Years ago, my wife and I traveled to Venice with our son when he was only a few months old, and during our time there, I’d estimate that 98-99% of the Italians we encountered squeezed his cheeks. At one point I wondered, “Don’t these people have any babies of their own?” It turns out that the answer to that is, “Maybe not.” Like many countries, Italy is facing the demographic challenges associated with an aging society. But one region has managed to reverse the trend. Do they offer a model for other places around the world with a serious need for piĆ¹ bambini. NYT (Gift Article): What Happened When This Italian Province Invested in Babies. “Full houses have increasingly become history in Italy, which has one of the lowest birthrates in Europe and where Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, as well as Pope Francis, has warned that Italians are in danger of disappearing. But the Alto Adige-South Tyrol area and its capital, Bolzano, more than any other part of the country, bucked the trend and emerged as a parallel procreation universe for Italy, with its birthrate holding steady over decades. The reason, experts say, is that the provincial government has over time developed a thick network of family-friendly benefits, going far beyond the one-off bonuses for babies that the national government offers.” I’m glad they’re figuring it out, because the bambino I brought over is now headed to college. (Still has the cute cheeks, though.)