A picturesque Italian village in Italy is looking for a transfusion of young residents to revitalise its aging population, and they're willing to pay handsomely for it.
The village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio in the Abruzzo region is offering new arrivals up to €44,000, or $76000, to move to the hilltop village.
With up to €8000 a year for new residents, plus a one-time grant of €20000 for businesses which relocate to the area, the village hopes that it will jump-start their local economy and lower the average age.
The hamlet is home to 155 permanent residents, just 13 of whom are under the age of 20 according to the Daily Mail.
At the moment the village which sits in the Apennine Mountains regional park is sustained mostly by rural trades and tourism. It's currently home to the five-star Sextantio albergo diffusso or "scattered hotel". This novel luxury resort operates 29 rooms across the town's empty, historic buildings. Some of the rooms even belong to a converted medieval brothel, according to CNN Travel. Spread around the mazy cobbled stone streets it has been a huge success with visitors.
Photo / Facebook
However, following the current downturn of international travel, the town is keen to fill properties with permanent residents and more diverse businesses.
Two hours from Rome and 90 minutes from the Adriatic coast, the lifestyle is sure to appeal to those looking for a change of scenery and a slice of the good life.
"We're not selling anything to anyone -- this isn't a business move. We just want to enable the village to continue to live," Mayor Fabio Santavicca told CNN Travel.
"These villages live as long as there are people in them," he said.
"To bring Santo Stefano back to life, and to give it a new life, more economic and social force, we need younger people."
Santo Stefano is hardly the first Italian village to lure urbanites and younger to relocate. Last year Sicilian village of Mussomeli began selling empty properties for €1 each. In 2017 the town of Candela in Puglia began offering new transplants €2000 to move there.
However, Santo Stefano is the most generous offering so far.
Photo / Sextantio, Grotte Della Civita
"We have a sense of civic duty that's pushing us towards this. This isn't about selling anything [unlike the Sicilian €1 houses]. We just want to start things that will allow the village to continue to live," Santavicca said.
What's the catch? Applicants must be under 40 and legal residents of the EU. You'll also be signing up to a term of five years in the village, to avoid the money disappearing with short-term visitors.
The town has already had 15000 applicants ahead of the November 15 deadline.
For more information visit the council's website.
This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.