Fancy escaping to an idyllic Italian village? This is one Airbnb experience not to miss!

The hospitality experts are offering a three-month sabbatical to Matera in Italy, 2019's European Capital of Culture

Who wouldn't want a chance to escape? Bypass January blues and forget our Brexit woes with a three month period of leave? Sì grazie to this unbelievable Airbnb experience!

New figures released by Airbnb reveals a significant number of Brits are desperate to take a break from working life.  Almost one in four people (24 per cent) in the UK are looking for a change of lifestyle.

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These statistics have led to Airbnb today announcing this once in a lifetime experience. Four lucky volunteers will escape the 9 to 5 by taking a three-month Italian sabbatical – in the beautiful village of Grottole.

The Italian Airbnb experience

outdoor dining table with couch and cushions

(Image credit: Airbnb)

The chosen four will be transformed from tourists into temporary citizens. Embracing their new way of life they will learn the language, help run the community vegetable garden and even learn how to cook delicious Italian dishes from the homegrown produce.

The volunteers will also work for the local NGO 'Wonder Grottole' which seeks to breathe new life into the city centre of the historic village. With only 300 inhabitants and more than 600 empty homes, it is at risk of disappearing.

Volunteers will support the initiative by using their training from the local community to list a home in Grottole on Airbnb for the latter two months. All proceeds from these Experiences will be invested back into the village.

italian village with mountain view

(Image credit: Airbnb)

'Italy is an extraordinary country with a strong rural community and a passionate and welcoming culture.' explains Joe Gebbia, Airbnb co-founder and Chief Product Officer. 'We want to help preserve these communities, for generations to come. By inspiring and supporting others to get involved and make real contributions to village life, we hope it shines a light on the beauty of rural Italy.'

Andrea Paoletti, founder of Wonder Grottole said 'Our dream is to repopulate the historical centre. In ten years, we’d like to see the village full of people from different cultures perfectly integrated with the local community'.

living room with wooden flooring and fire place

(Image credit: Airbnb)

Living the dream.

Vincenzo, the resident olive oil producer exclaims. 'Visitors coming to Grottole will live in a quiet place, with slow living. There’s no traffic, no chaos, no pollution, good food and very welcoming people'.

Sounds like the perfect escape from busy modern living.

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How to apply

The Italian Sabbatical project's promoted by Wonder Grottole and sponsored by Airbnb. Visit the website to apply online. Selection open from January 15th to February 17th.

Candidates must be over 18 and available to move to Grottole for three months, from June to August 2019.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.