This beautiful Italian town will pay you to move there to work remotely.
Located in the heart of wild Tuscany, the medieval village of Santa Fiora is nestled in the Monte Amiata nature reserve and is close to the wonderful Val D'Orcia Valley, the wine heaven of Montepulciano and the spectacular city of Siena.
Today the population is down to barely 2,500 residents but mayor Federico Balocchi believes technology and virtual work can revolutionize the future of his hometown.
Teleworkers willing to relocate and rent a house here under the Tuscan sun will be given up to €200 ($240) or 50 percent of the total rent for long-term stays of between two and six months. Local rentals are typically in the range of €300 to €500 monthly, meaning anyone who moves here might end up paying as little as €100 per month.
To help outsiders find their ideal type of accommodation - be it a cozy stone cottage in the historical centre or a little villa in the surrounding hills - the mayor has launched a website (https://www.vivinpaese.it) to advertise rentals alongside a list of useful services and contacts of plumbers, baby sitters, doctors, electricians and food delivery to make newcomers feel instantly at home. There are also links to local estate agencies for a wider choice of houses.
But don't think you'll get paid to laze around gorging on delicious pasta dishes and going on sightseeing sprees around Tuscany. Balocchi is keen to stress that the rental voucher is not a partly paid-for-vacation. Potential tenants must prove that they will be actually working remotely.
"It's not targeted at occasional touch-and-go tourists, but people who really want to experiment with our village life," he tells CNN. "The goal is to incentivize people to move in and virtually work from here. We want Santa Fiora to become their flexible office. Each time a youth leaves to search for a job elsewhere a piece of our village is taken away. This is only the first step of our smart village project, focused on connectivity and technology to lure new residents and firms."
The village has just been cabled with high-speed fiber internet and 'working stations' are being identified amid its narrow cobblestone alleys and Renaissance palazzos. Beyond the broadband connection, the pace of life in Santa Fiora is slow, offering a sojourn far from city chaos and smog.
It's ideal for people wishing to spend a part of the year in a quiet and relaxing place surrounded by nature. Tenants are of course free to prolong their stay beyond six months, albeit at their own expense, with the mayor hoping that some might fall in love with the village and stay forever. And if they decide to invest in the local tourist sector, Santa Fiora is willing to give them up to €30,000 to open a B&B or restyle an old dwelling to turn into a hotel or hostel.