PSA: You Can Now Get Paid to Take a Summer Vacation in the Italian Countryside


January 17, 2019
Photo by Airbnb

Hi, hello, ciao, there's someone I'd like to introduce you to. It's future-you—more specifically, it's five-months-in-the-future you.

Five-months-in-the-future you lives in a charming countryside village in Southern Italy called Grottole. (It's in the part right between the sole and the heel of the boot.) You start every day with a cappuccino and a lesson in Italian language, before moving over to the vegetable garden to get acquainted with local produce. Next up is a cooking lesson, and a homemade lunch (fingers crossed that it's pasta). Save some room for a sundown aperitivo, though.

One quick clarification: This could be be five-months-in-the-future you—if you apply for, and win!—one of four spots in the Airbnb Italian Sabbatical program. According to the company:

"Airbnb is sponsoring a unique opportunity for four people to move to the small village of Grottole for three months and experience authentic rural life in Italy. Selected candidates will become temporary citizens of the village and will volunteer for a local non-profit organization called “Wonder Grottole” whose aim is to revitalize the town’s historical center. The small village of Grottole, with only 300 inhabitants and more than 600 empty homes, is at risk of disappearing and is asking for your help!"

I mean, you really don't have to twist our arms on this one. Hang on, what's that, it's all-expenses paid? And a €900 monthly expense stipend? Okay, we're double in. Make that triple.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I would love this opportunity to learn and live in Southern Italy with others that share love of food, travel, and culture. Pretty please!!”
— Gail B.

And now that we've reeled you in with that video, we'd like to present the following stream of daydream-inducing photos of Grottole, in an effort to distract you all until you miss the application deadline (Feb. 17). Meanwhile, we'll be racing to get our essay submissions in! (And pondering how to answer the application question, "Why would you like to take a sabbatical in Grottole?" Forced choice response options do not include photos of our tiny, drafty New York apartments.)


To learn more about the program or (ugh! If you must) apply, check out Airbnb's Italian Sabbatical page.

Do you ever daydream about taking a sabbatical to Italy? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Devyne Koh
    Devyne Koh
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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.


Devyne K. February 10, 2019
How unfortunate that this Sabbatical is only eligible to 'selected' nationalities. I was already typing out my story when I stopped to read their T&C.

Funny thing is when I filled out the form, they never limit the selection of countries.

=( so sad.
Annie February 3, 2019
When will you notify the people you have chosen to go?
Ella Q. February 3, 2019
Hi Annie!

As much as I wish this were our contest, it's being run by Airbnb (this piece is just reporting about it). You can find Airbnb's info here:

Best of luck!
Barbara H. February 1, 2019
I have Italy on my bucket list,not to mention to experience the food and wine would be a dream come true!!
Barbara H. February 1, 2019
The last few years have not been kind,to escape for a while would be a blessing .
Areeg January 30, 2019
I will be lucky person person if im in selection group.
It will be the first time for me in Italy.
Pat January 29, 2019
I would LOVE to learn the Italian culture, cooking and everything that goes along with it. I have always wanted to go to seems like such a warm and welcoming place! I wouldn’t be upset if you chose me!
teena January 22, 2019
I need to rekindle my love for travel and food, get me out of here and let me immerse and get inspired by Italian living and cooking right at the source!
Gail B. January 22, 2019
I have wanted to be part of the food culture in Italy for a long time. Being there and living in the culture is the only way to learn what goes into how Italians create their magic in the kitchen because it goes far beyond that. I would love this opportunity to learn and live in Southern Italy with others that share love of food, travel, and culture. Pretty please!!
Trudie January 22, 2019
hellloooo! Im soooo interested! NEED a sabatical from a life in chaos 2 breathe again 🤪
Bobbie U. January 21, 2019
How do I apply
Eric K. January 21, 2019
Italy's been on my list, especially after Call Me by Your Name...