Lots of Italian towns have offered houses for as little as €1 in a bit to replenish their dwindling populations. But the region of Molise, near Rome, has gone one step further – offering to pay people over $27,000 a year to move there and start a business.
Around 106 villages in the area, east of the capital, are seeking new residents from far and wide. Young people and families are particularly welcome to participate in the scheme, which was devised by regional counsellor Antonio Tedeschi and officially launches on 16 September.
Those who participate in the programme will receive around $770 per month for up to three years to help them start their new life, but they must commit to starting a small business and contribute to the local economy.
Says Tedeschi: ‘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.’