Have you ever dreamed of owning or living in a castle? If yes, then here’s your chance!
You might thank Italy’s State Property Agency which is there to help you realize this dream, and free of charge! The country is giving away more than 100 historic buildings, including ancient castles, old houses, monasteries, towers, and farmhouses for free.
Yes, you read that right. However, there is a small detail that you must know of before you pack your bags for Italy. Anyone who acquires one of these abandoned historic buildings is obligated to convert it into a tourist facility such as a hotel or spa.
The project is part of Italy’s Strategic Tourist Plan that has been recently announced by the State Property Agency and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage.
This is done in order to help relieve the pressure from overcrowded tourist destinations such as Rome, Venice, Milan, and Florence. Roberto Reggi, from the State Property Agency, informed The Local that this project would promote the lesser-known areas of Italy and help in the development of the slow tourism sector.
Almost half of these ancient buildings are located along historic or religious walking routes which the agency hopes to promote. The other half is situated along cycling paths. Appian Way and Via Francigena are located among these historic pilgrimage routes that are part of the project.
Appian Way is named after the Roman censor Appius Claudius Caecus. It is claimed to be one of the most ancient roads in the world. It was the first direct route that connected southeastern Italy and Rome. This 353 miles long road is now partially destroyed and gives a beautiful view of the ancient buildings.
The Roman poet Publius Papinius Statius called the Appian Way “the Queen of Roads”. It waits to be restored to its former glory with travelers and tourists thronging its lanes and by lanes.
As far the ownership of these building is concerned, anyone is free to apply and transform the sites into tourist facilities. The owners must submit a full-proof plan detailing how the buildings will be restored and converted into tourist sites.
As reported by The Local, applicants who are successful will be offered a nine-year lease, with the option to renew the contract for additional nine. In some special cases, applicants will be rewarded with a 50-year lease.
Via Francigena (“the road that comes from France”) is another important ancient road and pilgrim route. The starting point of this road in situated in Canterbury, England. This 1120-mile pilgrimage trail covers England, France, Switzerland, and Italy.
Archbishop Sigeric the Serious of Canterbury was the first to undertake the pilgrimage from England to Rome in the 10th century. There is not much hype around pilgrimage these days as it was during medieval era; this is why the Italian government wants to promote this route amongst the travelers.
One of the most beautiful buildings on this list is the 13th-century Castello di Montefiore. Among the 103 sites available, it is the most coveted one.
The Castello di Blera in Lazio, near Rome, is also on the list. It was built by members of some nobility in the 11th century; the castle certainly hasn’t lost its medieval charm.