Have you ever needed a bit more of an incentive to get your life together, settle down and maybe start a family?
Perhaps your parents are asking you what’s your life plan, or your partner keeps dropping hints about having kids… I’ll be honest this is stressing me out just writing about it.
To be paid $10,000 to move to a town in Italy and do all that might just sweeten the deal a little bit though. And that is exactly what the mayor of one Italian town is offering.
Giovannni Bruno Mattiet, the mayor of Locana, is offering families cold hard cash in an effort to rejuvenate the town’s dwindling community.
The town is located in north west Italy, in the Piedmont region of the country. Locana itself is about 45 kilometres (28 miles) north west of Turin. It may sound remote, but this is Alpine living, think of the fresh air and the views!
Speaking to CNN, Mattiet said:
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.
Our school each year faces the risk of shutting down due to few pupils. I can’t allow this to happen.
We’re looking to draw mostly young people and professionals who work remotely or are willing to start an activity here. There are dozens of closed shops, bars, restaurants and boutiques just waiting for new people to run them.
The mayor is offering up to €9,000 ($10,200), paid over three years, to families who up for upping sticks and settling in Locana. It also helps if you have a child, or are planning to, and you earn a minimum annual salary of €6,000.
With an ageing population, Locana reportedly has around 40 deaths a year and only 10 births. However, the problem isn’t unique to this town – there are now around 140 villages in Italy with less than 150 residents each.
Locano is perfect for those outdoorsy types. Spanning 132 square kilometres of the Gran Paradiso mountain reserve, hiking, skiing, rock climbing, swimming and ice skating will be right on your doorstep.
Locana offers a healthy lifestyle, great food and folklore fairs all-year round.
Meanwhile, just north of Locana, the Swiss town of Borgomezzavalle is selling its abandoned mountain cottages for just €1 in an attempt to revitalise its own dwindling population.
The mayor, Alberto Preioni, said:
This town was created in 2016 with the fusion of two neighbouring villages which were disappearing. We’ve got tons of money to invest but we need kids and youth.
That’s why I’m offering €1,000 for each newborn and another €2,000 to anyone willing to start a business and register for VAT.
I invite anyone interested to come see what a peaceful place this is, our untouched nature offers a detox and unplugged stay far from the madding crowd.
Getting paid to live in the Alps and basically have a fresh start? Sounds alright to me. Just need a partner, and a baby, and money for flights, and a suitcase, and clothes to put in the suitcase…
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.