Some volunteer work is a small price to pay for a summer in paradise.
The once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend a whole summer living and working in Grottole is up for grabs. The three-month summer sabbatical offers free travel, accommodation and a €900 living allowance. They also offer cooking and language classes as part of the package.
This incredibly tempting offer is the brain child of Wonder Grottole, a non-profit organization that hopes to reinvigorate this ailing historic village, and is supported by Airbnb — the Uber of online hotels.
In recent years many rural settlements like Grottole have suffered from depopulation in Italy, Greece, and Spain. The younger generations have been gravitating towards urban centers and the result has removed much of the labor force from rural areas, which have had fewer jobs to offer since the 2008 economic downturn.
While young people are moving around the country to find work, those left in historical villages such as Grottole fear that important pieces of Italy’s cultural heritage will be lost. In Grottole, only 300 residents remain and over 600 houses stand empty and abandoned.
Grottole can trace its history back to the Roman empire, at which time the settlement was famous for its ceramics. The name Grottole is derived from the Latin word cryptolae, meaning cave, and indeed the landscape is dotted with such caves, which were used as ceramic workshops. Pottery is not all they’re known for, however, as The Vintage News reports:
As this area was part of the ancient Roman Appian Way, it is rich in ancient and medieval sites, including a number of 10th century castles. Local honey is produced here, and the region is particularly known for the abundance of chestnut groves and vineyards. Set amid beautiful rolling scenery, Grottole offers rich culture, fabulous food, and beautiful natural surroundings.
Grottole has launched a series of initiatives focused on highlighting the local culture and food. In this latest partnership with Airbnb, they are offering “Experiences” focused on traditional life in a rural Italian town.
Those lucky few chosen for the sabbatical post are expected to welcome guests to the local area and coordinate activities, and will also be volunteering to participate in the restoration of historic buildings in the village. They will also be given the opportunity to help with the village vegetable garden and learn how to cook delicious local food.
The wider region will receive an influx of visitors this year, as the nearby town of Matera has been named as the 2019 European Capital of Culture. It is hoped that this initiative will help reinvigorate Grottole’s local economy, and eventually encourage new families to come and settle in the area.
If you’re interested in applying for this Italian Sabbatical, then visit their website here.
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