Where Do I Sign? Italy Is Giving Away Castles For Free
If you're like me, you look at a movie scene where the characters are spotted knocking back drinks at a sick castle and think, 'I want to be there'.
Well, that dream could soon be a reality if you've got what it takes.
The Italian Government has more than a hundred historical buildings that need a bit of Changing Rooms treatment. When I say they are literally giving them away, I mean it in the strictest literal sense. The buildings are being given away for free.
One of the places up for grabs. Credit: Agenzia del Demanio
The only catch is that you have to be prepared to transform the buildings and surrounding land into something that will attract visitors.
So, if you've ever wanted to open a themed hotel or tourist attraction in a slick Italian building, the timing couldn't be better. I'm thinking water slides all over the interior.
The government is hoping the strategy will pull tourists to lesser known areas, instead of overcrowding destinations like Rome or Venice.
Forty-four of the sites are located along historic or religious walking routes, with the rest found along cycle paths.
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Credit: Agenzia del Demanio
Successful applicants will have a contract with the property for nine years and the opportunity to renew if the business is successful. If the project does start flying, the government has a further 200 properties earmarked for inclusion in the next two years.
It's not the first time the Italian government has sold off properties. The Lighthouse Project aimed to auction off about 30 historic lighthouses (in case you needed that explaining), hoping entrepreneurs would transform the buildings into hotels or other tourist facilities.
But an initiative announced this month went a bit pear-shaped. An Italian village offered prospective people €2,000 (£1,700) to live there.
Located in the mountainous region of Liguria, in north-west Italy, Bormida is populated by only 394 people who all live simple lives, according to the Daily Mail.
Because it's so sparsely populated, rent has been lowered to as little as €12.50 (£10.70) a week to try and boost the number of people who live there.
Mayor Daniele Galliano posted the idea to Facebook and was overwhelmed with the response. He's since deleted the post and had to back track a little. He said: "My idea was to propose to the Liguria Region, with whom they are in contact, and extended only on a national level.
"The news was reported, however, in the wrong way and reached a worldwide audience.
"Italy is a wonderful country but, like others in the economic crisis, today they are followed by more than 17,000 people and, unfortunately, it's not really possible to find help for everyone."
Thousands of people were willing to take up the offer but clearly the town couldn't accommodate everyone or pay them each €2,000 (£1,700).
Featured Image Credit: Agenzia del Demanio