An underpopulated mountainous region hours east of Rome is looking to fill its villages and they're offering more than $27,000 to get people to move there. Donato Toma, the president of Molise, told the Guardian they are giving newcomers $774 per month over three years to live in its villages, but it comes with conditions.
According to the report, the village must have a population of fewer than 2,000 residents for new residents to be eligible. Whoever comes also has to pledge to open a business. "If we had offered funding, it would have been yet another charity gesture," Toma said.
"We wanted to do more, we wanted people to invest here. 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."
Additionally, Toma announced that each town with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants would receive $11,070 USD to build infrastructure and further cultural activities. He added that this effort not just about "increasing the population."
"People also need infrastructure and a reason to stay, otherwise we'll end up back where we started in a few years," he said.
Located in the southern part of the country, Molise has been rapidly losing inhabitants in recent years. According to official statistics, the region's population is about 305,000; it lost about 9,000 people since 2014.
Molise isn't the only Italian region trying to attract outsiders to come and stay. Sambuca, a hilltop town in Sicily with sweeping views of the Mediterranean, is selling dozens of homes after other Italian towns and villages have made similar offers. The move was done in hopes of luring foreigners to renovate the properties and revive its local economy.