The Italian island of Sardinia has become the latest spot in Italy to offer people money to move there.
he island, steeped in culture, is home to turquoise seas and white sand beaches, but many of its young people are moving away to find work.
To try and combat its dwindling rural population, Sardinia’s government is now offering foreigners €15,000 to relocate to its shores.
There are, however, some stipulations to the scheme. The money must go towards renovating a home in a town with fewer than 3,000 inhabitants.
This includes towns such as Galtellì (near Mount Tuttavista, which is popular for hiking) and Calasetta (famous for its white-sand beaches).
Applicants must also live there full-time, so funds can’t just be used for a holiday home.
Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean (Sicily is the largest) and is famous for its beautiful beaches and varied cuisine.
Located to the west of Italy, visitors can access the island by plane and ferry from all over Europe (and the Italian mainland).
In recent years, Sardinia’s rural communities have suffered from dwindling populations. The programme is designed to up the population in countryside communities and give smaller towns and villages an economic boost.
“We have created the conditions for young people to decide to stay and (develop) the economic fabric of the most fragile territories,” Sardinian President Christian Solinas said in a press release.
The application to access the grant must be sent to participating municipalities, according to a page offering further information and links to FAQs on the government website, which also lists a contact email and phone number.
“There can be no growth without a real enhancement of the territories, of the interior and most disadvantaged areas, which must pass through new policies for their repopulation.”
A total of €105m has now been set aside for the project.
Given that not every applicant will use the full amount of money (the grant cannot exceed 50 per cent of the purchase and renovation price), it’s estimated that over 7,000 individuals or families should be able to participate.
A maximum amount of €15,000 will be provided to applicants as a one-time, non repayable grant. Home buyers will be able to apply for this at the main office of their new municipality.
However, they would first need to register their residence in Sardinia and must do this within 18 months of arrival to be eligible for the assistance.
This is not the first time that the Italian government has offered monetary incentives to encourage people to relocate.
Earlier this year, a number of villages in the southern region of Calabria offered to pay up to €28,000 for young people to move in.