Reader's Digest Asia Pacific
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Ever fancied having your own Italian castle? Or how about a monastery? Well, now you can lease one absolutely free, because the Italian government is giving away more than 100 historic buildings.
The catch is you must commit to transforming your new (and rundown) property into a tourist facility, such as a hotel, restaurant or spa. The aim is to promote lesser-known areas, luring tourists away from overcrowded attractions in the cities and into regional surrounds. Successful applicants will be granted a nine-year lease to bring each project to fruition, with renewal options. After the initial 103 properties released this year – 44 of which are along historic or religious walking routes; 59 along cycle paths – a further 200 are set to be included over the next two years.
“The goal is for private and public buildings that are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists and cyclists,” says Roberto Reggi, the director of the State Property Agency.