Take an Italian Sabbatical for Free, Thanks to Airbnb

Jan 17, 2019

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Here’s your chance to experience a languid summer in the Italian countryside, sipping homemade wine, exploring historic village streets and contributing to the community.

Airbnb is looking for volunteers to take an all-expenses-paid, three-month-long trip to Grottole, Italy this year. Four people will be selected for the sabbatical of a lifetime in the small town in the south of Italy, where they will learn to cook, speak the language and help revitalize the town.

Grottole’s historic center has a population of only 300 inhabitants and more than 600 empty homes. This mountainous town is at risk of disappearing, which is why Airbnb is partnering with the local non-profit organization Wonder Grottole to re-energize and renovate Grottole.

The selected Italian Sabbatical participants will volunteer with Wonder Grottole to become Airbnb hosts. The non-profit runs a newly renovated space that serves as both a community center and Airbnb. Volunteers will not only welcome travelers but also host Airbnb Experiences to introduce tourists to local life and teach skills like vegetable farming, honey harvesting, pasta making and olive oil production. All proceeds from these Experiences will be invested back into the village, according to Airbnb.

The volunteers will learn these skills themselves from local Airbnb Experience hosts in Grottole. The hosts include the town’s resident beekeeper who has lived in Grottole for more than 30 years and a father-son pair of olive oil producers. Sabbatical participants will also learn how to speak Italian and how to farm and cook Italian food. They’ll even get the opportunity to run the community garden.

If you can already taste the pasta and wine, make sure you’re eligible to apply.

Candidates must be:

  • Over the age of 18

  • Available to move to Grottole for three months from June to August 2019

  • Able to speak good conversational English

  • Residents of United States, Mexico, Argentina (except the province of Mendoza), Italy, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Australia, India or Japan

Apply on the Italian Sabbatical website. Candidates will need to demonstrate their commitment to contribute to Grottole life on the application. The deadline to apply is Feb. 17, 2019. The lucky final four will be announced on March 29, 2019.

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