Update: We knew it was too good to be true! Bormida's website posted a statement clarifying that paying people to move there was just a proposal to the Ligurian regional government, not a confirmed ruling. But there's still hope: It hopes to make the proposal a reality in 2018, according to Condé Nast Traveler.
According to Mayor Daniele Galliano's most recent Facebook post, the response has been overwhelming — and he never meant for this to reach an international audience.
He wrote: "This will be my last post, and I hope to be able to provide clarity. [This] was just an idea that I proposed to the region of Liguria, with which I am in contact, and extended only at a national level. The news was incorrectly reported and has reached a worldwide audience. Italy is a beautiful country, but like others, is in an economic crisis...[this was responded to] by more than 17,000 people, and unfortunately it's not really possible to find help for all. Thank you for your interest."
This story was originally published on May 10, 2017, at 1:40 p.m.
The tiny northern Italian village of Bormida has caught on to our widespread national malaise and decided to tempt us with an offer we can't refuse. Its mayor announced that he wants to give €2,000 ($2,100) to any brave citizen who decides to move to the rural hamlet of just 390 people, according to The Guardian.
What would Bormida's newest citizens get? Peace of mind, mountains, fresh air, really, really good Italian food, and goats. We'd trade skyscrapers and people rubbing up against us on the subway for that any day. And who are we to say no to goats?!
The manager of Oddone Giuseppe, which is one of the village’s four restaurants, told The Guardian: "There is nothing much to do here. But life is so simple and natural, we have forests, goats, the church, and plenty of good food. Life would definitely be free of stress." You can also hang out in churches that date back to the 1200s and meditate on ancient frescos.
What would Bormida get in return? Precious warm bodies. This offer — which doubles as a brilliant tourism campaign, if you ask us — is Mayor Daniele Galliano’s way of boosting the village's population count. In recent years, many young people have left to find work in the closest nearby big city of Savona and other urban centers.
An aging population is a big concern in villages across Italy, and Europe in general, but it seems like some of the local politicians' creative efforts have paid off. "Instead of seeing a heavy demographic deficit, the situation is stable thanks to the initiatives of the municipal administration to encourage those who, by necessity or pleasure, wish to live in a small mountain community like ours," Galliano told Il Vostro Giornale, according to Condé Nast Traveler.
"We’re still working out the plan, but anyone is welcome to come and live here," a local councilperson told The Guardian anonymously. "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." Plus, the rents would be way cheap: $54 for a smaller house, and $130 for a larger one.
In an earlier Facebook post, which has since been deleted, Galliano wrote: "Thank you all for your concern about our country. I've seen the great number of requests about coming to live at Bormida, and in just two days we have reached our goal. If you are interested in similar initiatives, you will find the necessary information on our website."