Sardinian Village’s Unique Offer To Digital Nomads For Reviving Economy


Key Takeaways

  • Sardinian village Ollolai launched a program offering remote workers three months of free rent to boost the local economy and population.
  • The initiative is part of broader efforts, including the €1 home sale, which garnered success.
  • Applicants are expected to contribute to the village’s cultural and economic milieu.
  • Despite the absence of a digital nomad visa in Italy until recently, the demand among non-EU citizens has risen significantly.
  • Life in Sardinia boasts a blend of serene landscapes, a rich history, and a cost of living lower than in many Western countries.

The ‘Work from Ollolai’ Initiative

To boost the dwindling population and stimulate economic growth, the Sardinian village of Ollolai has unveiled a unique opportunity for remote workers.

Under the “Work from Ollolai” program, the village offers digital nomads free housing for three months.

The program is part of a more significant endeavor to transform the village into an appealing haven for foreigners, with over €20,000 invested towards this goal.

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The initiative follows the village’s previous successful measure of selling houses for €1, which saw many foreigners acquiring and refurbishing abandoned homes.

According to a SchengenVisaInfo report, Mayor Francesco Columbu lauded the impact of these initiatives in attempting to reverse the century-long population decline from 2,250 to the current 1,300 residents.

With an online application process set to close by December’s end, the village aims to host remote workers one at a time for over three months in the coming two months.

The report noted that Veronica Matta, the head of the local cultural association Sa Mata, stressed that this program isn’t a free holiday.

Participants must have a proven background as digital nomads and are expected to leave behind a concrete piece of work — a research paper, documentary, conference, or essay.

The program is open to individuals across various fields, including technology, finance, media, real estate, and the arts.

The Backdrop

The initiative comes amidst an increased interest in Italy’s Digital Nomad Visa, despite the formal legislation for such a visa only coming into effect on March 28, 2022.

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The visa, catering to non-EU citizens working for employers registered outside Italy, showcases the growing allure of Italy, and by extension, Sardinia, for the global remote working community.

Life in Sardinia

Life in Sardinia is described as a blend of tranquil island life infused with Italian culture.

The region, known for its picturesque landscapes, historic sites, and affordable cost of living, also boasts a remarkable longevity rate among its citizens, attributed to the local diet, climate, and lifestyle.

While the cost of living is generally lower compared to the UK and USA, certain commodities like petrol might cost more due to the island’s location.

However, the pros, like the abundant natural beauty, rich history, and welcoming climate, outweigh the cons for many.

What Do We Think

The “Work from Ollolai” program represents a creative and mutually beneficial approach to address rural communities’ demographic and economic challenges.

It offers a fresh avenue for digital nomads to explore new cultures and landscapes and infuses fresh perspectives and skills into the local community.

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The success of such initiatives could serve as a blueprint for other regions facing similar challenges, showcasing the potential symbiosis between the burgeoning remote work culture and rural rejuvenation.


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