Newborn babies are always welcomed as a sign of thriving local population, Source: Depositphotos

First baby cries in this Italian town after more than half a century

First baby cries in this Italian town after more than half a century

Every bit of good news for rapidly depopulating rural Italy is a sign of hope for revival

These days, Italian media outlets are joyfully reporting that a new baby was born in the small hamlet of Canedo, part of the Romagnese municipality in the north of the country. What’s unusual about this birth is that it is the first such in 57 years in that municipality.

The baby in question is a healthy girl, weighing 3 kilos and 600 grams, named Marghelisa. And ironically, if it wasn’t for the COVID pandemic her arrival into the world might have taken place in the nearby and larger city of Pavia, where her parents used to reside before the lockdowns.

Although they do not work in Romagnese and have to drive to work in other places, they are committed to their decision to settle there was the right one given the different pace of life and connection to a sense of community.

A child mascot for Romagnese

Marghelisa has become something of a mascot for Romagnese, a municipality that numbers about 580 residents (and even half of that in winter), as a symbol of hope that depopulation trends can be reversed.

Manuel Achille, the local mayor, described the situation succinctly to Corriere della Sera:

Canedo is semi-abandoned, other places are completely so - depopulation is inexorable, for decades people have been going to the city. After Covid, the desire to come and live in Romagnese, in the hamlets, is back in vogue. There are those who also buy houses. We as an administration encourage people to come by redeveloping the paths, and focusing on the "green". We have returned to being attractive in terms of quality of life, which in the villages is certainly higher than in the city. This little girl is a ray of sunshine, hope for the future.”

His words, and the media attention, reveal the now common anxiety felt by many in Italy that the countryside is doomed to decay, starved of its human inhabitants that keep on the traditions and economy alive.

The hamlet of Canedo might be a beacon of hope, not only with the news of the newborn child but also because there’s an agricultural cooperative founded after an idea by some Milanese students. The animals graze freely, and agriculture respects the environment. Organic wines are also produced. Can the new sustainable consciousness and spirit taking over Europe also inspire people to rediscover the countryside? Time will tell.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU