Are you the kind of person who dreams of travel, of seeing the world? So many of us are! And if you're also the type of traveler who likes to immerse themselves in the culture of a place (rather than be a tourist), this could be perfect for you.
Airbnb is a popular alternative to booking expensive hotels. Travelers instead pay to stay with people in their homes, as a bed and breakfast experience. And usually, they pay less than they would at a hotel. Not only is it a financial choice, but it's also a different style of travel. Again, it's more hands-on; after all, corporate hotels are hardly an immersive experience.
Now, Airbnb is offering a totally sweet deal. The company is going to pay four people to live in a picturesque rural town in Italy for three months. Sound like a dream trip to you? Then keep reading and find out more!
Raise your hand if you've ever wanted to travel to Italy!
via: Getty*raises hand* Um, yes please?
For four lucky people, that wish will become reality.They'll live in Italy for three months. Not only that, but Airbnb will also pay them to do it.
Got your attention yet?Airbnb is looking to fill a few vacancies in Grottole, Italy. It's a small, gorgeous mountain village in the province of Matera and region of Basilicata, in southern Italy.
Take a look:
via: AirbnbCan you see yourself living here for three months?
It's also got that historical appeal.
via: GettyPretty much everywhere in Italy (and Europe) does, but if you're a fan of old, mysterious ruins, there's plenty of that to explore.
And Airbnb wants you to go to there.Because Airbnb is offering to cover living expenses up to $1,000 per month for the four people who temporarily move themselves to Grottole!
So, what's up with that?Well, Grottole is one of those smaller, remote villages in Italy being vacated by the younger generations. Despite its beauty, a rural place like this doesn't have a wide enough range of career opportunities for them.
As they leave, vacant homes remain.
via: GettySo Italy is using an "alberghi diffusi" model, which translates to "scattered hotel," in order to revitalize these areas.
Tourists can pay to stay in unoccupied homes.
via: AirbnbBut instead of doing typical "tourist" things, they're invited to be part of the village community for the length of their stay.
It's about preserving culture.
via: AirbnbItaly (and the residents of these villages) would rather try to preserve their local culture instead of bringing in the corporate construction and chain restaurants.
And that's where Airbnb comes in.
via: GettyYou can get in on an Italian alberghi diffusi vacation with or without Airbnb financing it, but the company has teamed up with Grottole village to do just that.
Airbnb wants to aid the revitalization effort.
via: Getty“We will find every way possible to support sustainable tourism, and give visibility to these rural areas," says Federica Calcaterra, PR Manager at Airbnb Italy. And this isn't Airbnb's first Italian rodeo; the company first partnered with the city of Civita in 2016.
Grottole's mayor was searching for a way to preserve its historic district.
via: GettyThe village has a population of 300 permanent residents, and roughly 600 vacant houses ready to serve as an alberghi diffusi.
It was a match made in heaven.
via: Getty“When we met it was really a perfect match," Calcaterra added. “They were looking, not for tourists, but people to enjoy and be part of the community."
Bonus points if you bring some skills to the table.According to Airbnb's overview of the project, the mayor of Grottole was also looking for people who were willing and able to bring new skills to the town.
So here's the partnership they formed:Airbnb is providing funding for the city of Grottole to buy three buildings, and convert them into a community center. The company is also funding the sabbatical and local housing of four travelers.
There are a couple of other parts to this trip.The four people who go on this trip will also be participating in Airbnb's "experiences," which include educational classes and events run by the locals who are part of Airbnb's initiative.
And hopefully, they'll rope in more tourism.The whole point of this is to make Grottole more of a travel destination, so the more press Airbnb's inaugural visitors can drum up, the better.
And it's pretty altruistic, as far as Airbnb is concerned.
via: GettyThroughout all of its initiatives, Airbnb won't generate any revenue for itself.
Airbnb has been getting into urban planning.
via: GettyIn the last few years, Airbnb has undertaken a number of initiatives. Its first was to revitalize an ailing town in Japan.
Airbnb also set up a community center in Japan.
via: GettyThe Yoshino Cedar House serves as both community center and housing in Yoshino, Japan, a tiny logging town.
That venture was successful, too!The Yoshino Cedar House succeeded in revitalizing the local economy and brought in greater numbers of tourists.
There are some cool opportunities there, too!As with Grottole, Airbnb also funded "experiences" there, like making soba with the locals.
Yoshino offered a similar trade to Grottole.
via: GettyTourists could support the population of Yoshino, and Yoshino's residents could share their culture with the tourists.
Airbnb seems to be testing the potential of albergo diffuso.And it makes for an intriguing, and more authentic alternative to the usual type of travel and tourism!
Yoshino served as a first experiment.
via: Getty“Yoshino is there and has amazing things to offer. The problem was finding out about it," said Joe Gebbia, Airbnb’s co-founder. “The hypothesis was that we could stimulate regions by plugging them into the Airbnb network."
One of the biggest fears was communication.Airbnb feared that Yoshino's hosts wouldn't be able to communicate well enough with travelers. But because a large number of hosts split the duties and their tenants were also varied, communication has never been a problem.
And speaking of communication, don't worry about Grottole either.In fact, if you've ever wanted to learn a new language (or at least the basics), one of the educational experiences provided in Grottole is lessons in Italian!
Plus, the food.Italian food is amazing, right? Well, the locals will also teach you to prepare food like a true Italian. Sounds delicious!
So check out the Grottole initiative!
via: AirbnbYou've still got time to apply for that Italian sabbatical. Airbnb is accepting applications through February 17th! Know anyone else who might want to get in on this travel opportunity? Share this story!