An Italian village is offering to pay people to move there in the hope that it will boost the number of residents and sustain its economy.
The town council for Santo Stefano di Sessanio, located in the mountains of the Abruzzo region, said that at present, there are only 115 people who live in the municipality. Just 13 of those are under the age of 20, while 41 are over 65.
Given that those numbers aren’t enough for “a sustainable and lasting development of the territory”, it is planning to pay people up to €8,000 (£7,226) per year, paid in monthly instalments, to go and live there.
New arrivals will be funded for three years, and be given a property to live in – they will have to pay rent, but it’s said to be a yet to be decided “symbolic” amount.
There are just 10 spaces available initially.
But the scheme isn’t open to everyone. Santo Stefano di Sessanio is looking for non-resident Italians, EU citizens or those from other countries with a residence card for the EU.
They must be over the age of 18, but under 40, and have no convictions against them.
Would-be applicants would also need to commit to staying in the municipality for a minimum of five years and open a business there. To that end, the town council offered to pay an additional one-off contribution of up to €20,000 (£18,066) to help them start a business.
The town has also identified some key skills that it’s hoping to attract, including tourist guides, cleaners, pharmacists and those who can help with promoting the local food products.
Since the scheme launched on 15 October, the town has already had around 1,500 people apply, CNN reports, and applications will close on 15 November.
It’s not the first time an Italian village has offered to pay people to move there.
Locana in northern Italy, just 45km from the city of Turin, offered to pay people up to €9,000 to become permanent residents and help reinvigorate the community.
The only stipulations are that new inhabitants have a child, a salary of at least €6,000 and be committed to staying in the area. The relocation money is paid in instalments over three years.
In 2017, Nicola Gatta, mayor of Candela, a small town in Puglia, offered to pay people up to €2,000 to move there.