In an attempt to undo years of gradual depopulation and economic decline, Italian leaders are listing homes for as little as $1, and to up the ante, one region is offering tens of thousands of dollars to lure in prospective residents.
That’s right: the region of Molise will launch a program Monday that will pay newcomers $770 per month for three years if they live in one of its villages, USA Today reports.
However, there are a few strings attached, The Guardian reported this week that the village must have less than 2,000 residents, and the newcomer must pledge to open a small business in the town.
“We wanted people to invest here,” Molise President, Donato Toma, told The Guardian. “They can open any sort of activity: a bread shop, a stationery shop, a restaurant, anything. It’s a way to breathe life into our towns while also increasing the population.”
A snapshot of Molise
Molise is a mountainous Italian region with a stretch of coastline on the Adriatic Sea. It encompasses part of the National Park of Abruzzo in the Apennines mountain range, with rich wildlife and trails. The regional capital, Campobasso, is known for its mountaintop Monforte Castle and Romanesque churches.
Selling homes for less than cups of espresso took off last year, in northern and southern Italy, when thousands of inquiries poured in from people around the world who wanted to learn more about the $1 listings.
Also, Italian entrepreneur Daniele Kihlgren has launched a new concept that is breathing new life into stone-carved ghost towns. It’s called an “albergo diffuso,” where hotel rooms are scattered through empty villages to create sprawling hotels.