As this blog has reported before (indeed earlier this week even!), Italy is one of the countries which is at the forefront of demographic decline: low fertility (1.35 children per woman), an ageing population (the average age of the population is now 45) and population decline (there were 167,000 more deaths than births in 2015) are all mixed into a heady cocktail that the Italian state is having to imbibe. There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip however, and some in Italy are trying to reverse this somber demographic trend.

For example, and for those of you who missed out on moving to small town New Zealand last year, there is this opportunity to move to the village of Bormida, in the north-west of the country. The mayor of the village, Daniele Galliano, is not going to take depopulation of his mountain village lying down and he has offered a lump sum of 2000 euro to anyone who moves to the village starting 2018. Furthermore, there is also a low rent plan proposed under which a small property will cost only 50 euro to rent per month and a larger property would cost no more than 120 euro per month. Thus, putting the lump sum towards the rent could see you living free of charge in Bormida for nearly three and a half years!

Now, the finer details still need to be worked out and approved by the council, so nothing is definite until that happens (although the mayor has posted it to facebook, so that’s pretty much official, right?). But according to one councilor it sounds pretty positive:

“We’re still working out the plan, but anyone is welcome to come and live here…We’re a small community but very welcoming. We’re high up in a mountain area but also not far from the sea – it’s a healthy lifestyle, the air is very clean.”

Despite this, you have to know what you’re getting into: the current population of the village is only 394 people and has been described as a “ghost town”.   Furthermore, the job prospects are not great – many young people have left to find work in the big cities. In the Guardian, the owner of one of the village’s four restaurants said that:

“There is nothing much to do here. But life is so simple and natural, we have forests, goats [!], the church, and plenty of good food. Life would definitely be free of stress.”

So if you can think of something to do there (it looks as if restauranteur might be well provided for already…perhaps goat herding?) then this does sound like an ideal place to live. Perhaps if you are retired or are an aspiring writer this could be for you? But if you do miss out on this opportunity, do not worry, I’m sure there will be another one soon. In 2016 an Italian environmental association, Legambiente, reported that 2,500 villages across Italy were at danger of being abandoned due to depopulation. The culture ministry named 2017 the “year of the village” to boost tourism to small places that are risk of being deserted. So take the next step, don’t just be a tourist, but move there and enjoy the bucolic Italian life and help save a village…

Marcus Roberts

Marcus Roberts was two years out of law school when he decided that practising law was no longer for him. He therefore went back to university and did his LLM while tutoring. He now teaches contract and...