SAN GIOVANNI LIPIONI, ITALY - 28 DECEMBER 2023: Maria Monaco (93) warms her hands by the chimney fire in her home in San Giovanni Lipioni, Italy, on December 28th 2023. Mrs Monaco co-founded the Waldensian Church in San Giovanni Lipioni in 1962. Her grandfather had emigrated to Pittsburg, where he had converted to Protestantism. Upon his return to San Giovanni Lipioni, he was nicknamed "Lu prutistant" (the protestatnt, in the local dialect).
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.