If you’ve ever dreamt of moving to Europe but thought you couldn’t afford it, now may finally be your time. That’s because the mostly mountainous and partially coastal region of Molise, Italy will actually pay you — handsomely — to move there.
The community, located southeast of Rome, is offering potential newcomers €700 (about $772) a month for three years to live in one of its villages. That equates to about $27,000 in total. To qualify, you must reside in a village with fewer than 2,000 people and promise to open a business in your new community.
“If we had offered funding, it would have been yet another charity gesture,” Donato Toma, the president of Molise, told the Guardian. “We wanted to do more; we wanted people to invest here. They can open any sort of activity: a bread shop, a stationery shop, a restaurant, anything. It’s a way to breathe life into our towns while also increasing the population.”
Beyond investing in new residents, Toma said the government will invest in the towns, too. He told the Guardian each town with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants would receive €10,000 ($11,000) to build new infrastructure.
“It’s not just a matter of increasing the population. People also need infrastructure and a reason to stay, otherwise, we’ll end up back where we started in a few years,” he explained.
Why invest so much now? According to the Guardian, it’s because the region’s population is in rapid decline. Molise lost about 9,000 citizens since 2014. And without a bit of help, it could be lost forever.
While the town is open to all applicants, CNN reported, Molise is particularly interested in young people and couples with children.
"The goal is to breathe new life and revamp the local economy," Antonio Tedeschi, a regional councilor and the mastermind behind this plan, told CNN. "I want my region to undergo a renaissance and avoid its authentic villages turning into ghost towns. We need to safeguard our roots."
Interested? Applications to move to the region open on Sept. 16.