Ever felt like quitting the 9-5 job in the cubicle, and leaving the rat race of the city behind for a more relaxed, healthier lifestyle on a stunning island in the Mediterranean where you would ‘live off the land’? If the only thing holding you back from that scenario was not having the cash for the land then you obviously have not heard about the southern Dalmatian island of Lastovo….
The local Church, who are the largest land owners on the island of Lastovo, are almost giving away fertile land. For just 10 lipa (just over 1 euro cent) one can rent 1m2 of arable land. So what is the catch? The only thing that the landlords insist on is that you will live on the island.
“On the island we have more than 1 million square metres of land, field, forest, hills, which is in the Church’s ownership. There is a lot of good, fertile land and its a shame that it goes to waste. So, with the blessing of our Bishop, we are renting it out. 10 lipa (0.01 EUR) per square metre. If you take less than 50 square metres, that is 50 kuna a year (6.50 EUR). There is one condition, you must live on Lastovo,” local Lastovo Parish Priest Stipe Miloš told daily Slobodna Dalmacija, adding that he would like to see more people living on the island, which suffers the same fate as a lot of other Croatian islands with the youth leaving in their droves.
Miloš hopes that the deal will entice people to stay on the island, or move there.
“1,000m2 of some field for one year will cost 100 kuna (13 EUR). Contracts are signed for 29 years and currently we have around 50 Lastovo families who have these deals with interest growing all the time It is good for the island, where the land is worked, the island will live” Miloš said.
So how did the Church get to own so much land? A 14th century Lastovo statute forced families to give one tenth of their earnings to the church, and in over 700 years they have managed to acquire what they have. The island of Lastovo belongs to the central Dalmatian archipelago and is 13 kilometres south of Korčula, the island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the Adriatic Sea and has a population currently just under 1,000.