Italy has an aura of eternal romance that few places in the world have. It is the place where people drink coffee as if they are making love to it. It’s also the place where women are beautiful, men are always well-dressed and the hour of siesta is revered.
Being told that you could get a castle for free sounds like a dream. No scratch that. In a dream, I would still raise my eyebrow skeptically and wait to wake up from a situation that is so unlikely to ever happen.
This romantic, European country is giving away more than 100 stunning properties. The latter range from farmhouses to monasteries and even historic castles. They are being given away so that these properties can be given new life.
The scheme was unveiled by the country’s government-run State Property Agency. There are 103 historic buildings to be given away. They will be given to entrepreneurs who can restore these buildings and turn them into stunning tourist destinations.
The disinhibited properties are situated throughout eight historic routes. Italian officials hope that with this scheme, there will be new facilities available for cyclists, pilgrims, hikers and other touring these routes. It is a way for them to create new attractions in the country.
The concept is being backed by Italy’s Ministry of Tourism. Interested applicants are being asked to submit a proposal with how they plan to restore the building they have their eyes on. Moreover, preference will be given to applicants under the age of 40.
There are no specific rules or instructions as to how the buildings should be restored. It is up to the winning applicant to decide if the building should be turned into a restaurant, a hotel, a museum or whatever else they see fit. So, plans on running around in a castle by yourself are out of the question, sorry.
A representative from the State Property Agency, Roberto Reggi, has spoken about this unique scheme. “The project,” Reggi explained, “will promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector.” “The goal,” he further adds, “is for private and public buildings which are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists, and cyclists.”
There is more to this scheme than breathing new life into abandoned buildings. It seems that the authorities hope to take away some of the light from overcrowded tourist areas in Italy. Places like Rome, Venice, and Florence which are extremely popular with tourists.
The deadline to apply for one of the buildings is June 26. The lucky applicants will have nine years to work on the building. They will also have the chance to extend this period by another nine years after that.
Another similar scheme was implemented in one village in northern Italy. The mayor of this remote mountainous village wanted to boost the population of the place. It seems the village was too remote to attract people to settle there.
Due to this drawback, the mayor of this village used a financial incentive to get people to move there. Mayor Daniele Galliano offered a $2,100 cash incentive and low rent. The scheme worked as the mayor received a slew of requests.
To apply for your own building, you can click here. The application in itself doesn’t seem too complicated. There are only six pages to fill on a Google sheet, making this whole scheme even more unbelievable.
There is one tiny little drawback, however. The application is written in Italian. Apparently, there isn’t an English version available yet. So, unless you know your Italiano, then log on to Google translate and get to work.