by Graham Pierrepoint
Who doesn’t like the idea of owning their own castle, chateau, farmhouse or even ancient monastery? Sure, they may not be at the top of your average contemporary homeowners’ to-buy list, but if someone was to offer you a castle for free, would you necessarily turn it down? Maybe not – and it seems that you’re in luck if you’re Italy bound, as there is a current campaign in place to offload over 100 different properties from centuries gone by in a bid to revolutionize tourism in the country.
Whether you fancy a rural farmhouse or a centuries-old castle that just needs a bit of sprucing up – Italian officials will see you right with a historical building that you can take up for absolutely nothing – providing, however, you do something for them, and indeed Italian tourism, in return. Always read the small print, we say – and the small print this time around involves you really making the property you receive your livelihood – and for the good of Italy!
Providing you make a commitment to bringing your free castle (terms apply) up to code and transform said building into a tourist hotspot, you won’t have to part with a cent – making it a rather lucrative deal for anyone looking for a big project somewhere on the continent. While the idea of running a business in return for a free chateau or farmhouse may not appeal to everyone, it may well be the opportunity of a lifetime for an experienced hotelier or entrepreneur interested in capitalizing on bringing more tourism to rural Italy.
It’s thought that Italian officials want to bring more interest in to the countryside and oft-forgotten rural side to the country so that business can be equally distributed beyond the tourist-friendly cities and beach resorts along the coastline and on the mainland. Some of the buildings on offer really are majestic – dating back as far as the 11th century – meaning that anyone with enough money and gumption to bring genuine history back to life could really stand to make a go of it with a free castle or ancient building to boot.
If this sounds like your idea of a fun project, bear in mind you’ll need to foot the bills for renovation yourself – and you won’t get your hands on a free turret or two until you can guarantee and prove to the Italian government that you will transform your castle into an all-singing, all-dancing tourist resort. If you’re up to the challenge – the tourist board would like to hear from you!