Italy has always had a powerful charm, enticing people to its shores from all over the globe. The lure of the wonderful climate, unique history and culture, not to mention the cuisine and wines, all combine to make Italy a superb choice as a destination for a holiday, a second home or a commercial investment opportunity.

The initiative by the Italian government offers some exceptional opportunities in Italy for the visionary property investor/developer, who takes the long view regarding property investment, and also has fairly deep pockets. Anyone who has dreamed of owning an iconic building steeped in history may be able to realise that dream as there are some of the most unique properties appearing on the market in Italy. The initiative was started in 2015 when the government hoped to ease the economic crisis by selling off some of the most unusual and interesting historical buildings that had been abandoned and/or had fallen into disrepair.

A range of palaces, castles, former military barracks, Venetian villas, monasteries, royal residences and even lighthouses are being offered for sale and very attractive prices. The impressive historical buildings make them highly desirable as restoration projects aimed at creating an outstanding family home. Alternatively, for commercial investors a rare opportunity is presented to create a truly exceptional hotel or restaurant or apartment block with a fascinating history. Many of the properties have international reputations, for example the 17th century castle near Bronte in Sicily that formed part of the duchy given to Lord Nelson by grateful King Ferdinand I of Naples for saving the Neapolitan Bourbons from the French revolutionaries. The Admiral invested huge sums of money in making it a home from home shipping furniture, paintings and having an English garden created but sadly never ever set foot in his new domain.

The next phase in the initiative is that the government is to give away certain of the properties on the understanding that they are to be renovated and must be turned into a tourist attraction of some description. The properties are leased with varying lengths of lease depending on a number of factors, with an option to renew. The investors will have to have show comprehensive and viable plans for the restoration properties. The cut-off date for applications is 26 June 2017, Giambrone can assist in an application and advise on the surrounding issues as follows:

  • Assist in completion of the initial application
  • Dealing with all legal negotiations and other aspects of the lease
  • Tax arrangements
  • And other practical issues

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.