New Delhi, Oct 20: 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.
"I work each day with passion and commitment to bring Candela back to its ancient splendor," says Gatta. "Up until the 1960s, travelers called it 'Nap'licchie' (Little Naples), for it streets full of wayfarers, tourists, merchants and screaming vendors."
According to a report in 'CNN travel', These days the Neapolitan buzz has been replaced by the silence of the surrounding green hills and pristine forests.
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.
This maze of winding picturesque alleys, Baroque buildings and arched passageways is at risks of turning into a ghost town. Most young people have fled in search of a brighter future elsewhere, leaving behind the elders.
However Gatta is on a desperate crusade to save Candela from dying out.
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 to 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.