The Italian Sabbatical

The journey begins

To save the Italian village of Grottole we invited people from all over the world to move to Southern Italy and volunteer to revitalize the village that is at risk of disappearing

More than 280.000 people applied and 5 candidates were selected to become temporary citizens of Grottole

The Italian Sabbatical

Meet the Volunteers


Aged 24, is a Filipino photographer with extensive volunteering experience. She holds a degree in agriculture and has lived in Melbourne since the age of 17.


Aged 62, is a former project manager with Abruzzese roots. He has discovered a passion for teaching foreign languages and now dedicates himself to this full-time.


Aged 45, is a cultural guide from Canada. She grew up in a houseboat in British Columbia until she was 7. Today Helena works in tourism, introducing travellers to tango in Argentina.


Aged 61, is a former New York firefighter. He recently learnt that his grandparents came from Grottole.


Aged 36, is a software engineer and host on Airbnb. He has Italian roots but was born and raised in Buenos Aires. This will be Pablo's first experience living outside a city.

Discover their stories

A Day in The Life of an Italian Sabbatical Volunteer

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 Mario

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

Cooking lesson and lunch with Enza

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

Learn the art of beekeeping

Discover the secrets of beekeeping and train to become the perfect Experience co-host.

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.

The Italian Sabbatical: Discover More

A Day in Grottole A Day in Grottole

See what our five volunteers will experience day-to-day in Grottole.

Meet the Volunteers Meet the Volunteers

Get to know the five adventurers who are about to make a big impact on a small village.

Grottole Hosts & Homes Grottole Hosts & Homes

Meet the hosts in the tiny community of Grottole who are taking part in the Italian Sabbatical.

The Italian Sabbatical

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.

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)