It's almost like a fever dream to see Italian villages selling houses for a mere $1, but the most recent deal makes it seem like a total scam.
The Molise region in the east of Rome announced that it will pay people over $27,000 just to settle in one of the 106 underpopulated villages as it prevents their communities from dying.
According to CNN Travel, those who will take up the offer will be given 700 euros a month (about $770) for up to three years to help in settling in the wild, beautiful but overlooked area known for its green pastures, olive groves, and snowy mountaintops.
Young people and couples with children are the main targets for the offering, applications of which will officially begin on September 16, the news agency adds.
|Photo Credit: Angelo Tullio (via CNN Travel)|
It's a great offer, but there's a catch: people who take on it should commit to putting up a small business as a means to contribute to the local economy.
"I want my region to undergo a renaissance and avoid its authentic villages turning into ghost towns," said Antonio Tedeschi, a regional councilor who came up with the idea. "We need to safeguard our roots."
Tedeschi was born in Filignano, one of the small villages in Molise, where the population is barely 700. He said that he knows what it means to see traditions and historical places be forgotten and seeks to prevent that from happening.
"The goal is to breathe new life and revamp the local economy," the regional councilor said.
|Photo Credit: Antonio Mignogna Ferrazzano (via CNN Travel)|
"Newcomers are free to kick-start anything they please in order to get our financial support: a small inn, restaurant, bar, B&B, a tiny rural farm, artisan boutique, library or shop selling local gourmet excellences."
In recent years, Molise has seen thousands of residents leave its pastures—with official statistics showing that the number of people residing in the region has fallen by nearly 9,000 since 2014, leaving the region with a population of just 305,000.
Molise is not the only region at risk as many communities across Italy are at risk of being lost since younger people migrate often choose to migrate to bigger towns and cities and even abroad in search of work. Their migration is due to Italy's vulnerable economy, which CNN says struggles to support its more remote, rural areas.