Airbnb Wants to Pay for You to Live in This Italian Village for a Whole Summer

Four lucky people will get to live and work alongside locals on an all-expenses-paid sabbatical in the hillside town of Grottole in southern Italy.

Airbnb Wants to Pay for You to Live in This Italian Village for a Whole Summer

Imagine spending this summer living in the village of Grottole in southern Italy.

Courtesy of Airbnb

If you’ve ever dreamed of taking three months off, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey by Airbnb, one in three respondents in the United States said they needed a sabbatical to avoid burnout at work. And if you’re anything like the many survey respondents who said they’d use their sabbatical to meet new people and discover other cultures, keep reading.

This summer, Airbnb wants to send four volunteers on a three-month sabbatical in Grottole. The hillside village is located in southern Italy’s Basilicata region—a 30-minute drive west of Matera, Europe’s 2019 Capital of Culture.

Today, only 300 inhabitants remain in Grottole’s historic center and more than 600 houses sit empty. To help save the village from disappearing and draw more visitors to Grottole, Airbnb is working with Wonder Grottole, a local NGO that focuses on urban regeneration. The two companies will send four people on an all-expenses-paid sabbatical to live and volunteer in Grottole as Airbnb Experience and Home hosts alongside locals.

“Our dream is to repopulate the historical centre,” Silvio Donadio, founder of Wonder Grottole, said in a statement. “In 10 years we’d like to see the village full of people from different cultures perfectly integrated with the local community.”


Four volunteers will get to live and work alongside locals in Grottole this summer.

Courtesy of Airbnb

What does the sabbatical involve?

Before they start their three-month sabbatical as Airbnb Home and Experience cohosts with Wonder Grottole, volunteers will be trained for a month in Italian language skills, Italian cooking, and more. Then they will act as cohosts, welcoming travelers into a house in the village center or a bedroom at the local community center.

As part of their work as Experience hosts, the volunteers will teach travelers passing through Grottole traditional Italian farming skills, such as harvesting honey, growing vegetables, and making pasta and olive oil. The proceeds of these Airbnb Experiences will be invested back into revitalizing the town.


The volunteers will learn from Airbnb Experience hosts including Rocco, the resident beekeeper who has lived in Grottole for more than 30 years.

Courtesy of Airbnb

How do I apply?

Airbnb is accepting applications for this Italian sabbatical at from now until February 17, 2019. To be eligible, applicants must be available to live in Grottole for a full three months from June through August 2019.

Applicants must also be at least 18 years or older and reside in the United States, Mexico, Argentina (except the province of Mendoza), Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Australia, India, or Japan. While applicants must be conversational in English, they will learn Italian during the trip. Four winners will be announced on March 29, 2019.

>> Next: Where to Escape the Summer Crowds in Italy

Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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