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Presicce: The Italian Town That Will Pay You €30,000 to Live There 

The depopulating town is providing a hefty financial incentive to move to its old quarter. 🇮🇹

Presicce's cinema. Credit: Shutterstock/ Ana del Castillo.
Presicce's cinema. Credit: Shutterstock/ Ana del Castillo.

A quaint Italian town in the province of Lecce, Puglia, is offering €30,000 (32,000 USD) for simply buying a home in its historic center. 

Merged into a single municipality in 2019, Presicce-Acquarica wants to supercharge its dwindling population by paying people to reclaim its abandoned houses. It leaps on the precedent Santo Stefano di Sessanio set in 2020 and Sardinia in 2022.  

Italy currently faces an unprecedented population decline. Rampant emigration, especially by the country’s youths, has not been offset by inflow. The Instituto Nazionale di Statistica (Istat)’s 2023 Annual Report warns of a ‘major challenge to the sustainability of the country’s system.’ It forecasts a population decrease of 9.1% for inland regions between 2021 and 2031. 

‘Prompt and radical’ action, Istat argues, must be taken to inveterate the nation and ‘dissipate the energies and skills of the new generations.’ 

Pressice-Acquarica’s housing initiative is one such attempt to coax under-30s into living in rural Italy. 

Presicce’s winding streets. Credit: Shutterstock/ Ana del Castillo.

Labeled Puglia’s city of green gold, the municipality is part of Italy’s I Borghi più belli (‘Most beautiful villages’) association. Its old quarter intermeshes bustling piazzas, Baroque churches, olive groves, Renaissance farms and even a Saracen fortress – all resting atop underground oil mills. 

The region’s average temperature is a balmy 9.9-13.2°C in its coldest month, January, and 24.7-30.2°C in its warmest month, August. On hot summer days, residents only drive 15 minutes to reach the crisp waters of the Pescoluse coastline.

As for amenities, Presicce has 3 kindergartens and a full set of primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools. The campuses are all within a 15-minute walk (4-minute drive) of each other, making for an easy school run. The town also boasts 2 pharmacies, 12 supermarkets, 16 eateries, and a bus/train station. Brindisi Airport is a handy 3-hour car journey away.  

Presicce’s active community hosts an olive oil festival every August, celebrating the yearly harvest through Salentine music, dance and food. Traditional Puglian dishes include crunchy taralli, handmade orecchiette con le cime di rapa, and fresh puccia. 

Presicce at Christmas. Credit: Shutterstock/ Ragemax.

Moreover, the central Piazzetta Villani’s Christmas lights claimed fame in a festive 2017 Ferrero Rocher advert. 

So, what are the terms and conditions of the home-buying deal? Properties will be selected for the project by the local council, on the criteria that they were built before 1991 and located in the historic center of Presicce. To be eligible, buyers must be willing to renovate and permanently reside in their chosen property. Further details will be released on the town hall’s website

Especially when considering renovation costs, buying a property in the town still carries a sizeable price tag. An average 4-bed dwelling in Presicce, listed on Idealista, costs upwards of €49,000. Yet, the offer certainly frees the financial burden of securing la dolce vita

With daily Google searches for ‘Presicce’ and ‘Presicce Italy pay to move’ (sic.) on the increase, Presicce-Acquarica’s attempt to repopulate holds promise. After all, who would pass on a future frolicking in the Salentine olive groves? 

Written By

Penultimate-year undergraduate at the University of St Andrews, studying MA English and Modern History

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