Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 August 2019

Airbnb wants to send you to Italy for three months

Four travellers are sought for a summer sabbatical in southern Italy, all expenses paid

Spend the summer in rural southern Italy. Courtesy Airbnb
Spend the summer in rural southern Italy. Courtesy Airbnb

Have you got a case of the January blues? Craving some sunshine? Accommodation platform Airbnb could have the answer.

The company is looking for four people to travel to Italy for three months where they will become temporary residents in a tiny town in the province of Matera, European Capital of Culture 2019.

The hilltop village of Grottole has over 600 historic abandoned buildings. Courtesy Airbnb
The hilltop village of Grottole has over 600 historic abandoned buildings. Courtesy Airbnb

The initiative is in partnership with an Italian NGO that is trying to bring new life to the historic centre of Grottole, a village where the population count is only 300 and there are over 600 abandoned buildings.

Italian training

Working with Airbnb and Wonder Grottole, the lucky volunteers will spend June undergoing ‘Italian’ training. As well as taking language lessons three times a week, you’ll also be shown how to make authentic Italian meals, the proper way to drink a cappuccino and how to cultivate herbs at the local vegetable garden.

Learn how to make traditional Italian food. Courtesy Airbnb
Learn how to make traditional Italian food. Courtesy Airbnb

Come July, you’ll be ready to work as a co-guest with the people at Wonder Grottole. The organisation buys abandoned houses and then renovates or restructures them. The house is used as the community hub and your role will be to welcome tourists, show them to their traditional lodgings and share your newfound knowledge of the region with them.

Community immersion

You’ll also take part in hosting social impact experiences, showing visitors traditional skills like farming and pasta making. You’ll bring them to D’Aria oil mill to meet your new friends Giuseppe and Vincenzo who’ll show them how they produce some of the region’s finest extra virgin olive oil and visit beekeeper Rocco who’ll share everything he knows about his swarms of bees.

Take tourists to visit the local beekeeper. Courtesy Airbnb
Take tourists to visit the local beekeeper. Courtesy Airbnb

When you’re not hosting, spend summer days soaking in the slow pace of life in rural Italy. There’s no traffic noise or pollution, just good food and friendly faces. Wander out to 15th-century Diruta Church on the outskirts of the village or meet friends for an apertivo at Bar Zolletta, not far from your new home in the centre of the historic town. Explore Matera’s rocky outcrops including the fascinating and Unesco-protected troglodyte settlements of Sassi.

How to apply

Interested? You need to be over 18 with a valid passport and free to reside in Italy from June to August 2019. There’s a detailed application form to fill out where you’ll have to explain why you want a sabbatical and what your passions are. There’s no salary for the position but Airbnb will cover living costs, including accommodation. Applications close on February 17 and 30 finalists will then be interviewed before the final selection is confirmed. Find out more and apply at the Italian Sabbatical.

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Updated: January 16, 2019 03:56 PM

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