Nestled in the mountains of central Sardinia lies a village called Olole, but it will soon become home to tourists willing to share their stories about the region.

The village on the Italian island made headlines in 2018 when it began putting some of its homes up for sale. You can buy an undesirable house for just one euro.

Now the town has launched a new scheme aimed at attracting digital nomads to live rent-free.

The goal of the Work From Ollolai (WFO) project is to showcase opportunities for emerging digital careers to students (and non-students, if they choose) and illustrate how the world of work has changed since the shift to hybrid and remote roles in 2017. Pandemic.

The nominal cost of this “cultural exchange” is a monthly payment of €1 ($1.07) and a donation of some time to educate locals in Ololan about the new global working environment.

The plan was proposed by Mayor Francisco Columbus and his brother Luca. The brothers grew up in the village before Luca moved to New York 15 years ago, returning to their hometown every summer and Christmas period to work.

Luca is a director at a software development company who now lives between New York and Miami, and his ability to work in a mountain village provides inspiration for attracting more talent to the area.

during an interview wealthColumbus said the goal is to create a “bridge” between rural areas and talented people who don’t even know they have the option to work in Ololai.

Colombo said Olole’s current guest is a user experience designer who will describe her work — a job that many in the village don’t even know exists.

“It’s a very hands-on demonstration, aimed at people from middle school to college who may not even know what a user experience designer is, it’s not a skill you learn in school,” Columbo said.

The motivation for temporarily moving to a village if possible is clear: “The nature is beautiful, the food is great, the people are lovely, the cost of living is a lot cheaper, but it’s remote and needs to be a bridge of support to bring people in.”

Olole’s life

Guests can exchange for rent-free accommodation through presentations, lectures or classes that introduce the visitor’s background and experiences.

While hybrid, remote or digital nomad professionals from a variety of backgrounds are invited to apply for the program, the project’s team also has some industry-specific voices they’d like to hear from: Technology, Media, Finance, Real Estate and Construction are “strongly encouraged “Apply.

The project adds that it is also keen to hear from “professional artists, writers, musicians, scientists and general academics”.

The first phase of the plan, funded with $20,000 from the local town council, aims to attract 10 American tourists, largely because of the fame of Franco Columbu, the shepherd-turned-boxer who moved to the United States. , and won the Mr. Universe award in 1970 – was born in this village.

However, Columbu said interest in the project was growing, with more than 2,500 people already captioning applications for the scheme.

He confirmed the project is now running until next year and people from all over the world are already queuing up.

“The challenge for rural areas is to fill the gap between the growing world of which rural areas are a part and the job opportunities they are missing because there are not many people working remotely in Ollolei,” Columbo said.

“For many rural communities, it’s a chicken-and-egg situation. For us, do you teach English because there’s a language barrier, or do you try to find opportunities,” he said. “I guess you could say we chose to break the egg and experiment to see what we could achieve.”

While living on a Mediterranean island may be the holiday of a lifetime for some, this offer does not offer a full-board option.

Participants in the program will need to pay for their own food, drinks, utilities (estimated at around €100, $106 per month) and travel expenses, as well as the cost of renting a car in remote areas.

And you won’t find potential temporary accommodation on Airbnb, either, as all guests will stay in private residences in one- or two-bedroom apartments.

“We will do our best to provide accommodations and facilities that are as comfortable as possible,” the project said, adding: “We also expect guests to treat and respect the houses we offer as if they were their own.”

Although Ollolei has some small shops, bars and restaurants, living in the mountainous Barbagia region does pose some transport challenges: the capital of Cagliari is a two-hour drive away, while The nearest airport is also a few hours’ drive away.

“During your stay, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the lifestyle and culture of the Blue Zones, one of five areas on Earth with a high concentration of people over 100 years old,” the team wrote. “You’ll also experience unspoiled nature up close, sample delicious cuisine and explore the incredible beaches nearby.”

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