We’ve seen Italian towns get creative with how they attract new residents, whether it’s using street art to bring in tourists or giving away free castles. But if that doesn’t catch your eye, how about a little cash? The southern Italian town of Candela is offering up just that—€2,000 (about $2,300) for anyone that takes up residence.
With this new initiative, mayor Nicola Gatta hopes to bring Candela back to its glory years during the 1990s, when the town boasted a population of 8,000. With only 2,700 residents left, Gatta decided to get creative in attracting newcomers to town. The medieval town is located in Puglia, just an hour’s drive from pristine beaches, and surrounded by lush green hills and forest. Since pitching the monetary incentive, which began in 2016, 38 residents have moved into town, bumping up the population and instilling hope that the area can reserve its fortunes.
“This is how it works: €800 for singles, €1,200 for couples, €1,500 to €1,800 for three-member families, and over €2,000 ($2,300) for families of four to five people,” shares Stefano Bascianelli, the assistant mayor. They are also evaluating possible tax credits for waste disposal, bills, and elementary schools.
Of course, Candela is looking for people to make the town their permanent home, so if you wish to benefit from the cash incentive, you’ll need to meet a few requirements. To qualify, you must be registered as a resident for a full year, rent or purchase a home, and work a job that pays at least €7,500 a year. And, in a move to safeguard against stealing residents from other small towns, you must relocate from a town of at least 2,000 inhabitants.
With plenty of empty houses to choose from, there’s no shortage of real estate in Candela and its location—it’s just under two hours from Naples—gives the best of city and sea. The community is also quite active, promoting its newly restored center with guided tours of palaces and hosting a number of festivals throughout the year. Each year a flower festival sees the streets covered with vibrant flower petal puzzles and during the holiday season the colorful House of Santa Claus pays tribute to Saint Nicholas, who inspired the legend.
And, of course, there is the food. From a summer festival celebrating orecchiette—Puglia’s famous ear-shaped pasta—to town-hosted wine and food tastings, what more could you ask for?