Italian villages are offering potential residents $ 44,000 to settle there to boost their declining populations.
Several picturesque villages in the southwestern region of Calabria are part of the program, which is one of the new ways that Italian towns and villages have sought to attract new residents in recent years.
Small Calabrian villages, close to the region’s beaches and mountains, have reportedly seen their populations drop to less than 2,000.
They offer the cash bonuses to people who move there – which works out to around € 28,000 ($ 44,000) over a period of up to three years – but there are a few pitfalls, CNN reports.
RELATED: Woman Reveals Truth About $ 1.50 Homes
To get the money, applicants must settle down and commit to starting a local business from scratch or taking specific professional positions that cities seek.
They must be willing to relocate to Calabria within 90 days of successful application and most importantly, they must be 40 years of age or under – the idea is to attract young people willing to work.
Local authorities are still working out the details, but regional councilor Gianluca Gallo told CNN the monthly income could be around € 1,000 to € 800 ($ 1,580 to $ 1,263) for two to three years, or that there could be one-time funding to support the start of a local business, such as a store, restaurant or even a farm.
“We are fine-tuning the technical details, the exact monthly amount and duration of the funds, and the desirability of also including slightly larger villages with up to 3,000 inhabitants,” he told CNN. “So far we have generated tremendous interest from the villages and hopefully if this first program works, others will likely follow in the years to come.
The towns and villages that are part of the program include the small hamlet of Civita, the twin hamlets of Samo and Precacore, which are famous for the Greco-Byzantine ruins, the beach of Aieta, Bova, which is famous for its coastal views, the village of Caccuri which includes a hilltop castle, the picturesque Albidona, Sant’Agata del Bianco which hosts a range of festivals throughout the year, the cliffside village of Santa Severina and San Donato di Ninea, which surrounds what is considered one of the best wildlife reserves in Europe.
In recent years, Italian cities have increasingly tended to sell properties for as little as one euro to entice people to move there.
The mayor of Altomonte, Gianpietro Coppola, whose city contributed to the project, said the Calabria approach would better revitalize communities.
“We want this to be an experience of social inclusion. Attract people to live in the area, enjoy the surroundings, beautify unused places in the city such as conference rooms and convents with high speed internet, ”he told CNN.
“Uncertain tourism and one-euro houses are not the best way to give southern Italy a makeover.