In a departure from the anti-immigration slant of Italy, a small town, Locana, has offered new people $10,000 to relocate and have a baby there.
Reports in Italy claim anybody willing to relocate to Locana, an Alpine commune in the Piedmont region, and make it their home would be paid up to €9,000 [about N3,727,703.48] for three years.
This is the deal offered by Giovanni Bruno Mattiet, the mayor of Locana, in the hope of saving the community from dying out.
At first, Mattiet appealed to Italians or foreigners already living in Italy to relocate to Locana but the response was not encouraging. He is now extending the offer to non-Italians living abroad as well.
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 installments over three years.
Due to the dwindling population, the community has seen shops, restaurants and amenities shut and its only school is facing closure. Last year there were 40 deaths in the town but just 10 babies were born, with a similar ratio in previous years.
The population of Locana has shrunk to less than 1,500 people from the over 7,000 residents who lived in Locana in the early 1900s.
“Our population has shrunk from 7,000 residents in the early 1900s to barely 1,500 as people left looking for a job at Turin’s big factories,” Mattiet told CNN Travel.
We’re looking to draw mostly young people and professionals who work remotely or are willing to start an activity here.
There are dozens of closed shops, bars, restaurants and boutiques just waiting for new people to run them.
Locana offers a healthy lifestyle, great food and folklore fairs all-year round.
It is the latest in a long line of dying Italian communities which have attempted rejuvenation through attractive relocation schemes.
Nicola Gatta, the mayor of Candela, a small town in Puglia, began offering €2,000 to people to move there in 2017, in the hope of reversing the town’s declining population.
And in January 2019, the Italian town of Sambuca announced it was selling homes for just €1.
The catch? New owners must invest €15,000 into refurbishing their new home within three years, as most of the abandoned homes are run down and dilapidated.
There is also a €5,000 security deposit to consider, which will be returned once the renovations on the houses, ranging from 40 to 150 sq metres, have been completed.
So, are you packing your bags already…?