San Giovanni in Galdo, a village in southern Italy, is offering up some of its empty houses for free to travelers who visit the region between July and October. Like many small and rural Italian villages, San Giovanni is suffering from population decline as residents leave for big cities. As a result it has plenty of vacant homes that can be filled with out-of-towners keen to get away from crowded cities for a week-long break. Located in the region of Molise, the village is just 40 minutes from both the Adriatic coast and the Apennine mountains and is rich in sights of natural beauty.
Under the project called Regalati il Molise (give yourself Molise), visitors can enjoy a free-seven night break in some of the region's vacant homes. The aim is to coax life back into the small village and put Molise on the map as an enticing tourist destination. With accommodation costs covered, visitors have more money left over to discover the beauty of Molise, its history and its food and wine. The project, created by local activist Enzo Luongo, will run from July 4 until October 3.
"Due to decades of emigration from Molise, there are houses in village centers that have been lying empty for years," Mr Luongo told the Telegraph. "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?"
To apply, you must fill out a form explaining why you'd like to discover Molise and email it to the village’s cultural association. Up to five people can be part of one application which can be accessed here.