In the Italian region of Calabria, over 75% of towns (around 320) currently have fewer than 5,000 residents and there are fears that some communities may die out completely in a few years unless there is successful regeneration. To combat this, the region is trying to repopulate its sleepiest villages by offering up to €28,000 over a maximum of three years to people willing to relocate.
The Calabrese offer
The picturesque Italian region aims to solve the population decline in its smaller villages by offering financial incentives to people willing to move there. The new project sees nine villages with just 2,000 inhabitants or less, among which are beautiful seaside locations and mountainsides villages, truly idyllic Italian landscapes, offering financial incentives to encourage people to move there. It is hoped that the offer will attract pro-active young people and millennials who are eager to work and reenergise the villages. In order to receive the financial reward of up to €28,000, new residents must:
- commit to kickstarting a small business from scratch or taking up preexisting offers of specific professionals wanted by the villages.
- take up residency.
- be a maximum of 40 years old.
- be ready to relocate to Calabria within 90 days from their successful application.
The goal is to boost the local economy and breathe new life into small-scale communities. We want to make demand for jobs meet supply, that’s why we’ve asked villages to tell us what type of professionals they’re missing to attract specific workers.Gianluca Gallo, a regional councillor in Calabria
Speaking to CNN, Gianluca Gallo, a regional councillor in Calabria, said the monthly income could be around €1,000-€800 for two to three years, or alternatively there could be one off funding to support the launch of a new commercial activity, for example a B&B, restaurant, bar, rural farm, or shop.
We’re honing the technical details, the exact monthly amount and duration of the funds, and whether to include also slightly larger villages with up to 3,000 residents. We’ve had so far a huge interest from villages and hopefully, if this first scheme works, more are likely to follow in coming years.Gianluca Gallo, a regional councillor in Calabria
According to Gianpietro Coppola, mayor of Altomonte, who contributed to the scheme, the project “active residency income” aims to boost the appeal of Calabria as a spot for “south-work”, the rebranded southern Italy version of remote working. He described it as a more targeted approach to revitalising small communities than the previous one euro house sell offs. Calabria is not the first to try this idea, as the region of Molise and the town of Candela, in Puglia, have also adopted similar schemes in the past, as an alternative to selling crumbling homes extremely cheaply.
We want this to be an experiment of social inclusion. Draw people to live in the region, enjoy the settings, spruce up unused town locations such as conference halls and convents with high-speed internet. Uncertain tourism and the one euro houses are not the best ways to revamp Italy’s south.Gianpietro Coppola, mayor of Altomonte
The Calabria region has been working on the project for months and has already set aside more than €700,000 to be used. The project and application process are expected to be launched online in the next few weeks.