We’ve all read the headlines – “Beautiful town in Italy is paying people to move there” and “Houses in this Italian village are selling for $1.” But what is behind these seemingly too-good-to-be-true offers? Are they real, and if so, why do these amazing deals pop up so frequently? What’s the catch?
Earlier this week, officials from the town of Presicce, located in Puglia, announced they will pay outsiders up to $30,000 to move there. Should you start packing your bags?
About The Area:
This beautiful town is located at the southern tip of the heel of Italy’s boot, and along with the neighboring town of Acquarica, it is home to around 9,000 residents. Historically known for its highly productive and renowned olive oil industry, Presicce has been referred to as the “city of green gold.”
Hidden under the town center is an elaborate system of olive mills that tourists can still visit today. The town is surrounded by olive groves and cycle and hiking trails and is about a 15-minute drive to the coast.
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The Fine Print:
In order to qualify for the payment, you’ll have to move to Presicce, purchase an abandoned home in the town’s historical center, and renovate it, if needed. While Americans are permitted to buy property in Italy, they will need to sort out the appropriate visas in order to stay longer than 90 days or look into becoming an Italian Citizen.
The $30,000 sum will be split in two, with one part given to help pay for the home and the other intended for renovations and refurbishment. Eligible houses are determined by local authorities and must have been built prior to 1991
Why Are They Doing This?
In short, Presicce’s population is declining, and officials are hoping this incentive will breathe new life into the town and give a boost to the local economy. Only half of the town’s 9,000 residents live in the historical section, and this incentive will hopefully revitalize the dwindling center.
Speaking to CNN, local councilor Alfredo Palese said, “There are many empty homes in the historical center built before 1991 which we would like to see alive again with new residents. It is a pity witnessing how our old districts full of history, wonderful architecture and art are slowly emptying.”
Other Places In Italy With Relocation Incentives:
Sardinia – $15,000
The beautiful Italian island of Sardinia is trying to lure new permanent residents to its smaller towns in an attempt to reverse a population slide. What’s the catch?
- Move to a Sardinian town with a population of fewer than 3,000 people
- Put the $15,000 towards renovating a home
- Live there full-time
- Register Sardinia as your permanent residence within 18 months
Candela – Up To $2,000
This central Italian town is offering different amounts based on the size of your family- the more people, the more money you receive. What’s the catch?
- Move to Candela
- Rent a house
- Have a job that pays over $7,500/year
Molise – $25,000
The region of Molise, located east of Rome, has 106 villages in need of more people. Officials are hoping a cash incentive can help repopulate these small towns. What’s the catch?
- $700/month for up to three years
- Need to commit to starting a small business to boost the local economy
- Must be between 18-40 years old
Calabria – Up To $29,000
Calabrian officials hope that their “active residency income” project will boost the economy of Southern Italy and help out small communities that are under threat of even more devastating population loss. What’s the catch?
- Payment made over three years
- Must relocate to a village with less than 2,000 residents
- Must commit to starting a new small business or taking over an existing business
- The maximum age is 40
- Must relocate within 90 days of application
In 2008, a town in southern Sicily made headlines when the mayor announced they’d be selling off homes for as little as $1. Since then, 34 other Italian towns have followed suit with similar programs. Yes, there are homes for sale for next to nothing, but the costs can quickly add up, as most homes on offer are in need of significant restoration and can come with additional expenses like closing costs, translation services, and taxes.
Is It Worth It?
Italy often makes headlines for incentivizing tourists and potential new residents to join them in an attempt to revitalize their numerous small towns and villages. These creative incentives are certainly worth a shot for Italian municipalities. If successful, many towns could be saved from dying out, but it is likely too soon to know how well these programs are working.
From a new resident’s perspective, there will be many factors to consider when taking up one of these offers. While the increase in remote work makes rural living more accessible to many, there will also be unique challenges for those who choose to move to one of these small towns.
Many do not have great internet connectivity, and some towns have little opportunity to make a living locally. Language barriers, limited social life, and isolation are all factors to consider before jumping on one of these offers.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com