As beautiful as Italy is, it’s facing some serious acute financial crunch. Hidden away in its picturesque locations are the rusted gears trying to hold up a creaking economy. One such location is San Sossio Baronia town in the Campania region.
This mountain town is home to 1,742 residents. San Sossio Baronia is broke to the extent that it doesn’t know how it will continue to provide for its residents’ basic necessities. Francesco Garofalo – who’s been the town’s mayor for the past seven years – took to Facebook seeking a “wealthy Chinese investor willing to take over the town of [San] Sossio Baronia,” citing its “perennial lack of funds.”
The initial reaction to the post was mostly jest, with people laughing it off. But then, in the comments, Garofalo tried a selling pitch by explaining that his town would be a better bargain than Italian football clubs. “I would like to point out that the cost would be slightly lower than that of Inter and [AC] Milan,” he said. According to the Washington Post, Garofalo said that fewer dogs would help keep the town’s grassy areas in better shape, in response to a user comment that said Chinese investors would end the town’s stray-dog crisis.
When the humourous exchange spread all over Italian media, Garofalo clarified that he was serious and would soon start printing ads in newspapers too. He reportedly told TGcom24 that “for much less, [they] would make a very profitable investment by buying a piece of land characterised by great environmental health and strong tourism potential.”
What looks like a desperate measure stems from the fact that almost 2,500 Italian towns are at a risk of turning into ghost towns because of exodus. “When a town dies we’re not just talking about the loss of 500 people, or however many live there, we’re talking about the loss of unique cultures and traditions, which are invaluable,” Davide Zicchinella, the mayor of Sellia, told The Local.