A VILLAGE in Italy is offering to pay for your holiday this summer to encourage people to visit.
Molise, located two hours from Rome, is letting tourists stay for seven nights for free at some of the empty houses and villas across the region.
The deal has been launched by the town hall in partnership with the cultural association Amici Del Morrutto, called Regalati il Molise (Give yourself Molise).
The region is offering 40 free stays across the summer in the village of San Giovanni in Galdo, between July 4 and October 3.
Properties include a two-bed villa, three-bed villa and four-bed villa.
To apply, all you have to do is fill in a form, which is in Italian, and not be a resident of Molise.
Up to five people can be part of one application, with the form also asking for your reasons for wanting to stay as well as proof of identity per applicant.
You’ll have to be quick though – more than 600 people have already applied.
Molise has managed to keep coronavirus cases low compared to the rest of the country, with no new cases for nearly a week.
Now, the region hopes to encourage tourists to visit a location not usually on their radar.
Local activist Enzo Luongo, behind the project, told The Telegraph that some houses in the village had been “empty for years” after locals left the area for other more affluent areas.
The region currently has just 305,000 residents.
He added: “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?”
Molise was announced as one of the 52 destinations to visit in 2020 by the New York Times.
Last year, the region offered anyone €700 (£625) per month for three years to move there, in a bid to increase the dwindling population.
This would work out to £22,500 over the three years.
Other parts of Italy have also announced free holidays amid the pandemic – Sicily offered to pay for half of your plane ticket, as well as a night at a hotel and your attraction entry fees.
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