As the COVID-19 malaise slowly subsides around the world, governments are looking for fast and innovative ways to boost their travel industries.
Portugal is building a remote worker village on the stunning island of Madeira, and now two Italian cities are paying 50% of rental costs for remote workers looking to trade in their current excavations for a slice of medieval Italian rusticity.
Both Rieti in the Lazio region and Santa Fiora in Tuscany have trouble keeping young people in the city, and populations in both communes are stagnant.
Perhaps for young Italians hairstyles, the appeal of medieval walls, Renaissance squares and Baroque palaces amid vineyards, rivers, local markets, and chestnut groves does not find purchase, but for most Americans it is the vision for excellence of European life.
And all of that can be yours if you prove to the mayor of Santa Fiora, Federico Balocchi, that you are a full-time remote worker and that you will be signing up for a stay of more than two months.
It is a serious government initiative, not a paid holiday, and Balocchi emphasized CNN Travel that the purpose is not only to bring in foreign money, but to find people who seek to revitalize Santa Fiora.
Newly wired with high-speed fiber-optic Internet, Santa Fiora has recently been given the option of housing telecommuters, or “smart workers,” as Italians call them.
Located in the heart of the Tuscan province of Montepulciano, it is within the Monte Amiata nature reserve, near Val D’Orcia, or Dorcia Valley. Not far from Sienna, the houses are affordable, costing between € 300 and € 500 per month, so a licensed remote worker would receive a check for 50% of the total, potentially transporting you from your lousy studio apartment to this inspired town. Dreams. for about € 200 or $ 240 per month.
For investors or entrepreneurs, especially those with Italian heritage or connections, Balocchi also offers a € 30,000 grant for those looking to open a B&B or hostel in the city, and is also willing to provide childcare assistance.
“The goal is to incentivize people to move and work virtually from here. We want Santa Fiora to become your flexible office, ”said Balocchi. “Every time a young man goes to look for work in another place, he takes a part of our town.”
The commune has created a website for people looking to take advantage of the offer and has included links to local services such as plumbing, other public services and childcare. The city is perfect for nature lovers, and horse riding, hiking, and mountain biking are popular pastimes.
A little closer to Rome
Rieti, with a population of 50,000, is also witnessing a stagnation in youth opportunities and wants to invite remote workers to bring an outside perspective to the Roman-era city.
An hour and a half from the Eternal City, Rieti was founded by Italian tribes before Rome controlled the entire peninsula, and remains from Roman times can be found under streets, houses, and in the countryside.
“Rents in the city range between € 250 and € 500,” explains Rieti’s Deputy Mayor, Daniele Sinbaldi, to CNN. “For € 600 you can have a complete little villa in the quiet countryside. In addition, the voucher can be used throughout the entire territory of Rieti, including the rural hamlets of Sant’Elia, Cerchiara and the Terminillo ski resort, but we would love for people to move to live in the historic center ”.
For employees, they would need a letter from their boss telling them that they are, in fact, a remote worker with enough hours and money to pay a minimum 6-month rent (Italian rental and lease conditions are much more stringent than in the USA) employed individuals only need a detailed job description and some proof of income to secure rental assistance.
Situated on one of the most important roads of Roman times and surrounded by streams, ponds, canals and lakes, Rieti is known as the “Venice of fresh water” and by the less charming “Umbilicus Italiae” or the navel of Italy, since who claim that its historic center is the geographic center of the country.
There is no convenient website like the one Santa Fiora has, and people moving in perspective would have to use subito.it, casa.it or immobilare.it, all Italian rental sites, to find accommodation.
As this author, who is an American telecommuter living in Italy, often says, many Americans will not think of spending 30 years dreaming of living in Europe, even though modern telecommunications have made it beyond belief.
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