Ever dreamt of packing it all in and moving to Italy to eat pasta, drink wine and be romanced by tall, dark and handsome strangers? And in this dream of yours are you getting paid for this privilege?
Because that’s exactly what is happening right now in the picturesque hamlet of Candela, a small Italian town on the east coast of the Puglia region. Candela Mayor Nicola Gatta is offering a paid incentive to anyone who moves to their idyllic township.
Singles receive $1,200, couples $1,800, and families can receive up to $3,000 in cash if they relocate to the village. So far, six families from northern Italy have moved, and a further five have submitted their applications.
Gatta hopes that this bold move will help boost the population of his dwindling Medieval town. Once a bustling metropolis known as “Little Naples,” Candela has slowly decreased in size over the years. In the ’90s the population hovered around the 8,000 residents mark.
Today, there are just 2,700 people who call Candela home. Many of the historic houses — furnished with huge terraces overlooking the rolling hills — stand empty. Still, Gatta has invested heavily in reinvigorating the town for its new arrivals. Some of the city’s medieval palazzos and alleys — one which claims to be the narrowest in all of Italy — have been restored, ready for tourists. Gatta’s right-hand-man, a civil servant called Stefano Bascianelli boasts that there hasn’t been a single crime committed in Candela for 20 years.
“It’s a quiet and simple lifestyle. No crowds, easy to move around, no traffic nor smog,” photographer and resident Francesco Delvecchio told CNN. He recently moved to Candela from elsewhere in the region. “We’re right at the crossroads of three gorgeous Italian regions: Campania, Basilicata and Molise, with all the wonders each offers at hand.”
And in case you need any more reason to pack your bags and move, Puglia’s famous glittering coastline is only an hour away. In Candela proper, municipal money is used to fund festivals, historic costume parties, horseback tours, medieval museums and more.
When it comes to food, Candela is home to Italian sausages, bumper asparagus crops, plump balls of burrata cheese and bruschetta. If you’re planning to move, make sure you do so before August next year. That’s when the Candela Sagra dell’Orecchietta – or festival of orecchiette pasta – is held. It’s all you can eat, served dripping in game ragu. Buon appetito!
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