That dream of dropping everything and opening a B&B in Italy?
It’s just become a little more realistic.
And a little more fairytale all at the same time.
Italy has decided to give away over a hundred properties (several of them actual castles, people) in an effort to lessen the tourist congestion in the most popular areas and spread it around a bit to some off-the-beaten track destinations.
If you want one of these babies — there are old convents, farmhouses, schoolhouses, villas, inns and even defense towers up for grabs too — you’ll be expected to commit to transforming it into a hotel, a spa, a restaurant, or some other kind of tourist facility.
Hardly a drawback for you future bed and breakfasters, I’d say!
I don’t know about you, but I see this:
and I’m already vision-boarding interior design plans and asking myself what wallpaper goes best with parapets.
The properties are located along cycling and historic or religious pilgrimage routes throughout the country, including the Appian Way (an ancient Roman road that connected Rome to Brindisi) and the Via Francigena (an ancient pilgrim route between Rome and France). Some are also on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
Check out exactly what’s on offer here. (Scroll down just past the map of Italy.)
Now, this news has been floating around social media lately, so we decided to look into it a bit. Because what’s the catch, right?
Well, it is legit, but there’s always some fine print, isn’t there?
So for those of you who are seriously considering taking Italy up on this, you should know that:
- You don’t really get one of these properties to keep — it’s more like Italy is lending them out. If your application is accepted, you are given the property for an initial nine years, with the possibility of extending it for another nine years (and if your idea is seriously amazing, for 50 years).
- The available properties fall under two different categories. Some are available only to already-established companies, co-ops, and associations made up mostly of people under 40 years of age. To be eligible for these, you have to provide a concrete plan for how you’re going to restore and transform the properties, but you don’t have to have a minimum amount of money in the bank. The others are open to application by private individuals of any age, but these individuals must demonstrate that they have the means to pay for their proposed transformation and restoration up front.
- None of the information about this giveaway has been translated into English yet, so you’d have to hire a translator if you’re serious about applying, to understand all of the ins and outs, and also to submit your proposal — all applications must be in Italian and translations must be certified.
The actual call for bids for these properties is planned for next summer, but in the meantime, the State Property Agency is inviting anyone interested to fill in their online questionnaire by June 26th to become a part of the community, be updated about the contest, and to contribute to the conversation with suggestions and ideas.
So you’ve got about a year to start turning your pie-in-the-sky dreams into reality.
Is anyone going to do this? We want to hear from you in the comments, because hello, fairytale come true!
With love + parapets,
Bianca + the Italian Fix Team
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