Nationwide — Meet Stephanie Synclair, a 41-year-old Black mom from Atlanta who decided to make Sicily her second home. In 2022, she became the proud owner of a $62,000 house in Sicily, Italy, escaping the high home prices in the United States.
After quitting a 10-year corporate marketing career in 2012, Synclair took a spontaneous trip to Sicily with her then 6-year-old son, Caden, which cost roughly $250 for a plane ticket.
“I knew from the moment I landed that I loved it here, and it was almost like home for me,” she told NBC Washington.
Synclair, who is now running her own tea company, LaRue 1680 decided to settle in Sicily not only because of its scenic beauty and delicious food but also by the warmth of the Sicilian community.
“My favorite thing about living in Sicily is you actually get to live. I do find that in the United States, it’s more work-focused for me. And so here I’m able to really relax and spend time doing things that I love doing.”
Motivated by the changing landscape of the U.S. housing market, especially during the pandemic, Synclair expanded her search globally. Through a Facebook group, she discovered the town of Mussomeli in Sicily, known for selling homes for as low as 1 euro.
By March 2022, Synclair closed the deal on her three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 4,000-square-foot historic house for a total of 59,000 euros, or approximately $62,000. Now in the midst of renovations, she values preserving the architectural details of her 500-year-old home.
“I always said I could see myself living here, but it was more so in a dream way,” she adds. “I never actually saw myself buying a house here. I don’t know that I really thought it was possible at the time.”
Living in Sicily has not only provided Synclair with a cultural escape but also financial benefits. Basic living expenses are minimal, with lower utility costs and more affordable fresh produce, compared to Atlanta.
For now, Synclair visits Sicily every three months. However, she plans to spend more time abroad after her son graduates from high school. In the future, Synclair envisions eventually retiring in Italy, where she estimates needing only $450,000 compared to $2.5 million in the U.S. Above all, she remains grateful for the warmth and hospitality that made Sicily feel like a true home away from home.
“I will always be an American on foreign land — I will always be an outsider,” Synclair said. “And I think that’s really important to remember when you’re coming into others’ cultures.”
Be sure to follow her on Instagram @StephanieSynclairHome