The Italian Sabbatical

Your new country life in Grottole

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and become a temporary citizen of a village in the south of Italy. Immerse yourself in the local culture and discover how to speak, act and cook the Italian way. You will also get to support the local community by hosting an Airbnb Experience. Your goal? To help the local community revitalize the small village of Grottole.

The Italian Sabbatical

The Italian Sabbatical: Discover More

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 organisation called “Wonder Grottole” whose aim is to revitalize the town’s historical centre.

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!

Experience Daily Life in Grottole

Wake up at sunrise with a cappuccino and an Italian language lesson

Start the day with an Italian breakfast and join your local teacher for your morning Italian class.

Grow local produce in the vegetable garden with Andrea

Get your hands dirty and learn how to grow vegetables with a local expert.

Cooking lesson and lunch with Rosa

Learn all the secrets of Italian cuisine from Rosa and enjoy a delicious meal prepared with local produce.

Explore the Italian countryside with an Ape Car

Clamber aboard a classic Italian Ape Piaggio and discover Basilicata’s hidden gems.

Enjoy an aperitivo with the local community

At the end of a busy day, kick back and relax with the locals over an aperitivo.

Discover Grottole

Hover over the hotspots below to discover the different parts of the Grottole village.
1. Bosco Coste – Located near San Giuliano lake, a natural reserve protected by the WWF, Bosco Coste is the perfect place to kick back and appreciate the region’s wildlife, flowers and fields. Try hiking, horse riding or laze in the sunshine with a picnic.
2. The Vegetable Garden – Agriculture still remains an important part of daily life in the village. At the garden, locals come together to tend their plants, hand-picking ingredients including tomatoes and rocket to use in their kitchen just hours later.
3. The Castle – Perched on the top of Grottole village is Castle Sichinulfo, a magnificent crumbling ruin that dates back to the 10th century – a time when Grottole was ruled by powerful families. Visit at sunset for breathtaking views of the valley.
4. The Wine Cellars – It’s no coincidence that the village got its name from the word ‘grotta’, meaning ‘cave’. For centuries these caves have acted as handy wine cellars for the local residents, and the many families who still produce their own wine.
5. Your Airbnb – Your new home is located on the pretty cobbled streets in the center of Grottole. It’s a typical rural home that oozes history and authenticity, allowing you plenty of space to stretch out make yourself comfortable. Your Airbnb host lives just around the corner.
6. The Church – Located in the center of the village and dating back to the 1500s are the magnificent ruins of the Diruta Church. You’ll spy its towering arch on approach to the village; soak up the history with a walk around the site.
7. Bar Zolletta – Located in the heart of the village is the locals’ favorite café: Bar Zolletta. Swing by for a quick lunchtime espresso or late-afternoon aperitivo – whatever the time of day, you’re sure to be in good company.
8. Wonder Grottole House – This newly renovated building is home to Airbnb rooms and the local community center. This is where you’ll work with the Wonder Grottole team, welcoming new travelers to the region and helping them transform the village.
9. The Beekeeper’s Place – Set amongst the olive trees and buried deep in a field of sunflowers you’ll find Rocco’s colorful beehives. Here, thousands of bees work to produce the region’s most delicious honey.
10. D’Aria Oil Mill – Located on the edge of the village, the oil mill is where the D’Aria family produces its delicious extra virgin oil. Using ancient techniques – and a few family secrets – Giuseppe and his son Vincenzo transform olives to oil.

Meet the Community


Hair stylist, beekeeper and saffron producer, Rocco is the heart and soul of Grottole. If you can’t find him in his shop, then try the fields. He will be there taking care of his beloved bees!


From a strong line of olive oil producers, Vincenzo is in love with the land he works on. He grew up in Grottole and you can always find him at the oil mill selecting the best olives to press with his dad Giuseppe.


Rosa is the best cook in town. Her door is always open if you get a sudden craving for pasta. She will be waiting for you in her kitchen where she will teach you how to prepare delicious Italian dishes.


Andrea is the Founder of Wonder Grottole, a social enterprise specialized in urban regeneration. Visit the local community center to help him with his project and find out what he's doing to revitalize the town’s historical centre.

Get Inspired By Grottole

Airbnb Reveals the Dream Destinations for an Extended Sabbatical Stay Airbnb Reveals the Dream Destinations for an Extended Sabbatical Stay

Get inspired by these stunning Homes in the top ten most sought after countries to take a sabbatical.

Meet the Hosts Breathing New Life into an Italian Village Meet the Hosts Breathing New Life into an Italian Village

Dive into a spotlight on some of the incredible hosts that are the linchpin behind Airbnb’s Italian Sabbatical.

Discover Lesser-known Italy with Airbnb Discover Lesser-known Italy with Airbnb

Explore top tips to enjoy the hidden corners in and around Matera – this year’s European Capital of Culture.

Selection process ended and results will be available to the public on May 7, 2019. All applicants will be notified via email by April 29, 2019.

For the full terms and conditions for the Italian Sabbatical, click here. For the Selection Rules, Terms of Use, and the Privacy and Cookies Policy, click the relevant links. For translated versions of the Selection Rules, see the following: Dutch · French · German · Italian · Japanese · Portuguese · Spanish (Latin America) · Spanish (Spain)