If there is one thing the pandemic has taught humans, it is that actual lived experiences are more precious than material gains. Travelling has been sporadic for more than a year now, and it has only pushed for people to plan more sustainable trips in the future, when it is safe to go out exploring again.

But imagine if right now, amid all this drudgery, you are presented with an opportunity to move to a pretty Italian village — near the sea, or the mountain, or one having both — and are even paid to do so. According to a CNN report, the region of Calabria is planning to offer up to €28,000 (INR 24,73,744) for a maximum period of three years to people willing to relocate to “sleepy villages” with only 2,000 inhabitants, in the hope to reverse years of population decline.

But in order to qualify, a prospective resident has to “commit to kickstarting a small business” — either from scratch, or by “taking up pre-existing offers of specific professionals wanted by the towns”.

Other mandates include:

1. Applicants must not be older than 40, and take up residency.
2. They must be willing to relocate to Calabria within 90 days of their successful application.

The offer is essentially aimed at luring millennials who are eager to work and have a change of scene. Gianluca Gallo, a regional councilor, was quoted as telling CNN that the monthly income could be in the range of €1,000-€800 (INR 88,306-70,594) for two to three years.

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But, this is not the first time that Italy has floated such an idea. Previously, it was reported that a small town in the country had been planning to auction off abandoned houses for as little as €1 or Rs 87.11! Some towns in Italy have been struggling to, as mentioned earlier, reverse a trend of depopulation, and are looking to sell old, abandoned houses at bargain prices. The town of Salemi in Sicily is one of them. Read more about it here.

Additionally, it was reported last year that another village in Italy had been giving away homes for free. According to a report in The Independent, Castropignano, a hill-top community located in the southern Italian region of Molise, is home to just 923 inhabitants and a 14th-century castle. It notified in a public statement that it was hoping to “fight depopulation in the region by offering up its abandoned properties”.

In fact, the owners of these houses even expressed their consent to sell them “free of charge (or for a nominal fee)”. Even the “nominal fee” has been set at just €1 (INR 88), like many of the other villages and towns in the country.

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