Italy Is Giving Away Free Castles – But There’s A Catch

By Carmarlena Murdaca

VENICE, ITALY - 2015/09/05: Scenic view of the Grand Canal. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
VENICE, ITALY - 2015/09/05: Scenic view of the Grand Canal. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Italy is giving away 103 historic villas and castles for those looking to develop them into something other than what they have become – crumbling landmarks.

The catch? Recipients of the properties must agree to transform the buildings into something that enhances tourism, positively affecting the nation’s growth. Suggestions for the sites include hotels, restaurants, shops, spas or luxury villas, with the country focused on entrepreneurs for this experimental endeavour.

According to The Local Italy, the country is hoping this initiative, dubbed the Strategic Tourist Plan, will promote the development of tourism throughout the country (and not just in its tourist-heavy areas such as Lake Como, Tuscany and Milan). The plan is also aimed at relieving the strain and overcrowding the country’s most popular cities are experiencing.

To receive a free property, applicants will need to submit a proposal outlining their plans to transform the heritage sites. Recipients will have the right to own their respective properties for up to nine years, with the option to renew their contracts for a further nine years. In some cases, entrepreneurs with an inspiring proposal could receive up to a 50-year lease.

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