Ever heard of Grottole? Well, it’s a village in Italy’s southern countryside, it’s beautiful, and you could live and volunteer there for the summer as part of Airbnb’s Italian Sabbatical Program – all expenses paid.
Four people will volunteer for a nonprofit called “Wonder Grottole” and spend the summer working to revive the historic town center. Grottole has 300 inhabitants and 600 empty homes, which is one reason why Airbnb might be so interested in the town.
Besides work, you’ll have a morning Italian class, learn how to grow vegetables, get cooking lessons from the locals, and visit wine cellars and ruins.
This village improvement effort makes economic sense for Airbnb. Airbnb has restored buildings in Italian villages before as part of a larger effort to create more space for guests in villages, where housing is often run-down or crumbling. In 2017, Airbnb noted that Airbnb bookings in villages were 42% higher than in cities. That year, Airbnb worked with other organizations to restore artists’ residences in the Italian village of Civita di Bagnoregio as a way to create more places for people to stay.
Airbnb’s interest in Grottole is also a move that is good for their image, after facing years of criticism about destabilizing the economy of many European cities like Barcelona and Amsterdam, some of which have moved to limit the effect of the house-sharing giant.
The rules and how to apply
The deadline is 11:59 Central European Time on February 17th. After that, 30 finalists will be chosen for video interviews. Another found of finalists will be chosen by March 29th, and from that batch, the final four volunteers who will live in Grottole will be selected.
The residency dates are June 1st-August 30th. Airbnb will cover each volunteer’s travel expenses, plus up to 900 euros a month for other expenses. Volunteers will stay in an Airbnb-run home in the center of town.
To qualify for this dream job, you must be 18 years old with a valid passport, and a resident of one of these countries: the United States, Argentina (except for the province of Mendoza), Australia, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom.