(Part 4 of 4) The tiny town of San Giovanni in Italy is hoping to become a tourist mecca by luring visitors with offers of free lodgings.
Pl planning a vacation is tricky business in these socially distant times.
But a small italian community claims it has all the right ingredients for a getaway during the pandemic.
It's even banking that just the right number of tourists can help make it become a household name.
But it's the price that may be the biggest selling point.
Chris livesay shows us around.
When people think of the italian countryside, tuscany comes to mind.
You want ancient ruins?
Go to pompeii.
But there's one tiny italian region with those things and more, plus an irresistible new deal for tourists.
Southern towns have a reputation for hospitality.
But perhaps none deserve it more than san giovanni in galdo.
The remote italian village -- population of 500 - is rewarding these tourists with free lodging just for coming here.
The idea: to put the village, and the entire region, on the tourist map.
Rosso : it's a wonderful, gorgeous surprise.
Adriano rosso and fulvia mignone arrived a few days ago, to a hero's welcome.
Livesay : what was your first impression?
Rosso: it was amazing.// we said, "all thes things for us?"
Before coming, they applied online.
Rosso was looking for inspiration for his paintings, which he donated to the town.
Livesay: now it may not have the breathtaking canals of venice or the stunning artwork of florence.
But it does have genuine italian life, virtually all to yourself.
Not to mention rustic food you won't find on tourist routes.
Nat sot: i'm about to eat stuffed sheep intestines.
But also hand-made pasta and sauce with fresh local ingredients.
Common in the surrounding molise region, so small and out-of- the-way even italians joke it doesn't really exist.
More like molisn't.
That's despite boasting roman amphitheaters and ruins, not to mention wide open spaces ideal for social distancing.
Molise has had one of the lowest rates of covid 19 in the country.
That's partly because village populations have been declining for decades... livesay : do people live in these houses?
..as locals sell or abandon their homes to seek jobs in cities like rome and milan, says mayor domenico credico.
The tourists who come here stay in apartments restored by the town.
Luring them here with free vacations has been a spectacular success for such a tiny hamlet.
Livesay : eight thousand people requested to come here?
Credico: italian& but mass tourism isn't what they're after, he says.
In the age of covid 19, a lack of crowds is its own attraction.
...as are the friendships that can only be formed on an intimate scale: the main reason this couple says they can't wait to come back.
Rosso: one very important thing in molise that you can't everyday find in other regions.
That is people.
People here is really special.
They are really wonderful.
Tag: of course getting here is still a challenge with the eu travel ban on americans still in place.
Fortunately the town says as soon as its lifted, americans are that and more on the next midmorning.