On our journey to secure a €1 house in Italy we have also come across other schemes/incentives to “entice” families to move and settle in some of the least populated villages and towns in Italy, particularly in the south of the country.
One such scheme came to our attention in September 2019 – the region of Molise launched a regeneration scheme whereby you can be paid €8,000 a year for 3 years to start a business in one of the towns/villages with a population of less than 2,000 residents.
Who wouldn’t be interested in moving to Italy and getting funding to start a small business? I was very interested and thought I need to apply. So, I did my research and discovered there was an application process and all documentation had to be submitted by 30th November 2019. As well as an application form to be completed, you needed to write a business plan and feasibility study, supply cashflow/financial projections and also submit a CV. So quite a bit of work, but with almost 6 weeks until the deadline, I was confident I could deliver everything required.
Having done quite a bit of research on the region, I discovered Molise has become known as the Italian region “that doesn’t exist” mainly because although it is officially a region (there are 20 regions) but it is very small and I guess not very well known when compared to Tuscany, Piedmont or Lombardy? There is even a book titled “Il Molise Non Esiste”(Molise doesn’t exist) written by Enzo Luongo, a journalist and author. If you go on the web you will find everything from Facebook pages/groups to T-shirts and mugs for sale all about Molise not existing! Apparently the You Tube video Il Molise Non Esiste!! has had over 1.5 million views since 2015. Incredibly the population of this region is only about 300,000.
I was lucky enough to travel through and stay a night in Molise (a town called Termoli) in July and August 2019. I was on my way to Bari to get a ferry to Igoumenitsa in Greece. I remembered there were not many campsites or motor home stopover areas. The one campsite I did find was the worst I have stayed on in Italy, possibly Europe.
So my idea was born – I would write a business plan about a motor home/ camping car stopover area in Molise. I noticed when travelling around the region there were quite a few German, Dutch, French and Swiss plated campers travelling around. I thought if you get people to stopover for a night, it often leads to extended stays and will get tourists into the region.
Eventually I had all the documents ready. An application, business plan, feasibility study, financial projections and a CV. I also did the same for another existing business that could be transferred to Italy/Molise. I had everything translated into Italian (I used deepl translation software) and checked by a bi-lingual native Italian speaker. I also had to set-up and pay for a “PEC.IT” email account. This is an official Italian email account – it holds the same status as a registered letter. It cost me €60 through a legal practise/services provider and the service was instant – very impressive.
Everything was submitted prior to the 30th November deadline and I received automated acknowledgements from the region of Molise.
Then I waited……and waited……..
Anyway I never received anything- not even an email to say your application has not been successful. I must admit I was a bit gutted – I spent hours and hours on this and to not hear anything is disappointing. Maybe they thought the business was wrong for the area, or the financial projections not high enough – I was pretty conservative in my forecasts. It would have been great to get any feedback!
I think a big problem is the €1 house schemes are such a small, insignificant part of the overall functions that a commune provides. I also think the mayors and communes never realised how popular the €1 house schemes would become and they just simply haven’t been able to cope with the enquiries – let alone repond.
So, my advice in securing a €1 house in Italy or applying for a regeneration scheme or any other residency scheme is you need to ignore the knock-backs and just persevere – remain focused and one day you might get somewhere, I did.