Italy manhunt for killer of homeless man burned alive

Italian police launched a manhunt on Saturday for a killer who doused a homeless man in flammable liquid and set him alight as he slept in Palermo, Sicily.

Italy manhunt for killer of homeless man burned alive
Photo: Giovanni Cassanese/Flickr

Horrific images of the fatal attack, captured by closed circuit video cameras, were posted on the website of La Repubblica newspaper.

They show the hooded attacker approaching the victim, Marcello Cimino, 45, as he slept under heavy bedding in a portico next to a building that is used as a soup kitchen for the homeless.

He is carrying a bucket which he empties onto the bedding. He then takes some sort of lighter out of his pocket and sets the bed alight, sparking an instant blaze.

The attacker was fortunate to avoid being engulfed by the flames himself. He appears to slip as he reaches across the bedding with his lighter and is then seen beating at his burning trousers as he skips clear of the fire and out of the video shot.

Neighbours heard the victim screaming but he was dead by the time emergency services arrived at the scene. Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando described the murder as “an act of pure barbarism.”


Why one Sicilian town has put the price of its €1 homes up to €3

The cheap homes hotspot of Sambuca di Sicilia has launched its latest property offer, selling off 12 abandoned properties - this time for the symbolic price of €3.

Why one Sicilian town has put the price of its €1 homes up to €3

Over the last decade, Italy’s famous one-euro home offers have been making headlines internationally – and they show no sign of stopping.

Perhaps no town in Italy has been quite as successful at selling them as Sambuca di Sicilia, a village in the eastern part of Sicily.

The town, with a population of around 5,000, first came into the spotlight five years ago for being among the first to offer abandoned houses for one euro.

READ MORE: Can you still buy Italy’s one-euro homes in 2024?

The mayor reported a “property stampede” at the time as his council was inundated with enquiries from around the world.

It repeated the process two years later in 2021, when the price started from two euros. The village is now on its third batch of sales and is upping the starting price again – this time to three euros.

According to newly-elected mayor Giuseppe Cacioppo, who introduced the first offer as deputy mayor in 2019, the price is going up by one euro every time because “we just want to make it clear that by numbering these batches, more sales will likely follow in coming years.”

The cheap home offers had been “a hit so far” among foreign buyers, and the town had timed the latest sale to coincide with the tourist season, he told CNN.

“Tourists and interested buyers currently travelling to Italy, and those planning a trip in spring and summer, can come take a look,” he said.

MAP: Where in Italy can you buy homes for one euro?

Cacioppo told The Local in 2022 that cheap property sales had boosted the local economy by €100 million in two years.

The 12 properties included in this year’s €3 offer are currently under the ownership of the town hall, having reportedly been abandoned following an earthquake in 1969.

Cacioppo first announced the latest round of sales in November, telling Sicilian regional press: “We continue to believe that the one-euro house project is the right way to create development.”

As with all of Italy’s famous cheap home offers, the true cost involved is slightly more than the symbolic price of €3.

The purchase process varies by town, but in Sambuca’s case this is just the starting bid in an auction process, with houses in previous years being sold for anything between one and 25,000 euros.

READ ALSO: Six things to know about Italy’s one-euro homes

Those taking part in the auction are required to pay a deposit of 5,000 euros and must commit to renovating the property within three years, at their own expense.

Anyone interested must submit their application by 1pm on August 5th in a sealed envelope containing a bank transfer receipt for the €5,000 deposit and a photocopy of an identification document, according to the town council’s instructions.

More information about the offer is available on the council’s website.

Please note The Local is unable to help you purchase a one- (or three-) euro home in Italy. Although please let us know if you decide to make an offer!