The region of Molise, a wild, beautiful but overlooked area that lies east of Rome, has announced it will pay people more than $27,000 to settle in one of 106 underpopulated villages in an effort to prevent their communities from dying.
Anyone who takes up the offer will receive 700 euros a month (about $770) for up to three years to help them settle in an area known for its green pastures, olive groves and snowy mountaintops.
There's a catch — they'll also have to commit to starting a small business, in order to contribute to the local economy.
"I want my region to undergo a renaissance and avoid its authentic villages turning into ghost towns," Antonio Tedeschi, a regional councilor who came up with the idea, tells CNN. "We need to safeguard our roots."
Young people and couples with children are particularly encouraged to apply to the scheme, which is to be officially launched on September 16.
Tedeschi, who was born in the small Molise village of Filignano — home to barely 700 residents — says he knows what it means to see old traditions and historical places fall into oblivion and wants to stop the decline in its tracks.