An idyllic Italian village in the Piedmont region is the latest to offer an impressive financial incentive to up sticks and move there.
Locana in northern Italy, just 45km from the city of Turin, is offering people up to €9,000 to become permanent residents and help reinvigorate the community.
The only stipulations are that new inhabitants have a child, a salary of at least €6,000 and be committed to staying in the area. The relocation money is paid in instalments over three years.
“Our population has shrunk from 7,000 residents in the early 1900s to barely 1,500 as people left looking for a job at Turin’s big factories,” Locana’s mayor Giovanni Bruno Mattiet told CNN Travel.
“Our school each year faces the risk of shutting down due to few pupils. I can’t allow this to happen.”
He added that the village is looking to draw mostly young people and professionals who either work remotely or are happy to start a business in the community. There are dozens of closed shops, bars, restaurants and boutiques, according to Mattiet, “just waiting for new people to run them”.
Initially the deal was only open to Italians or those already living in Italy, but it’s now been broadened out to include those currently living in other countries.
Mattiet is hoping the village can lure young families there with a prime location: Locana is in the Gran Paradiso mountain reserve, surrounded by pristine forests, and provides the chance to engage in all kind of outdoorsy pursuits, such as fishing, climbing and hiking.
“Locana offers a healthy lifestyle, great food and folklore fairs all-year round,” says Mattiet.
It is the latest in a long line of dying Italian communities which have attempted rejuvenation through attractive relocation schemes.
Nicola Gatta, the mayor of Candela, a small town in Puglia, began offering €2,000 to people to move there in 2017, in the hope of reversing the town’s declining population.
Candidates had to rent a house in the town and earn more than €7,500 per year. The council agreed to pay €800 for singles and €1,200 for couples. Families of up to five received over €2,000.
And in January 2019, the Italian town of Sambuca announced it was selling homes for just €1.
The catch? New owners must invest €15,000 into refurbishing their new home within three years, as most of the abandoned homes are run down and dilapidated.
There is also a €5,000 security deposit to consider, which will be returned once the renovations on the houses, ranging from 40 to 150 sq metres, have been completed.
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