Airbnb invites guests to stay in an idyllic Italian village of Grottole for a whole summer, for free

Four travellers are going to be given an all-expenses-paid sabbatical to live and work alongside locals in the hillside town of Grottole, in southern Italy, for a whole summer.

It's an initiative by Airbnb and local non-profit Wonder Grottole that hopes to help save the village from disappearing.

The hillside village, located in the Basilicata region, is home to only 300 inhabitants in its historic centre, with more than 600 houses sitting empty.

"Our dream is to repopulate the historical centre," Silvio Donadio, founder of Wonder Grottole, says in a statement.

"In 10 years we'd like to see the village full of people from different cultures perfectly integrated with the local community."

Airbnb says the four travellers selected for the trip will be "transformed from tourists into temporary citizens of the village". They'll learn to speak Italian, help run the community vegetable garden and be taught how to cook delicious Italian dishes made from produce they will have grown themselves.

While they'll recieve free accommodation, sabbatical participants will not be paid a salary and proceeds from the events they lead will be reinvested into Wonder Grottole. However, they will be paid back for "reasonable food expenses and other basic living costs" up to a maximum of 900 euros (NZ$1521) per month when the receipts are received, reports CNBC.

Grottole is described as a "quiet place with slow living" and its summer months take place during New Zealand's winter.

The Airbnb travellers will stay in the town from June to August. Applications are open now.