Sorry, but this tiny, stunning Italian village won't pay you to move there

May 15, 2017, 8:21 a.m.
Italian village of Bormida
Photo: leoks/Shutterstock

Bormida has a population of only 394. It's a gorgeous village located in the mountains of Italy, in the northwest Liguria region. Despite its beauty and the promise of a minimalist and low-stress life, Bormida is in danger of becoming a ghost town.

Faced with a diminishing population, Mayor Daniele Galliano came up with a proposal that would bring new residents to the area. According to the Guardian:

If all goes ahead, from next year anyone who transfers their residence to Bormida and either rents or buys a property there will be gifted €2,000.

And under the low rent scheme, which should be in place within the next two months, a small property will cost just €50 a month while a more spacious one will be no more than €120.

“We’re still working out the plan, but anyone is welcome to come and live here,” said a local councillor, who asked not to be named. “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.”

The announcement was met with quite a bit of excitement with roughly 17,000 people asking for more information about taking up a simpler life in the countryside. But there's only one problem: The mayor has since retracted the offer, posting this on Facebook:

“It was just an idea I proposed to the region of Liguria, which I am in contact with. The news was incorrectly reported and has reached a worldwide audience. Italy is a beautiful country, but like others, is in an economic crisis. Unfortunately it's not really possible to find help for all. Thank you for your interest."

It's not clear if the mayor's recent response was indication that the offer no longer stands or if the tiny community is simply can't deal with this level of interest.

Regardless, the strategy — perhaps with more planning — is one that could be copied by a few other villages. A 2016 report showed that a third of Italy's villages are experiencing the same threat of depopulation as Bormida.

"In the past 25 years, one inhabitant in seven has left Italy’s small villages, either heading for larger towns and cities or leaving the country altogether ... Nearly 2,500 villages are at risk of turning into ghost communities, with a startling two million homes abandoned or left empty by their owners, according to the report, which was compiled with the help of the National Association of Italian Councils," reported The Telegraph.

If you're looking for a beautiful place to call home, and one that's affordable, you may want to check the listings in some of these little-known villages in the Italian countryside.

This story has been updated with additional, more recent information.

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