A village on an Italian island is providing free housing to digital nomads

Clarese Partis, a 39-year-old software program designer from Los Angeles, has at all times needed to work from an offbeat spot removed from the crowds.  

So when she was provided such an alternative, she immediately grabbed it. 

Last week, Partis landed within the Sardinian village of Ollolai in Italy for a free keep paid by the native municipality. It’s a part of a program aimed toward digital nomads who need to quickly relocate to work within the heart of the island, amid farmers and grazing sheep. 

She’s the primary digital nomad to arrive — and already she stated it seems like a life-changer. 

“I’ve been touring as a digital nomad because the previous two years, final in Zanzibar,” stated Partis, however “when the chance for Ollolai got here alongside I used to be excited to give it a attempt.” 

“I felt I wanted a change of place,” she stated, although “not a touristy one, however [instead] surrounded by nature, contemporary air, mountains, lovely seashores, the place I might discover extra solace, peace and a slower-paced way of life.” 

The small village of Ollolai

Ollolai is positioned within the wild Barbagia space removed from the Sardinia’s VIP-packed coastlines — a spot the place outdated traditions survive and bandits as soon as lived in caves. 

Through time, locals left in the hunt for a brighter future elsewhere, emptying the traditional district, now lined in road artwork depicting rural life. 

Clarese Partis working from her dwelling in Ollolai, Sardinia.

Source: Antonio Meloni

Partis and Francesco Columbu, the key of Ollolai.

Source: Veronica Matta

“That was a significant success — many foreigners purchased and restyled dozens of forsaken dwellings,” stated Mayor Francesco Columbu advised CNBC. “Now, after investing in high-speed web, with this new venture ‘Work from Ollolai’ we would like to make our village a digital nomad hub.”

Free stays for distant staff

Ollolai’s city corridor has earmarked 20,000 euros ($21,460) to host 30 distant staff from all around the world, who can keep within the village, separately, over the following two years.

Online functions are open via December. Those who’re chosen can keep for free for up to three months at a time, which is the utmost interval non-Europeans can stay in Italy with out a visa.

For now, Partis plans to keep only one month, although she stated she would possibly contemplate prolonging her Sardinian expertise at a later stage. 

Partis overlooks the view from her balcony, with Veronica Matta, who is overseeing the “Work from Ollolai” program.

Source: Antonio Meloni

The subsequent teleworker is arriving from Singapore, stated Veronica Matta, head of native cultural affiliation Sa Mata, which handles the “Work from Ollolai” program with the mayor’s workplace. 

“We count on a number of Americans,” she stated. “Our objective is to revive Ollolai with new individuals of various cultures and languages that will share their expertise [as] digital nomads with the residents.”

The price range, from the city corridor’s coffers, will go towards renting houses from native households for the digital nomads, at a value of roughly 350 euros a month for a furnished two-bedroom dwelling. Utilities, payments and city corridor service taxes will even be lined, stated Matta, however transportation and airplane tickets usually are not.

The houses, which used to belong to shepherd and farmer households, who previously used to sleep on the bottom flooring with their animals, include an workplace and high-speed web connection.

Workers will likely be invited to locals gala’s and festivals, in accordance to Matta. Partis stated she was invited to a celebration on the city’s piazza the night time earlier than.

Partis offers her landlord 1 euro as a symbolic gesture.

Source: Veronica Matta

“I simply had to give my landowner a symbolic one euro for the home rental,” stated Partis. “Locals are so heat and welcoming, and it is not as a result of they need to promote you one thing, like in touristy locations.”

“I like to mingle with the individuals right here,” she stated.

A reciprocal association

Winners can keep for free in Sardinia — if, that is, they agree to give one thing again to the area people earlier than they depart, stated Matta.

“This is not a free vacation,” stated Matta. “They will need to have a confirmed background as a digital nomad and depart a concrete piece of labor on the finish of their keep — be it a convention, an essay, analysis paper or documentary.”

Partis and Matta be a part of a welcoming get together in Ollolai, Sardinia.

Source: Veronica Matta

Partis plans to give a lecture on what it means to be a digital nomad, typically and particularly in Ollolai, she stated.

Matta confused that “skilled distant staff from all fields are inspired to apply: know-how, media, finance, actual property, structure — additionally artists, writers, musicians, scientists and lecturers.” 

But that is offered they depart behind a “data jolt” that enriches the village tradition, she stated.

More lovely than anticipated 

Partis already loves her new dwelling within the village’s historic district. It has two bedrooms and a beautiful panoramic balcony with views of a pristine valley and woods, the place she finds inspiration whereas working, she stated.  

Clarese Partis with Veronica Matta, looking from Partis’ balcony.

Source: Antonio Meloni

For now, she stated she’s balancing her work and want to sightsee throughout Sardinia.

“I’m nonetheless settling in. There are days I spend touring to discover the attractive locations round, and others I shut myself at dwelling catching up on my work,” she stated.  

She stated a typical day in Ollolai is related to her life elsewhere: yoga meditation within the morning, adopted by work, then a stroll exterior and a drive to the coast or the mountains to benefit from the silence and views. 

“I do not drink so the bar is not my prime place to hang around,” she stated. “Instead, I like going to the farmers’ market to choose contemporary substances reminiscent of truffles, making pasta and gnocchi with pesto. The meals is wonderful.”

She stated that Ollolai is extra lovely than she ever anticipated, and the friendliness of its individuals shocked her. 

“There is a lot to discover in Sardinia. I’m glad I’m right here with sufficient time to immerse myself within the island and its tradition.”

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