Dwindling Italian towns will pay people $40,000 (27,000 Euro) to move there in a bid to reverse declining populations and struggling economies.
Quaint rural villages in beautiful mountainous areas are dying, with few or zero births and thousands leaving to bigger cities or abroad.
Desperate to spark a rural renaissance, the province of Molise has announced the most lucrative offer to date to attract new residents.
People will be paid $1128 (700 Euro) a month to live in an underpopulated town for at least three years in order to prevent the countryside falling into oblivion.
But the catch – and there is always a catch – is that the new locals will have to open a business.
Molise is located on Italy’s east on the Adriatic Sea, about one-third of the way up the coast from the country’s heel.
The province is rugged and mountainous, with stunning landscapes, historic castles, Romanesque churches and sandy beaches.
However 105 of its 136 towns are considered underpopulated, with less than 2,000 residents calling the historic villages home.
In 2018, no births were registered in nine of Molise’s towns and 2800 people died or moved away.
Despite Italy’s popularity with international tourists, it is struggling to retain its own citizens who are moving abroad in droves in search of work.
Italy has the second-oldest population in the world after Japan due to declining births and young people escaping to Europe and new opportunities.
The UN warns that in the five years, Italy will be the only major European country where the population will decline.
It has already fallen to 55 million citizens for the first time in 90 years.
In order to attract more residents, towns from the alpine north to the southern seas have promised deals to prospective residents such as houses sold for $1.
However the president of Molise, Donato Toma, said his region was willing to make an even bigger offer.
To qualify for the $1128 a month, people would have to settle in a town with less than 2,000 residents and establish a business of their choosing.
“We wanted to do more; we wanted people to invest here,” Mr Toma said in The Guardian.
“They can open any sort of activity: a bread shop, a stationery shop, a restaurant, anything. It’s a way to breathe life into our towns while also increasing the population.”
Mr Toma hopes the promise of a good lifestyle and steady income will encourage a renaissance and that the new residents will decide to remain in Molise.
Young people and couples are particularly encouraged to apply when it officially launches on September 16.