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Oh What Shall We Buy Today On eBay? How About A Village In Tuscany

Here's one way to try to get elected mayor - buy yourself a village. And thanks to eBay, you can make an offer with a click of your mouse.

Want to make a bid on the Borgo? (pelletica)
Want to make a bid on the Borgo? (pelletica)
STIA - It's time to add "Tuscan village" to the list of stuff you can buy on eBay. Facing a stalled Italian real estate market, the owners of the small village of Pratariccia are hoping to sell it to the highest bidder on the U.S.-based online auction exchange website.

For 50 years, Pratariccia, a hamlet in the municipality of Stia, located 40 kilometers away from Florence, has stood abandoned -- see the video below for proof. Now, you can buy its 25 deserted houses on the edge of wooded countryside and near historical abbeys. Original starting price: 2.5 million euros.

"The village is property of several owners who live in Tuscany and who have tried to sell it for years. Maybe this time they'll finally succeed," said the Mayor of Stia, Luca Santini. Several businessmen have already been in touch with the municipality and have pitched projects to renovate the village. Despite being badly rundown, a village in the heart of Tuscany is attractive property. But as usual for this well-protected region, strict zoning laws will apply.

Selling villages or small towns online is not that uncommon anymore. In the U.S. it happened, among others, for Waucunda, Washington, and Albert, Texas. In 2010 in Italy, the managers of San Basile, a village in the Calabria region, launched a website to sell vacant houses with asking prices that started from 5,000 Euros. Thousands of people from Italy and abroad made offers on that village. The bids are just now coming in for Pratariccia.

Read more from La Stampa in Italian.

*This is a digest, not a direct translation. Original article by Pierangelo Sapegno

Photo - pelletica

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Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

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