- A little known village in Italy is offering tourists free accommodation for week-long stays this summer.
- San Giovanni in Molise is home to an array of charming empty houses due to depopulation, surrounded by ancient squares and breathtaking scenery.
- The aim is to bring life back to a village that doesn’t currently have any tourist accommodation, Primo Numero reported.
- All you have to do to apply for the scheme is fill in a form explaining why you want to discover Molise.
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A quaint Italian village is offering tourists free week-long stays this summer.
San Giovanni in Molise is home to an array of empty houses due to depopulation, and it’s hoping to attract visitors back following the coronavirus lockdown with the enticing offer of free accommodation.
The project, called “Regalati il Molise” (meaning “Give yourself Molise”), offers 40 one-week stays in three of San Giovanni’s charming houses between July and September 2020, Primo Numero reported.
The aim is to bring life back to a largely undiscovered village where time seems to have stopped, with traditional squares and ancient buildings surrounded by beautiful scenery.
By offering free stays, it’s hoped visitors will be keen to make the most of the region’s culture, food and drink, and surroundings.
Although little known amongst tourists (it lacks any designated tourist accommodation), Molise was named as one of the New York Times’ “52 places to go in 2020,” and it attracted attention in 2019 for offering people €700 ($US770) a month for three years to live there, Insider’s Tom Murray reported.
Two hours from Rome and Naples, San Giovanni is close to both the Adriatic coast and the Apennine mountains, but as young people have increasingly emigrated for work, its population has dwindled.
“Due to decades of emigration from Molise, there are houses in village centres that have been lying empty for years,” local activist and journalist Enzo Luogo, who came up with the scheme, told The Telegraph.
“These are beautiful but depopulated villages that don’t have any tourist accommodation to begin with, so we thought: how can we help revive our historic villages, while also encouraging visitors during these difficult times, when tourism is at an all-time low?”
The project was announced at a press conference on June 20, and authorities say it’s already been a huge success, attracting hundreds of applications from countries including France, Ireland, Poland, and Ukraine, as well as other parts of Italy, in a single day.
Anyone who doesn’t already live in Molise, or have any relatives or property there, is eligible to apply, and you simply have to fill in a form (available on morrutto.com) explaining why you want to discover Molise and then email it to [email protected]
If the scheme goes well in San Giovanni, the project will be extended to other villages in Molise.
“Molise is a special gift,” explained the president of the association Amici del Morrutto, Stefano Trotta, and the town’s mayor, Domenico Credico, to Luongo.
“Small, slow, and rich. Treat yourself to Molise, it offers the epitome of hospitality. Take the opportunity because this is being offered to you for nothing in return.”
Insider’s Associate Translation Editor Ruqayyah Moynihan contributed to this article.