One ancient Italian town is planning to offer $30,000 to new residents who purchase a home there.
The town of Presicce-Acquaria is creating the program in a bid to preserve the life of the ancient town in Italy’s southern region of Lecce.
One city councilor is describing the plan as a means to attract interested conservators of the town’s historic buildings.
“There are many empty homes in the historical center built before 1991 which we would like to see alive again with new residents,” councilor Alfredo Palese said of the local government’s hope, according to the New York Post.
“It is a pity witnessing how our old districts full of history, wonderful architecture and art are slowly emptying,” Palese said of the region’s troubles, a problem spurring in great part the $30,000 offer.
The offer — still being finalized by the local government — would make new residents eligible for the payment if they purchase and live in an uninhabited property in the town’s historic district.
“We will be offering up to 30,000 euros to people willing to move here and buy one of these abandoned dwellings,” Parese said of the offer.
“The total funding will be split in two: it will go partly into buying an old home and partly into restyling it, if needed.”
It’s not clear if local authorities will place additional requirements on the offer.
The plan was made possible through a 2019 merger of Presicce and Acquaria, then two separate towns.
Additional public funding available to the municipality from Italy’s central government will pay for the residency bonus, according to Parese.
In theory, any citizen of a European Union member state could make good on the offer, with freedom of movement between the union’s members a privilege of the organization.
Properties in the town — miles away from the beaches and blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea — can be acquired for as little as roughly $25,800, according to CNN.
Located on the southern “heel” of Italy’s “boot,” Presicce is rich in timeless Italian history.
The modern-day boundaries of the town include a fortress built by the medieval Normans, as well as a network of underground tunnels built for locals to escape piratical Islamic attacks on the area.
Italy has a troublesome birth rate of 1.2 children per woman, raising serious questions about the future of a country closely associated with the origins of western civilization.
The problem of depopulation is one that disproportionately affects both rural and southern Italy.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.