Daily Management Review

Tiny Italian Mountain Town Celebrates Birth of First Baby in 28 Years


Tiny Italian Mountain Town Celebrates Birth of First Baby in 28 Years
New born Baby Pablo sent residents celebrating in a small town in northern Italy as it is the first baby in the town since the 1980s.
The new arrival is a "dream come true" for the tiny community, which has seen its population plummet over the past 100 years, said Giacomo Lombardo, the mayor of Ostana, which lies in the mountains of the Piedmont region.
“It's great to finally have someone born here and it shows that our efforts to reverse population decline are slowly working," Lombardo said.
With the birth of Baby Pablo, the number of inhabitants of the town increased to 85. Baby Pablo was born in a Turin hospital last week. Local news papers reported that of the 85 inhabitants of the town, just half of them actually live there permanently.
A steady drop in the birth rate began after World War Two even as the number of residents in the town in 1900s was around 1,000, says mayor Giacomo Lombardo. The population fell to 700 in the post-war years before going into a rapid decline
"The real decline started in 1975, with 17 babies between 1976 and 1987, when the last boy was born - until little Pablo," he says.
“The nadir was reached in the 1980s when the population hit an all-time low of just five permanent residents,” Lombardo said.
With an effort to create new jobs, Ostana is trying to reverse the depopulation trend. Pablo would not have been the newest resident of the town as Pablo's parents, Silvia and Jose, had themselves planned to move abroad five years ago they were however persuaded to stay back after they were offered the chance to manage the nearby mountain refuge.
At present the town has two restaurants, a shop and bar in addition to its mountain refuge
“The problem is that there is really an absence of politics to help small mountain communities – we are a long way from Rome,” Lombardo said.
Many are of the view that the birth of the baby and the story of the family bodes well for other mountain communities.
"They are individual choices, but they multiply," says Marco Bussone from The National Union of Mountain Towns and Communities. Bussone claims that measures and new rules such as tax exemptions for businesses to help communities to regenerate should be put in place.
As young people move out to find work, small towns across Italy are battling against depopulation. While one mayor focused his efforts on stopping the existing population from declining by "banning" residents from falling ill, some others have tried to reverse the trend by giving away empty houses for free.
According to newspaper La Stampa a model stork at the entrance to the town with a small blue bundle in its beak and a party in Ostana marked the celebrations for the arrival of Pablo.
Six day old Pablo became the 85th resident of the town when his father took him to the local registry office earlier this week.