The declining population of Italy’s borghi
The declining population of Italy’s borghi – historical small towns – has been a matter of national concern for decades. Many people emigrated in the post-war years, and since then, a combination of ageing populations, economic squeeze and lack of opportunities has seen an exodus from the countryside to the cities.
The albergo diffuso model – in which abandoned apartments are turned into a “scattered hotel” is also making headway, providing income for the towns as well as jobs for the locals. The brainchild of Giancarlo Dall’Ara, the scheme is proving popular in Puglia, down in the heel of Southern Italy, which has seen mass emigration over the past few decades.