Italy is giving away 103 historic sites, including ancient castles, inns, villas, monasteries, and farmhouses, as part of its Strategist Tourist Plan. The catch? You have to commit to renovating and transforming the site into a hotel, restaurant, spa, or anything that’ll attract tourists.
Italy has the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and it’s practically overflowing with historic castles, monasteries, and churches, but tourists only visit a few of them. This project is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the State Property Agency in a bid to help the less-explored historic sites receive an influx of tourists, which will benefit the local economy.
“The project will promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector,” State Property Agency employee Roberto Reggi told The Local. “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 government is targeting entrepreneurs and groups under 40 for the initiative. Those with a clear plan for transforming a site into a tourist facility will get a lease for nine years, with an option to renew it for another nine once it expires. Applicants with a concrete proposal who can demonstrate an ability to heavily invest in the site can get a 50-year lease.
You can read the full details of the initiative (in Italian) on the State Property Agency’s website. Applications are open until June 26, 2017. After the 103 properties are taken, the government plans to give away an additional 200 buildings over the next two years.