Rural Italian communities are experiencing population drain—and some cities are even handing out houses for a single euro if buyers promise to renovate. That’s an attractive deal, until you consider that Molise is offering to pay you $770 a month for up to three years—a total of $27,000—if you move there.
"The goal is to breathe new life and revamp the local economy," Antonio Tedeschi says in an interview with CNN Travel. He’s a local regional councilor who sparked the incentive. "Newcomers are free to kick-start anything they please in order to get our financial support: a small inn, restaurant, bar, B&B, a tiny rural farm, artisan boutique, library, or shop selling local gourmet excellences."
Many communities across Italy are crumbling as young people flock to bigger cities for better opportunities. Molise itself is in a tailspin: the population has shrunk by 9,000 over the past 5 years, and it’s now down to a total of 305,000. Tedeschi wants to put a hard stop to the problem.
"I want my region to undergo a renaissance and avoid its authentic villages turning into ghost towns," he told CNN. "We need to safeguard our roots."
The offer is an enticing one for Italophiles and local Italians looking to access all Molise has to offer. A choose-your-own adventure awaits: seas, olive groves, pastures, and the Apennine mountain range complete the region. Those interested can settle into the stronghold of Pesce, the snow-dusted terroir of Capracotta and Campitello, or the city of Sepino, whose ancient architecture rivals that of Rome and Pompeii. The mountains spill down to 22 miles of pristine coastline along the handsome blue Adriatic Sea.
Young families are encouraged to apply, and can do so as soon as September 16.
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