Free Castles & Villas: Italy is Giving Away Over 100 Historic Properties

Anyone who has dreamed of retiring from the rat race to run a grand estate hotel, rural farmhouse bed and breakfast, quaint inn or remote monastery spa could see their wish come true in this unprecedented giveaway from the Italian government.

As part of its Strategic Tourist Plan, Italy is offering up 103 historic sites to those with the will and means to renovate them back into use for tourism purposes. And this is just the initial offering: 200 more are slated to be given away over the coming years.

The State Property Agency and Ministry of Cultural Heritage are leading the project, aiming to draw visitors to beautiful areas with currently disused architecture. In some cases, a lot of work is needed, but that’s the nature of centuries-old structures.

State employee Roberto Reggi says “The project will promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector. The goal is for private and public buildings which are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists, and cyclists.”

The country has previously auctioned off historic properties, including dozens of lighthouses, with similar goals in mind, but this time they are making it all free, banking on the long-term prospects of the renovations to raise funds for local businesses and the national economy (via Inhabitat).