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The Italian offer for foreigners

 

The swimming season in the Gulf of Poets, named after Shelley and Keats who dallied on this coast, lasts from May to November and along the seafront promenade you can devour a plate of spaghetti alle vongole and get change from a tenner.

Many foreigners would seriously consider selling an elderly relative in order to live here. So it’s somewhat baffling that, for the past two years, Lerici has been offering 2,400 euros (£2,117) a year to new residents to encourage them to put down roots in the town.iIT is s one of a growing number of Italian communities offering such incentives to offset ageing populations and falling numbers of residents. Hundreds of “ghost villages” have been abandoned over the decades as inhabitants moved to towns with more work or better services.

In Piedmont last year, the village of Locana offered families with children 9,000 euros to move there. Last week, the coastal region of Molise said it would pay outsiders €700 a month to live in any village of less than 2,000 people, on condition they start a business.

The number of residents in Lerici has fallen from 14,000 in the 1980s to around 10,000 now, says mayor, which has led to the closure of some shops and trades.