If you’ve always wanted to own an Italian castle but aren’t related to a minor royal/don’t have hundreds of thousands of pounds/are just… a normal person, you are in LUCK.
That’s because the Italian government are giving away – for free! – hundreds of old buildings including, yes, castles. You’ll also be able to get your hands on monasteries, inns, towers, farmhouses: loads of really old stuff, basically.
Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage is giving away the historic buildings because it wants to “boost slow tourism” and move visitors away from cramped city centres.
Cities like Venice have already put a bunch of policies in place to stop so many tourists crowding its streets. ‘People counters’ have been installed at major tourist attractions across the city to help ease congestion, and a widescale social media campaign has been launched to advertise lesser known, less crowded places to visit.
Roberto Reggi, who works at the State Property Agency, said that the project was an attempt to “promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector”.
He added: "The goal is for private and public buildings which are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists, and cyclists."
There is a massive catch, obviously, and the massive catch is that it’s not actually really free at all and will involve quite a lot of work and probably require a pretty solid working knowledge of how to renovate a really old building in order to make it tourist-friendly and profitable.
So if you have the time, energy and money to completely renovate a historic building and potentially transform it into a hotel, spa or other tourist-appropriate building… go for it, I guess?