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It seemed like a deal too good to be true. A new house -- and potentially a whole new life -- for sale in sunkissed rural Italy for the princely sum of just one euro, or little over a dollar.

Over the past year or so, numerous small towns from Sicily in the south to the northern Alps have been offering such bargains in the hope of attracting new residents to revitalize dying communities.

The deals have made headlines on CNN and beyond, captivating millions of people hooked on the romantic notion of abandoning the metropolitan rat race for a simpler life.

Many of the towns were inundated with inquiries. Phones rang off the hook. Websites creaked under the strain.

But did anyone actually buy? And when they did, what happened next? Did they become ensnared in Italy's notoriously byzantine bureaucracy?

Did they run smack into the language barrier? Did the houses turn out to be money pits? Did la dolce vita quickly sour, leaving buyers feeling ripped off and despondent?

CNN Travel caught up with some of the pioneering buyers -- or "€1 citizens," as the locals call them -- who did what most of us have only been willing to daydream about to discover whether it's been worth it.

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