You Could Get Paid $15,000 to Move to Sardinia—Here’s How

Considering that Italy has thousands of years of history, is known for its food and wine, and is known for its fascinating art and architecture, it’s no wonder many people dream of moving to the Mediterranean country. In recent years, the government has eased reality, with visas aimed at wooing foreign pensioners and by selling houses in certain communities for as little as one euro. Now an Italian island is even offering to pay people to move there.

Sardinia, an Italian island off the west coast of Italy, wants to offer people 15,000 euros ($14,976 based on current exchange rates, which are currently very favorable for the dollar) to move to its shores. It’s the second-largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily) and is famous for its pristine waters, beautiful coastlines, and distinctly local dishes (unlike the mainland, expect a culinary canon shaped by what can be harvested, like prickly pears, or caught locally, like lobster). To get there, travelers can fly into one of Sardinia’s three airports (Cagliari, the capital, has the most routes) or take the ferry.

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However, there are some conditions to the scheme. Namely, the money must be used to buy or renovate a house in a town with fewer than 3,000 inhabitants such as Galtellì (near Monte Tuttavista, popular for hiking) and Calasetta (known for its white sandy beaches). Applicants must also plan to live there full-time – funds are not earmarked for vacation rentals.

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In recent decades, rural communities in Sardinia have suffered from depopulation. The program aims to repopulate the country — and give these smaller communities an economic boost.

“We have created the conditions for young people to decide to stay and to (develop) the economic fabric of the most fragile areas,” said Sardinian President Christian Solinas in a press release. “There can be no growth without a real improvement in the territories, in the interior and in the most disadvantaged areas, which will have to go through new strategies for their repopulation.”

The government has now allocated 105 million euros for the project. Given that not every applicant will apply the full amount (the grant cannot exceed 50 percent of the purchase and renovation price), more than 7,000 individuals or families could end up taking part. The maximum rate of €15,000 will be given to applicants as a one-time, non-refundable grant that homebuyers can apply to at the head office of their new municipality. However, they would first have to register their residency in Sardinia (which they must do within 18 months of arrival to be eligible for the assistance).

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Note that the hurdles of dealing with Italy’s bureaucratic system are incredibly challenging, so applying for the fund may be easier said than done (especially if you don’t speak Italian). Still, for a chance at la dolce vita, it may be worth trying.

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