A remote village in northern Italy is offering to pay €2000 ($3200) to anyone moving there to stop it becoming deserted.

People moving to the mountain village of Bormida, which sits 420m above sea level in the northwest Liguria region and is home to 394 people, can pay as little as $79 a month in rent.

The incentive is an attempt to prevent the small village from becoming a ghost town as young people move to the nearby city of Savona or beyond, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Mayor Daniele Galliano announced that on top of low rents, the village is planning to offer a $3200 "bonus" to anyone willing to move there.

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Under the low-rent scheme a small property will cost just $79 a month and a more spacious one will be no more than $189.

As properties remained empty and the village kept losing people, the mayor said he had decided to "take action".

"We couldn't rent them at market value, so we chose a symbolic number and the requests abounded: the important thing was to repopulate the village," Galliano told local media.

Since 2014 the scheme has helped keep the population growing, from 390 to 394 people, despite a loss of 54 people. During its heyday in the 1950s, the village had more than 1000 residents.

The town sits less than 12km from the Italian coastline. Photo / Google Maps
The town sits less than 12km from the Italian coastline. Photo / Google Maps

A third of Italy's villages are at risk of depopulation and even extinction, a report by Legambiente, a national environmental association, found in 2016.

Among the innovative means to try to attract fresh blood, dwindling villages have been selling empty houses for negligible sums and asking migrants and refugees to regenerate ageing centres.


- Daily Telegraph UK