Italy is giving away more than 100 historic buildings across the country including castles, farmhouses and monasteries.
There’s a catch: Recipients of the free buildings must agree to transform them into tourist attractions, like hotels, restaurants or shops. Italy is specifically looking for entrepreneurs younger than 40 to transform the locations.
“The project will promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector,” Roberto Reggi from the State Property Agency told The Local Italy. “The goal is for private and public buildings which are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists, and cyclists.”
The properties are located along eight historic pilgrimage or walking routes — like the Appian Way, which connects Rome to the south, or Via Francigena, which goes from Rome to the northern border.
Included on the list of 103 buildings are old school houses, inns and palaces. On the more lavish end of the list is the Castello di Blera, an 11th-century castle in Lazio which is located on a cliff and still retains many of its original medieval features. There’s also the Torre della Bastiglia, not far from Bologna, which was built in the 12th century to protect and look out over a nearby castle. Or, for those looking for something in town, there’s a former post office in the center of the medieval village of Casertavecchia.
Applicants must present a proposal for the building, detailing how they will transform it into a tourist attraction. The government will then award successful applicants rights to the property for nine years, with the option to extend for an additional nine years. The new owners of the buildings should be ready to start operations by next summer.
The deadline for applications is June 26.
For those who miss this deadline, Italy will introduce another 200 properties to the list within the next two years.