island was named after 13 Turkish women who sought refuge on the spot after being cast out from their families. The actual explanation is a little less exciting. “The name stems from Latin and simply means 'island of frontier,' a safe haven of protection from the open sea,” Paola Pilo Bacci, whose family owns the island, tells CNN.

Italy’s housing market has fallen on troubled times, and Pilo Bacci’s family has been struggling to manage their other properties. Earlier this year, homes in the Italian town of Sambuca were selling for as little as $1 (as long as the new owners promised to invest $17,000 in home repairs). Not long after, the village of Locana made an even more irresistible offer, promising to pay families $10,300 to move there. The latter offer was part of an effort to repopulate the town, and prospective owners had to have at least one child.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Snuggle a Raccoon While You Sip Your Coffee at Ukraine’s Raccoon Cafe

bozhdb/iStock via Getty Images
bozhdb/iStock via Getty Images

Raccoons are often misunderstood creatures. While many people see them only as furry little pests who root through your trash or hole up in your attic (which they sometimes do), others think they make great pets. Mark Kolesnykov, founder of the recently opened Raccoon Cafe in Kharkiv, Ukraine, falls squarely into the latter group.

The Raccoon Cafe gives customers the unique opportunity to interact with and give belly rubs to Liza and Bart, a lovable pair of raccoons Kolesnykov adopted from a local eco-farm when they were just babies (a.k.a. kits).

The animals have a special enclosure in the cafe, where guests can watch them play and, if they're lucky, give them a pet. The exterior of the cafe pays tribute to the masked mammals with a mural of Guardians of the Galaxy’s Rocket Raccoon and various raccoons dressed up as superheroes, including Spider-Man (Raccoon-man?) and Wonder Woman.

Though it only just opened, the Raccoon Cafe is already proving to be a huge hit; CNN reports that the space is attracting approximately 200 visitors per day, which means that some customers must wait up to 30 minutes for their chance to interact with and feed the pair (neither of which are things you should ever do with a raccoon in the wild).

Patrons who'd rather not get too close can also just watch the pair as they climb around their enclosure, play with their toys, and interact with guests—and each other—in a special indoor room that’s equipped with soundproof glass and special lighting.

Kolesnykov told UATV that part of the cafe's allure is that while people regularly see photos and videos of raccoons doing adorable things, few people have ever witnessed their behavior up close. In person, according to Kolesnykov, the animals are “livelier” and even more “mischievous” than what people have seen on YouTube.

The cafe, however, is not without its critics. Animal psychologist Andriy Hapchenko, head researcher at Feldman Ecopark in Kharkiv, expressed concerns to UATV about businesses like the Raccoon Cafe, saying that wild animals that are used for business purposes can often be harmed by the amount of human attention (and food) they're given. But Kolesnykov assures potential customers that he consulted with veterinarians before opening the space to make sure that Liza and Bart would be both safe and happy.

[h/t CNN]

This London Pub Might Be the Most Ethical Bar in the World

Ridofranz/Getty Images
Ridofranz/Getty Images

Pub owner Randy Rampersad is doing his part for sustainability. In June, he opened the Green Vic—a play on the fictional Queen Vic pub in the soap opera EastEnders—in the East London neighborhood of Shoreditch. The Telegraph reports it’s aiming to be the world’s most ethical pub: Rampersad eschews plastic and paper straws and opts for gluten-free wheat “straws.” He sources the bar's 100 percent recycled toilet paper from green-minded company Who Gives a Crap, and the communal wooden tables are upcycled.

“I wanted to make the world a better place and run my own business, but I was waiting for that eureka moment,” Rampersad told The Telegraph. He discovered no one had done anything like this before.

There’s no meat on the menu—the food is totally vegan, healthy-ish pub grub. You can add CBD oil to the “chkn" bites appetizer, and the burgers are made from ingredients like soy, seaweed, and sweet potato. The beers are produced by ethical brewers, too: Toast Ale uses unsold loaves and crusts of bread; Good Things Brewing crafts its beer from 100 percent renewable energy; South Africa’s Afro Vegan Cider donates money to an organization that funds equal pay for female farmers; and Brewgooder donates to water projects.

In fact, everything the Green Vic does has charity in mind. “We don't care about the money, I’m planet first and profit after,” Rampersad told The Telegraph. Up to 80 percent of its profits will go to charitable causes, including local food banks. As for the staff, one in four are from marginalized groups. The Green Vic plans to operate as a three-month pop-up pub while scouting for longer term investment.

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