The pandemic has put economies around the world in dire straits, leading to large-scale bailouts and relief programs. One town in Italy, however, is getting creative when it comes to wiggling out of its tough financial situation. Castellino del Biferno, a small town of 550 people, about 160 miles southeast of Rome, has started printing its own “Ducati” bills and distributing them to the town’s most vulnerable residents.
Worth one euro each, people can then redeem the Ducati bills for essential goods at shops, much like food stamps. Every two weeks businesses can return the bills to the town, and receive an equivalent number of Euros.
According to Enrico Fratangelo, the town’s mayor, “We decided to mint money to make sure the local economy could withstand the impact of the situation. However small this economy may be, there are three or four businesses still open, without considering bars or pubs.”
The initiative is the result of a $6,000 cash grant from the Italian government, designed to set up a food voucher program for the town’s lower income residents.
The banknotes feature pictures of local attractions, and 4,000 of them have already been redeemed at the town’s butcher store, euronews reported.