Whether you are inspired by the recent movie King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, or always have the dream to lead your own ‘kingdom’ complete with your very own castle, you’d be glad to know that Italy is now giving away over 100 run-dow properties, including a handful of castles, for free. I know right? It is hard to believe anyone can own a castle for absolutely nothing. Well, actually not quite. As many economists will tell you, there’s no such thing as a free lunch and therein lies the caveat: you see, those 103 properties are exactly as described, i.e. run-down, which means restoration is a must, but you have to restore it anyway because that is one of the conditions laid out by Italy’s State Property Agency in exchange for the free property.
By accepting any of the properties offered, you are obligated to restore it with the purpose of turning it into a tourist destination. So, as you can imagine, your dream ‘kingdom’ won’t be behind iron curtains and obviously, the drawbridge, if it has one, will not for fending off intruding enemies. However, the authority is giving you the freedom of expression, which means you are free to turn the property into a resort, spa, hotel, or whatever you have in mind. In other words, you can reap the financial benefit, if any, to recuperate the money you have spent on restoring and maintaining the property. Who knows? You might actually earn some income from it too.
But that’s not all there is to it. Actually there’s another catch-22 here: successful applicants only get nine years to work on restoring and running the chosen property which, depending on how much you spent on it and the value of your attraction, it may or may not be enough time to recover your outlay. Though there is a possibility of extending yet another nine years, but I won’t take that into consideration when crunching the numbers until I have read the terms and conditions of the possible extension.
Anywho, if you are up for it, you have until June 26, 2017 to put in your application, but fret not if you don’t make it this round because, Italy has more such projects coming your way over the next two years. In case you are still skeptical, well, rest assure that this giveaway is very real. It was a move to, hopefully, give the slowing tourism in Italy a boost and at the same time, offer a new lease of life to those otherwise forgotten architectures. If the plan pans out, it will provide visitors and tourists with more places to go to and thereby relieving overcrowding in the country’s popular places.
Images: Italy’s State Property Agency.
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