In Calabria, several villages, deserted by their inhabitants, were resurrected after opening their doors to refugees.
Riace, a small rural village lost in the middle of Calabria in southern Italy, was destined for obscurity due to a massive exodus of its inhabitants. Today, it has been repopulated through immigration.
Around 6,000 refugees have passed through the village over the years. Many move on, but some of them stay and try to start their own craft or retail businesses. In the 17 years since the first arrivals, many old buildings have been refurbished to provide accommodation. Schools have also been reopened for children but also adults.
It is the same story in another village in Calabria, Satriano, which has received around 20 migrants: “The presence of refugees can be an opportunity to repopulate the town,” says Satriano’s mayor, Michele Drosi. “It can create a virtuous cycle.”