We might only be a few weeks into the New Year, but if you already need a break, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey by Airbnb, one in three Americans want a sabbatical to avoid burnout—and now, there’s a solution available. Get ready to go full Under the Tuscan Sun: Airbnb is sponsoring a three month–long sabbatical in the Italian village of Grottole for four lucky winners.
In partnership with local NGO Wonder Grottole, the contest aims to simultaneously immerse the participants in traditional Italian culture and breathe new life into the village. Situated in the southern province of Matera, Grottole offers its incoming residents the perfect slice of idyllic Italian life. Over the course of the three months, the sabbatical recipients will learn Italian, participate in village life, learn how to cook, and attain new skills taught directly to them by other Airbnb hosts in the area—like Rocco, the town’s beekeeper, or Vicenzo, the olive oil producer.
“Visitors coming to Grottole will live in a quiet place, with slow living. There’s no traffic, no chaos, no pollution, good food, and above all, welcoming people,” says Vicenzo. “People from abroad will bring a new energy to our village, and they must be open to sharing their stories with us. We are good listeners.”
The twist? The four winners will be tasked in turn with becoming Airbnb Experience and Home hosts, teaching visitors to the region all about the local culture. They’ll lead pasta-making classes, teach honey harvesting, and host guests in traditional homes—the proceeds of which will all be invested in the village.
“Our dream is to repopulate the historical center. In 10 years we’d like to see the village full of people from different cultures perfectly integrated with the local community,” said Silvio Donadio, founder of Wonder Grottole, in a press release.
With only 300 inhabitants, Grottole is at risk of disappearing; this partnership with Airbnb serves as a boost to the local economy and aims to put the tiny town on the tourism map. It’s not the first time we’ve seen something like this happen to an Italian town: In 2017, the town of Candela offered people up to 2,000 euro to move there, and in 2018, the town of Ollolai was selling homes for as little as $1.25. It’s arguably never been easier—or more financially sound—to pull a Diane Lane and up and move to a remote Italian town.
If your New Year’s resolution was to slow down and appreciate the little things more, this could be your way in. Consider this a three month–long experiment in rustic living, complete with all the delicious pasta you could ever want. Maybe you want a quiet place to tackle your reading list or maybe you want to make up for never studying abroad in college. Regardless, this unique opportunity is too good to pass up: Head to italiansabbatical.com to apply.