Daniele Galliano, the mayor of a quaint mountain town in northwestern Italy, is scrambling to clarify a bold proposal that he shared on his Facebook page in early May 2017.
The original post has since been deleted, but essentially it was a proposal to the regional government, requesting that they authorize a payment of €2000 (about $2100) to anyone who would be willing to live in the town of
Bormida is at least 500 years old and has a population of about 400. There were times when the town had around 1,000 residents, but the census numbers have been decreasing steadily over the last century.
Mayor Galliano was hoping that the proposal would keep his mountain village from becoming a ghost town.
A restaurant manager from one of the town’s handful of restaurants described his community in a brief conversation with The Guardian: “There is nothing much to do here. But life is so simple and natural, we have forests, goats, the church, and plenty of good food. Life would definitely be free of stress.”
A local, anonymous politician who was developing the proposal with Mayor Galliano told the Guardian, “We’re still working out the plan, but anyone is welcome to come and live here… We’re a small community but very welcoming. We’re high up in a mountain area but also not far from the sea – it’s a healthy lifestyle, the air is very clean.”
Like many ambitious proposals, unfortunately, this one was too good to be true.
More than 17,000 people responded to Galliano’s now-deleted post, inundating the small town mayor’s feed.
In a May 10, 2017, clarifying post, Mayor Galliano wrote that he had been in contact with the regional government in Liguria and that he wrote the post as a way of sharing the idea with his constituents. He also noted that he only intended to extend the proposal to Italian nationals.
A portion of the Facebook translation of the post reads, “The news was reported in the wrong way.”
The post went on to acknowledge a state of economic crisis in Italy, which makes it difficult to offer the proposal on a large scale. “Unfortunately, it’s not really possible to find help for all.”
A few days later, the mayor shared links to articles which explained the truth of the matter. His only commentary on those posts: “Please read. We can not offer you money or job.”
If you have your own funding and a job that can be conducted in rural Italy, Bormida would be delighted to welcome you to its hilly streets. Unfortunately, it looks like the prospect of getting paid to move into a mountainous medieval community will not be an option to most of the 17,000 people who reached out to Mayor Galliano.