Digital nomads can live for free in Sardinia – here’s how to apply

Ololai village, Sardinia.

Source: Antonio Meloni

Clarice Bartis, a 39-year-old software designer from Los Angeles, always wanted to work from an exotic location away from the crowds.

So when she was offered this opportunity, she jumped at it immediately.

Last week, Barthes arrived in the village of Ololai in Sardinia, Italy, for free accommodation paid for by the local municipality. It’s part of a program targeting digital nomads who want to temporarily move to work in the center of the island, among farmers and sheep herders.

She’s the first digital nomad to arrive — and she’s already said it feels like a life-changer.

“I’ve been traveling as a digital nomad for the past two years, most recently in Zanzibar, but when the opportunity arose for Ololai, I was excited to give it a try,” Bartis said.

“I felt like I needed a change of place,” she said, “even though it is not a touristy place, but (instead) surrounded by nature, fresh air, mountains and beautiful beaches, where I can find more solace, peace and a slower life.” Lifestyle.”

Set in the wild region of Barbagia, far from the VIP-crowded coast of Sardinia, Ollolai is a place where ancient traditions live on and bandits live in caves.

Over time, locals left in search of a brighter future elsewhere, emptying out the old area, which is now covered in street art depicting rural life.

Clarice Barthes works from her home in Ololai, Sardinia.

Source: Antonio Meloni

In the past century, Olulae’s population has shrunk from 2,250 to 1,300, with only a few babies born each year.

The village adopted a highly publicized measure in 2018 to revitalize the old area: selling dilapidated houses for one euro.

Bartis and Francisco Colombo, pioneer of Ololai.

Source: Veronica Mata

“It was a great success, as many foreigners bought and repurposed dozens of abandoned residences,” Mayor Francisco Colombo told CNBC. “Now, after investing in high-speed internet, with this new project ‘Work from Ololai’ we want to make our village a digital hub for nomads.”

The municipality of Olololay has allocated 20,000 euros ($21,460) to host 30 remote workers from around the world, who can stay in the village, one by one, for the next two years.

Online applications are open until December. Those who were chosen They can stay for free for up to three months at a time, which is the maximum amount of time non-Europeans can stay in Italy without a visa.

For now, Bartis only plans to stay for one month, although she said she might consider prolonging her experience in Sardinia at a later stage.

Barthes looks out at the view from her balcony, accompanied by Veronica Mata, who oversees the “Working from Ololai” program.

Source: Antonio Meloni

The next remote worker will arrive from Singapore, said Veronica Mata, president of the local cultural association Sa Mata, which is running the “Work from Ololai” program with the city mayor’s office.

“We expect a lot from Americans,” she said. “Our goal is to revitalize Ollolai with new people from different cultures and languages ​​who may share their experience (as) digital nomads with the population.”

The budget will be allocated, from the city council’s coffers, to rent homes from local families for digital nomads, at a cost of around €350 per month for a furnished two-bedroom dwelling. Utilities, bills and city hall service taxes will also be covered, but transportation and plane tickets will not, Mata said.

The houses, which were owned by families of shepherds and farmers, who in the past slept on the ground floor with their animals, are equipped with an office and high-speed Internet connection..

The workers will be invited to local fairs and festivals, according to MTA. Bartis said she had been invited to a party in the town square the night before.

Bartis gives its owner 1 euro as a symbolic gesture.

Source: Veronica Mata

“I only had to give the landowner a symbolic one euro to rent the house,” Barthes said. “The locals are very friendly and welcoming, and not because they want to sell you something, like in tourist places.”

“I love mingling with the people here,” she said.

Mata said the winners can stay for free in Sardinia if they agree to give something to the local community before they leave.

“This is not a free vacation,” Mata said. “They must have a proven background as a digital nomad and leave behind a tangible piece of work at the end of their stay – whether it is a conference, article, research paper or documentary.”

Bartis and Mata join a welcome party in Ololai, Sardinia.

Source: Veronica Mata

She added that Bartis plans to give a lecture on what it means to be a digital nomad in general and in Olulai specifically.

“Professional remote workers from all fields are encouraged to apply: technology, media, finance, real estate, architecture – as well as artists, writers, musicians, scientists and academics,” Mata stressed.

But this is stipulated She added that she leaves behind a “cognitive shock” that enriches the village’s culture.

Bartis is already loving her new home in the village’s historic district. It has two bedrooms and a wonderful panoramic balcony overlooking the pristine valley and forests, where she finds inspiration while working, she said.

Clarice Barthes with Veronica Mata, looking from Barthes’ balcony.

Source: Antonio Meloni

Currently, she balances her work with her desire to see the sights around Sardinia.

“I’m still settling in,” she said. “There are days I spend traveling to explore the beautiful places around me, and other days I spend at home doing my work.”

She said a typical day in Ololai is like her life elsewhere: morning yoga and meditation, followed by work, then a walk outside and a drive to the coast or mountains to enjoy the silence and views.

“I don’t drink, so a bar is not the best place to hang out,” she said. “Instead, I love going to the farmers market to pick out fresh ingredients like truffles, and make pasta and gnocchi with pesto. The food is amazing.”

She said that Olulay was more beautiful than she expected, and she was surprised by the friendliness of its people.

“There is so much to explore in Sardinia. I am happy to be here and have enough time to immerse myself in the island and its culture.”

(tags for translation) rental housing

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *