Want the long version of what we’re up to here?
So glad you asked. Read on.
What’s this all about?
Well, it might seem all like fun and games at the moment, but the real goal of this community is to drive and support investment in Italy.
We might not need to explain this one… if you ventured over to this corner of the web it’s probably because you already have a love in your heart for Italy, whether you live there or not. People all over the world love il bel paese… from those who have family roots there, to those who call Italy home, to those who have traveled there once, or many times, or not at all. This platform seeks to unite that global community and to provide a platform to encourage investment, particularly foreign investment in Italy.
Investment in what exactly?
We’re talking about sustained investment in Italian communities. If you know anything about Italy’s recent history, you are aware that, for all its beauty, Italy’s smaller communities have suffered a crisis of depopulation in recent years as Italians have left them in search of work in cities and abroad. This can provide interesting opportunities for the right foreign investor. For instance, would a town with few jobs but lots of real estate inventory appeal to a foreign enthusiast of Italy who is nearing retirement, in the market for a vacation home, or in a flexible remote work situation? Perhaps, yes! Could this investment revitalize areas and invite jobs back? Potentially, yes! Would this be win/win for Italy and for the foreign lover of Italy? Yes, yes yes!!!
However, that sort of thing is a lot more likely to occur, and occur with a better end result, if foreign investors are informed, connected, and engaged with Italy and Italian communities first, before making that commitment; and if that connection can continue to deepen over the life cycle of that investment. As Italian history professor Andrea Ungari observed in a CNN article, merely “filling communities with an influx of foreigners will not be able to solve the problems that caused the uninhabited cities in the first place. We need a long-term plan to develop the local area and maintain the towns”. Our site ultimately aims to support just that, to build a platform for long-term, sustained enthusiasm, engagement, awareness and support for Italy’s communities.
What kind of investment are we talking about?
We’re not talking about investment in the hedge fund sense here. We’re not that fancy. The end goal of this virtual community is to support investment in actual communities in Italy. And it is designed to grow love and passion for Italy into informed, engaged investment. Investment can come in the form of interest, support, enthusiasm, appreciation, and engaged dialogue about Italy and Italian communities. It can come in the form of pure expressions of love for the culture and environment. And it can of course, come in financial forms as well–the purchase of a second home; relocation to Italy for a period of time; the crowdfunded support of a local business. Community members of all kinds and at all levels of investment commitment are welcome in this community.
This online community will do this… how?
Primarily two ways: first, we offer users a way to explore towns and areas in Italy to discover the communities they want to connect to. It might be a place you’re dreaming about living in one day, or one you’re just curious about, or a collection of towns united by a particular theme might speak to you. Add them to your favorites to become a part of the local communities in these towns and follow activity posted on them.
Second, our community prompts serve as invitations to the community to discuss, and share information, stories, and general love for Italy. These prompts are the key to building a fun, engaging, informative and purposeful environment about Italy and its communities. We’re not just gonna ask a question and let people comment… we’ve all seen enough of that on the web, right? Imagine fun mashups, video challenges, photo essays… we want to think outside the box content-wise to keep it interesting, and offer a little something for everyone’s preferred style of communicating. Interpretive dance challenge to explain the Italian dual citizenship process, anyone? Okay, we might need to work on that one… but you get the point.
But you said this online community supports actual communities in Italy… how?
We offer a highly curated environment for expressing love for Italian communities, advancing a purposeful conversation about how to invest in them, and organizing information needed to be a part of them. And we aim to strike a balance between being fun, informative, and purposeful. This site will provide anything from organizing practical information one would need to relocate to and live in Italy; to connecting people to local small businesses there; to highlighting the work of local artists and artisans; to organizing conversations that lead to action items for a sustainable future for Italy. And much more. We believe the more informed, engaged and enthused people are about Italian communities, the more we can advance on-the-ground investment in real and practical ways. As we build our community, we will work together to determine investment priorities. But if all that sounds a little too highfalutin for now, please, no worries, just enjoy the site!
Are you going to offer the site in Italian?
Yes. Absolutely. Please stay tuned.