Locana Italy: the rural Italian town paying people €9,000 to move there

An Italian village is offering €9,000 to young families to move there in a bid to breathe new life into its community.

Locana in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, just 45 km north-west of Turin, is offering a bonus of £7,870 to move to the picturesque village.

Initially the scheme was only open to those already living in Italy, but the municipality has since broadened its criteria to include people from other countries.

The only requirements are that new inhabitants have a child, a salary of at least €6,000 (£5,245), and be committed to staying in the area.

The money will be paid over three years.

Locana: need to know

The village of Locana dates back to 1185 and contains many picturesque buildings and monuments.

Houses are made of stone and wood with pointed tile roofs to suit its Alpine location in the Gran Paradiso mountain reserve.

There’s a hydroelectricity plant, which sells energy to the Italian state and industry.

However, Locana’s mayor Giovanni Bruno Mattiet told CNN Travel that he is hoping to attract mostly remote workers or people who are keen to start a business in the town – especially in one of the many closed shops, bars and restaurants.

“Our population has shrunk from 7,000 residents in the early 1900s to barely 1,500 as people left looking for a job at Turin’s big factories,” said Mattiet.

“Our school each year faces the risk of shutting down due to too few pupils. I can’t allow this to happen.”

Why are Italian villages encouraging home buyers?

Each year in Locana there are 40 deaths versus 10 births – a familiar story in Italy, where young people frequently leave the countryside for opportunities in bigger towns or cities, or even other countries altogether.

The village’s offer is the latest bid to save the soul of rural Italy, where one inhabitant in seven has migrated to urban outposts over the past 25 years, putting a third of the country’s villages at risk of depopulation and even extinction.

The Sicilian village of Sambuca recently announced it is selling dozens of abandoned homes for €1 to anyone willing to put a minimum of £13,200 into refurbishing the property within three years.

According to the town’s deputy mayor, Giuseppe Cacippo, 10 houses in the village have already been sold.

And the mayor of the Italian village of Borgomezzavalle (population 320) is not only selling homes for €1 but is also offering to pay people to have babies at a rate of €1,000 per newborn, in a bid to breathe new life into the location.

How to buy property in Italy

Italy places no restrictions on foreigners owning property but while the buying process is relatively straightforward it does differ to many other countries.

Make sure to employ a good, bilingual and independent lawyer to help you navigate they system. 

You’ll need an Italian tax code number and a carefully drafted will as well as a significant lump sum for buying costs. 

Detailed information on the process can be found here. 

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