Airbnb are picking four people to take an Italian sabbatical and eat all the pasta

Posted by
Megan Murray

For all those suffering with January blues, Airbnb have come up with a pretty delicious, sun-filled solution. 

As much as we simply love slaving away at our desks all January with a sheet of drizzle tickling the office windows, we have to admit the idea of jetting off to Italy does sound quite appealing right about now. 

If you share our feeling, you might be interested to know that Airbnb has an offer that not many would refuse. 

After conducting their own research the brand has discovered that a rather depressing one in four people (24%) in the UK are in some way searching to change their routine because they are “bored with their life”. And much of this boredom centres around careers. 

Airbnb reports that over half (52%) have considered quitting their jobs, with Mondays proving to be particularly tough. In fact, almost a fifth (20%) of British people have thought about handing in their resignation letter more than once a day.

So, instead of leaving the study there, the good people at Airbnb have decided to do something to help. Picked for its calm, wholesome quality of life, Airbnb have announced that they will select four volunteers to escape the drudgery of day to day life on an incredible three-month Italian sabbatical in the beautiful village of Grottole.

The small village of Grottole can be found on a hilltop in southern Italy’s picturesque province of Matera. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been named 2019’s European Capital of Culture. Not bad, eh?

The lucky four will be transformed from tourists into temporary citizens of the village, where they will learn Italian, help run the community vegetable garden and be schooled in how to cook the nation’s favourite dishes from Italian “nonnas” (grandmothers) with ingredients they will have grown themselves.

Essentially, it’s three months of sun, great food, gardening and you’ll even walk away bi-lingual (depending on your efforts, of course).

But it’s not just about living the high life, this sabbatical is also about doing some good, too. Volunteers will also work for the local non-profit organisation “Wonder Grottole” which seeks to breathe new life into the city centre of this ancient village that, with only 300 inhabitants in the historic centre and more than 600 empty homes, is at risk of disappearing. 

Those who are successful will provide support by using their training from the local community to list a home and social impact experience in Grottole on Airbnb for the latter two months. As co-hosts on Airbnb, they will welcome guests into beautiful homes and act as ambassadors of Social Impact Experiences; showing visitors traditional skills like honey harvesting, pasta making and olive making. Then, all proceeds from these experiences will be invested back into the village.

Joe Gebbia, Airbnb co-founder and Chief Product Officer says, “Italy is an extraordinary country with a strong and vibrant rural community, countless hilltop villages and a passionate and welcoming culture. We want to help preserve these communities so they continue 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.”

An unforgettable experience and a chance to help one of Italy’s potentially lost gems stay well and truly alive, sounds like a no brainer to us. 

To apply, visit and complete the application form which simply asks for two 300 word passages on why you’d be a good fit. Applicants have until 17 of February to apply - good luck!


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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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