It’s not always about chasing the idyllic dream of living la dolce vita in a rural, sleepy village where time stands still.
For some, it’s part of a career change: a radical professional upgrade that comes with a more comfortable lifestyle.
“A partnership has been signed between Argentina’s University of Rosario and our town hall to fill vacancies due to a shortage of doctors in the village hospital, and soon we will have new Argentinian doctors who speak fluent Italian,” Giuseppe Catania, the mayor of Mussolini, told CNN.
The partnership began as a promotional tool to attract foreign investment for Mussolini’s urban regeneration, Catania says, and is now doing more than addressing the healthcare crisis.
“These new doctors are also interested in contributing to the ongoing revitalization projects to breathe new life into our village, including buying and restoring abandoned houses in the historic center, which has been our greatest success.”
In recent years Mussomeli has sold more than 300 affordable properties starting at €5,000 and 150 one-euro homes, luring foreign professionals and smart workers. Many of the new buyers come from Argentina, where Musomelli families immigrated in the 1900s.
‘Taking it easy and slowing down’
A number of Italian-Argentine doctors recently visited Mussomeli to meet authorities, schoolchildren and future colleagues — and to get a sense of the town’s atmosphere.
For Rosario-based ER surgeon Leonardo Roldan, moving to Sicily has a two-fold goal.
“I’m still quite young, 49, so it’s more than just a professional shift in my career: it’s a choice to live a different life, unlike the one I live in Argentina, and to take my family with me.”
Roldan, who previously lived in northern Italy, says he never realized how beautiful Sicily was until he discovered Mussomeli, which also helped dispel some preconceptions about the deep south he picked up while living in the north. .
“Musomeli is a complete break from my everyday reality. It’s another world: quiet, peaceful, where the locals live a simple lifestyle. I’ve realized that we all, at some point in our lives, have to slow down and take it easy, quality. Take more time to savor things.”
For him, Mussomeli is an opportunity to live a slow life and use his free time to enjoy what he loves most: jogging along the ancient hills of a sheep-grazing village and exploring the wonders of Sicily. He compares it to giving fast food to slow food
Roldan plans to move from Argentina with his entire family, including the dog, and is already eyeing some properties.
“Town Hall has done a wonderful job with the affordable housing scheme, and at some point, once I’m settled, I can buy and remodel one as a life project without any rush,” he says.
Initially, he plans to move into a rural house with a garden on the outskirts of Mussomeli, but if his one-year contract is extended he will be happy to embark on a one-euro or cheap house remodeling venture.
“I don’t want it to be an investment, nor to turn it into a boutique or commercial activity. It will be a place I can call home for the future.”
Moving to Mussomeli will allow Roldan to reconnect with his Italian roots, as four of his great-grandfathers immigrated to Argentina from Italy.
A comeback opportunity
Diego Colabianchi is looking forward to his Sicilian adventure.
Diego Colabianchi, an Italian-Argentinian pediatrician in Rosario, says Argentina is going through an economic crisis, which is also a factor in the decision to move. His wife, a gynaecologist, is likely to join the ranks of doctors in Mussomeli as well.
“I studied in Italy, we love and miss living in Italy. The recruitment is an opportunity to go back, and I am thrilled with the prospect of a life change. I have never been to Mussolini before but I really want to. I live there. — The small-scale village world, the peace, it arouses endless curiosity in me.”
Colabianchi says he longs for a new experience in a peaceful setting surrounded by nature and where serving excellent, authentic Sicilian cuisine is another plus point.
“At this point in my life, I can’t even see myself living in Rome, too chaotic. But Muscomelli is perfect, not too small, somewhere between village and city.
“I love its offbeat location, high in the mountains, quite the opposite of the plains of Rosario where I live now. Also, Musomeli is close to the coast; there are hills, olive groves, vineyards, and the farmers make excellent wool.”
The idea of tearing down and renovating a dilapidated property to help revitalize the old district appealed to him. But Colabianchi wants to take it one step at a time.
“The first year in Mussomeli will be spent adjusting to my new environment, but my dream is to stay there and settle down for good, so buying a one-euro house at a certain point or a cheap abandoned house in good condition, really an option.”
‘full of life’
For Buenos Aires-based gastroenterologist Edgardo Trapp, working as a doctor in Mussomelli is a double challenge.
“I want to start doing different things, and seeing different things. Above all, I would like a professional vibe and when I visited Mussomeli, I felt this energy going through the village. It is full of life. .”
Trapp says working in Sicily will allow him to be closer to his children in Europe and fully reconnect with his Sicilian heritage.
“Three of my grandparents came from the city of Caltanissetta, and Mussomeli is part of the same province, so it can’t be just a coincidence.”
Unlike his Rosario colleagues, Trapp has some concerns that Mussolini might be a bit too sleepy for him compared to his current life in Buenos Aires, which he says satisfies him perfectly.
“It’s a small village with a peaceful, quiet atmosphere. Maybe a little too quiet [compared to] What I expected at first, when I visited for the first time, it struck me, but I am happy and look forward to this experience.”
And potentially, once he starts working regularly at the hospital and has a long-term view on his Sicilian investment, Trapp says he could buy and renovate the abandoned house.