Town Welcomes Its First Baby Since 1987
Ostana in northern Italy can now claim 85 residents
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2016 4:45 AM CST

(Newser) – Since the birth of baby Pablo last Friday, the hillside village of Ostana in northern Italy has rejoiced over the arrival of its 85th resident—and a remarkable arrival he is. After seeing its population drop dramatically from more than 1,000 a century ago, not a single child has been born in Ostana since 1987, though the population has actually grown slightly from its lowest point of just five permanent residents in the '80s, reports The Local. To celebrate the addition of Pablito, the town—perched in the shadow of the 12,600-foot Monte Viso—is throwing a party Saturday and has even erected a model stork with a blue bundle in its beak, reports La Stampa.

The couple, Spaniard Jose Berdugo Vallelago and his wife Silvia Rovere, from nearby Verzuolo, had actually been on the verge of moving to the tropical French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean a few years ago, but Ostana offered Vallelago a job running the local mountain refuge, and the family stayed. Baby Pablo is their third child after Clara, who is 6, and Alice, who is 4. He was born in a hospital in nearby Turin. Ostana's situation is echoed in other small towns across Italy, which find themselves battling dramatic population declines as people move to larger cities for work, reports the BBC. It points to some nontraditional moves those towns are taking: In Sellia, the mayor has "banned" villagers from falling ill. (See how this town is trying to convince its fertile residents to make more babies.)