But there’s a catch…
“ROME—Ever thought about giving up everything and moving to Italy to live in a castle, if only it were free? Well, then Italy’s state property agency has got the online brochure for you. Go ahead, take a look and start dreaming. There’s a majestic castle with its own clock tower available in along the Francigena pilgrim trail in Viterbo on page 179. How about a former convent near the Amalfi Coast on page 193?
Due to an abundance of rundown treasures the state can no longer afford to keep up, Italy is offering up 103 free farmhouses, castles, towers, convents, monasteries and villas.
There is, of course, a catch—or two. You can’t just fix up the rundown ruins for yourself. To acquire the property, you have to promise to develop it into a tourist entity. You can turn it into a hotel or spa, a restaurant or a special spot catering to pilgrims or cyclists. And the properties have to be returned to their former glory, which means no lofts added on to the turrets and no sun rooms on the windowless castles.”