• Italy's news in English
Italy mountain town celebrates first baby in 28 years
An Italian town is celebrating its first baby in 28 years. Photo: FrancoFranco56/Wikimedia

Italy mountain town celebrates first baby in 28 years

Patrick Browne · 28 Jan 2016, 11:51

Published: 28 Jan 2016 11:51 GMT+01:00

Just six days old, little Pablito became the youngest resident of Ostana when his father took him to the local registry office earlier this week: an event which caused the town's population to swell to 85 inhabitants - of which just 41 live there all year round.

“It's great to finally have someone born here and it shows that our efforts to reverse population decline are slowly working," Ostana Mayor Giacomo Lombardo told The Local.

Lombardo explained that 100 years ago the town was a flourishing mountain community with over 1,000 inhabitants. The population fell to 700 in the post-war years before going into a rapid decline.

“The nadir was reached in the 1980s when the population hit an all-time low of just five permanent residents,” Lombardo said.

But since then the mayor has been working to improve the economy of the town to attract young people and reverse its slide towards becoming a ghost-town.

Today, the town has two restaurants, a shop and bar in addition to its mountain refuge.

In a newly built multi-purpose space, a cinema school runs each year, which manages to attract tens of young people from across Italy.

“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.

“But we are hanging on in there and planning a party on Sunday to celebrate our latest arrival.”

But the new arrival was very nearly born thousands of kilometers away.

A few years ago the child's parents, Josè Berdugo Vallelago, a 36-year-old immigrant from Spain and Silvia Rovere, a 41-year-old from the nearby town of Verzuolo, were planning to go and live and work on the tropical French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

Story continues below…

The pair had even bought plane tickets, but changed their plans at the last minute, when Ostana's council offered them a job running the local mountain refuge.

Picturesque: Monviso. Photo Luca Galli/Flickr

Standing in the shadow of the 3800-meter giant Monviso, the picturesque town is a popular place with hikers – even if very few people still live there.

"We never regretted our decision," Vallelago told La Stampa. "This place immediately felt like home."  

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Patrick Browne (patrick.browne@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'20 to 30' people dead in new migrant shipwreck: report
The latest disaster comes two days after five people died while trying to make the crossing to Italy. Photo: Marinare Militare

About 20 to 30 people have drowned in the latest migrant shipwreck off Libya, Italian media reported.

Italians plea to adopt baby orphaned in migrant tragedy
Migrants await rescue off the Libyan coast on Wednesday. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

After the baby girl's parents died at sea, hundreds of Italians have asked to adopt the baby girl.

Purrfect: cat-filled beach is a top tourist spot in Sardinia
A remote Sardinian beach home to 60 cats, has been named one of Sardinia's best tourist attractions. Photo: I Gatti Su Pallosu

Visitors think the cat sanctuary near the tiny fishing hamlet of Su Pallosu is the cat's whiskers.

Huge sinkhole in city centre will cost Florence €5 million
Photo: Claudio Giovannini/AFP

The accident is thought to be down to human error.

India allows accused Italian marine to go home
Italian marines Salvatore Girone (L) and Massimiliano Latorre (R) pictured in Kochi, India, in December 2012. Photo: Strdel/AFP

Under his new bail conditions, Salvatore Girone must return to Delhi within one month if the PCA rules that he face trial in India.

Striking pictures capture moment of migrant shipwreck

The operation wound up late on Wednesday without finding any further survivors or victims.

Two men jailed in Italy for social media terror threats
The threats were accompanied by photos of the monuments and written in Italian, French and Arabic. Photo: Jason Howie/Flickr

The two men had downloaded an online "manual" which covered the production of home-made explosives, carrying weapons and operating clandestinely on the internet.

Five migrants dead in shipwreck: Italian navy
500 people were pulled to safety and seven bodies recovered after a heavily crowded boat overturned off the Libyan coast. Photo: Gabriel Buoys/AFP

UPDATED: The navy said at least 550 people had been pulled to safety but added that the rescue operation was still underway and that the death toll could rise.

Italians petition to save paradise island's hermit
Some call it home: the island of Budelli, Sardinia. Photo: Luca Giudicatti

"Without him, the island's ecosystem would be severely compromised by now."

Italy finds 'body-filled' wreck of WWII submarine
Italian divers have located the wreck of a T-class Second World War submarine. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Experts say the bodies of 71 servicemen are still sealed inside the airtight submarine.

How the brutal murder of an anti-mafia hero altered Sicily
These are the best beaches within easy reach of Rome
Why Italians are falling out of love with the EU
Business & Money
Foreign, female and a self-made success in arduous Italy
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
How Italy's richest region is feeling the migrant strain
Rome mulls 'metro museum' after new line unearths ruin
Why Italy's facing a birth rate apocalypse
Why talk of barriers is opening up old wounds in South Tyrol
Huge Roman villa found under Amalfi church set to open
Two men kicked off plane in what captain calls 'racist act'
Meet the expats making a career out of Italian food
'Staying single is why I'm the world's oldest person'
Where can you find the best beaches in Italy?
The ultimate guide to the insanity of driving in Italy
Eight of Rome's most tantalizing foreign food gems
Migrant arrivals in Italy top 30,000 for 2016: navy
Italy’s deadliest earthquakes over the last 100 years
US passports now need six months validity for Italy
Six incredible ways Italy profoundly changed my life
Cheese, wine and family: the Italian way to live beyond 100
7 breathtaking alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
Long-term Brit in Italy barred from EU vote vows to fight on
jobs available