If you've ever had the (admittedly narrow) entrepreneurial dream of setting up shop in an Italian castle and renting out rooms to tourists — we have amazing news.
The Italian government is desperate to shift tourists away from its over-trafficked destination cities (especially Venice) to spots around the country. But it turns out, tourists prefer mind-droppingly gorgeous canals and canonical works of art and architecture to the countryside (which, if you squint, looks a lot like California.) What to do? Exploit a resource. Italy, apparently, has a lot of spare castles.
That, of course, is where you come in. According to The Local, the Italian government has set aside 103 historic properties for renovation as destination properties. Castle spa? Castle hotel? Castle B&B? They're up for it, as long as it won't put pressure on the country's existing tourist draws: "The goal is for private and public buildings which are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists, and cyclists," one official told The Local. Applicants will be eligible for no-cost, nine-year leases.
We say: Look south, because castles get drafty in the winter. For full details, see here — and be prepared for an extensive Italian language learning experience. Duolingo, anyone?