Moving to Sardinia for the cost of 1 euro. When I read the announcement in my mind, I had already arrived on the most beautiful island in Italy (and beyond). Having quickly dispelled my doubts about possible fake news with a few online searches, I discovered that the project is real and very intriguing. It is called ‘Work form Ollolai/Traballa dae Ollolai’ and is aimed at digital nomads interested in spending a month in Sardinia. More precisely, in Ollolai, a small town in Barbagia, a rugged territory in the centre of the island that represents the wildest part of Sardinia, even though it is the healthiest climatic area of the island, considered one of the five Blue zones of the world, a land where several centenarians live.
In and around Ollolai, therefore, people live a long time. Still, the initiative aimed at digital nomads is part of a broader programme of projects designed to combat the depopulation of a place that has reduced its population from 2,250 to 1,300 residents in the space of a century. The problem concerns the whole of Italy, which in 2022 recorded a number of births below 400,000 for the first time since the country’s unification in 1861 (there were 393,000).
Initiatives to promote a less popular area of Sardinia
Having always been accustomed to struggling with this phenomenon, the administration of Ollolai (province of Nuoro) has launched several projects to attract attention and bring foreigners to live in its territory. The first attempt was ‘Buy a house for 1 euro‘, which gained a lot of visibility, especially in European countries and the United States. Foreign visitors were given the opportunity to take possession of a house for a symbolic sum, provided they renovated it and kept it in good condition. To get an idea of the response, it is enough to know that the Dutch TV Rtl7 went to Ollolai to make a reality show involving the locals in selecting the winners.
Improving the quality of life to revitalise the town and increase its population is the ultimate goal of the mayor, Francesco Columbu, who has therefore relaunched the challenge by focusing on digital nomads in cooperation with the cultural and social promotion association Sa Mata- L’albero delle idee. In the initiative, the administration has invested €20,000 in transforming old dwellings into flats with desks and other necessary tools for those who work remotely. Those interested in the project can apply by the end of December by filling in this form.
Living in a country town, enjoying exceptional food by purchasing products directly from local producers, and having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world within an hour’s drive are very attractive reasons to consider moving to Ollolai. At the moment, the planned period of stay is one month. Still, extending the visit may be possible depending on the number of requests coming into the administration.
Stylists, journalists, digital entrepreneurs, sportsmen, photographers, writers, scientists, chefs, hoteliers, musicians and freelancers, as well as employees working remotely in other sectors, can apply on their own or bring their families with them to get to know and experience the Sardinian way of life.
In return, an exchange of skills must be passed on via lectures, presentations or artistic or editorial projects to familiarise the local population with the work dynamics, the studies to be followed and the career opportunities of a remote job.
The expenses to be borne, apart from the symbolic price for a stay in a 1- or 2-room flat (do not expect a hotel, as these are old modest houses and stables where shepherds slept together with the animals), concern food, utilities and travel. The most efficient and convenient way to connect to the Internet is to buy an eSim, considering the favourable prices offered by Italian telephone operators. Looking at the complete package, all that remains is to complete the transfer application and cross our fingers as we await Ollolai’s reply, not least because by the beginning of September, more than 1,100 applications had already been sent in.