Italy Giving Away Castles, With One Little Condition

103 historic properties up for grabs, for free, with a catch
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2017 12:48 PM CDT
Want a Castle in Italy for Free? It's Not Impossible
Castello di Montefiore   (Agenzia del Demanio)

Looking for a challenge, free real estate, and a chance to brush up on your Italian? Italy has a deal for you: The State Property Agency is giving away 103 historic buildings—think farmhouses, convents, school houses, post offices, and even castles—located along cycling paths and eight pilgrimage routes, reports the Local. But nothing in life is truly free, so of course there's a condition attached to the giveaway: You have to turn the building into some kind of a tourist attraction. "The project will promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector," says Roberto Reggi of the State Property Agency. "The goal is for private and public buildings which are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists, and cyclists," like hotels or restaurants.

Which, of course, means that the successful applicant will have a business and renovation plan; Travel and Leisure notes that the deadline to apply is June 26, and applicants should be ready to open their doors by summer 2018. Italy is granting applicants the rights to the property for nine years, with the option to renew for another nine, although the Local notes that exceptional proposals could score a 50-year lease. It's not the first such Italian government giveaway—it tried a similar scenario with lighthouses—and it won't be the last: The State Property Agency will be adding another 200 properties to the giveaway pile over the next two years. (You can buy a castle where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn slept.)

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