I've read on a magazine that in Italy there are at least 15000 abandoned or semi-abandoned villages. Often these villages are rather old: they are not considered part of the Italian high value historical heritage but they have however an important historical role as expressions of the Italian rural life. It's the so called minor-historical heritage.
Considering the current crisis Italy is dealing with, I believe that this heritage should be better promoted and used for cultural and touristic goals, new business activities in agriculture, agrofood and handicraft initiatives with positive effects in job creation.
The isolation, which in the past represented a severe burden for these villages, at present can be easily solved by internet. Thus one could imagine new innovative activities without the need to work in a shed in an industrial area.
I've the impression that life in the Italian cities in getting harder and harder both in job and in quality of life terms. Restructuring these villages could be an interesting alternative for work and new kind of life for the people involved. They are a not secondary development potential. I think that it should be better to direct more efforts and resources in restructuring these villages, creating new job opportunities, rather than building new residential areas somewhere. Local administrators should consider their local territorial resources protecting and promoting them rather than eroding these resources with short term and shortsighted politics.
An interesting example of such ideas and possibilities is provided by the restoration project from Sextantio: the web site is here.