Why bother sweating out your mortgage every month when scenic, picture postcard towns in Italy will pay you to move there?
The Italian region of Calabria is percolating a plan to boost populations of dwindling towns by offering people up to $33,000 to move to sleepy hamlets with less than 2,000 inhabitants, according to CNN.
There are over seven towns to choose from, located in the mountains and on the ocean — but there are a few catches.
Hopefuls must commit to starting up a small business, either taking over an existing company or starting their own. And they need to be professionals that the towns are actively seeking, CNN reports. And Boomers need not apply: applicants have to be under 40 and willing to relocate within 90 days of approval.
“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,” Gianluca Gallo, a regional councilor, told CNN. “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.”
The project is called “active residency income,” and aims to boost the appeal of Calabria as a spot for “south-work” — the rebranded southern Italy version of remote working — explains Gianpietro Coppola, mayor of Altomonte, who contributed to the scheme.
He says it’s a more targeted approach to revitalizing small communities.
“We want this to be an experiment of social inclusion,” Coppola told CNN. “We want to 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.”
The scheme, which has over $850,000 earmarked, will be launched in the upcoming weeks and applications will be found online.
More than 75 percent of the roughly 320 towns in Calabria have fewer than 5,000 people living there, according to CNN. Locals are fearful that some communities will fade away unless younger folks move in.
“The goal is to boost the local economy and breathe new life into small-scale communities,” Gallo said. “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.”