Tourists Stay Free for a Week In This Traditional Italian Town — Here’s How


You’ve heard of those €1 homes for sale in Italy, and now, there’s a new initiative in place to bring travellers to a charming and traditional Italian town, only with zero costs at all.

San Giovanni in Galdo, a picturesque village in the region of Molise in southern Italy, is hoping to entice visitors to visit after the COVID-19 lockdown by offering free week-long stays in its empty homes.

Similar to so many other Italian towns, the village is witnessing a population decline as younger people move to larger cities like Rome and Milan.

Between July and October, visitors to the town will be put up in quaint traditional abodes for a full seven nights, free of charge.

The initiative called “Regalati il Molise” (which translates to “Give Yourself Molise”), aims to bring a new focus to the region, entice tourists to spend their dollars on the thriving food and wine scene, and rebrand the town as a hidden tourism gem.

The project was conceptualised by local activist Enzo Luongo. He told The Telegraph: “Due to decades of emigration from Molise, there are houses in village centers that have been lying empty for years.”

“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?”

San Giovanni is just a two-hour drive away from Rome and Naples, making it a great base for day trips. It’s but 40 minutes from the Adriatic coast and the Apennine mountains, allowing for coastal ventures plus ample hiking and nature scenery.

Applying for the scheme is simple. Provided that you and any of your relatives do not live in Molise or own property in the region, you can fill a form online expressing your interest and outlining why you’d like to take part.

San Giovanni is not the first Italian town trying to coax visitors after a tough year for tourism.

Recently, the proudly “COVID-free” town of Cinquefrondi in the Italian region Calabria announced a plan to sell its abandoned homes for €1, while Sicily is offering to cover half the cost of tourist flights and a third of accommodation expenses. Now, it’s just a matter of waiting until our own travel borders are opened…

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