SAN GIOVANNI LIPIONI, ITALY - 28 DECEMBER 2023: Daniela Palomba, a 31-year-old pharmacist, poses for a portrait with her 4-years-old son Raffaele in her pharmacy in San Giovanni Lipioni, Italy, on December 28th 2023.
Mrs Palomba purchased the pharmacy of San Giovanni Lipioni on auction from the municipality. Originally from the Molise region, Mrs Palomba spent her teenage years and started her career as a pharmacist in Rome. After marrying, she wanted to relocate to the Molise region with her husband, but couldn't find work. After purchasing the pharmacy, she relocated when she was 3 months pregnant to San Giovanni Lipioni, a town she didn't know. Relocating for her was dramatic: there were very few residents and nothing to do. Her 4-years-old son Raffaele oftens complains he is bored and there isn't anything to do in town.
San Giovanni Lipioni, an Italian town with a population of 136 in the Abruzzo region, set the record for the highest average age in the country at 66.1 years. The national average, according to a 2022 census by ISTAT, is 46.2 years old, making Italy the oldest country in Europe. Italy has also the lowest birth rate in Europe. San Giovanni Lipioni has experienced depopulation due to emigration in the 20th century and struggles to attract young people. However, some initiatives are being made to combat the decline, such as promoting tourism and repurposing abandoned buildings.