The mayor of Italian town Candela has come up with a practical solution to its dwindling population number — paying people to become residents.
Nicola Gatta wants the small medieval town in Puglia to shine like it did in the 1990s, when more than 8,000 people lived here. Today, there are just 2,700 residents.
So, to recover the town’s lost grandeur, mayor Nicola Gatta is offering up to 2,000 euros ($2,350) to encourage people to relocate.
The churches that stand at each street corner fill up only to celebrate the very few births that occur here, or the many funerals for elderly residents.
There are dozens of dazzling white houses with panoramic terraces and ornate balconies standing empty, waiting to welcome new residents.
To lure newcomers — including foreigners — Gatta’s council has opened up its coffers in hope of boosting the town’s appeal.
“This is how it works: 800 euros for singles, 1,200 euros for couples, 1,500 to 1,800 euros for three-member families, and over 2,000 euros for families of four to five people”, explains Stefano Bascianelli, the mayor’s right-hand man.
Tax credits on city waste disposal, bills and nurseries could also be offered.
There are three main requirements to receiving the cash: New residents must take up residency in Candela, rent a house and have a job with a salary of at least 7,500 euros per year.
“We don’t want people flocking here thinking they get to live off the town hall’s revenues, all new residents must work and have an income”, says Bascianelli.
Six families from northern Italy have already settled in and another five have applied to move.
“Life quality rocks here. We haven’t had one crime in 20 years”, boasts Bascianelli.
The town has been given an expensive makeover, and is looking shiny and new. Restyled old palazzos, streets and piazzas are now open for guided tours.
Public money is used to fund folkloric costume parties, spectacular bonfires and festivals in order to reclaim ancient traditions and myths.
Question: Do you think is a good idea to save the city? Why or why not?