Your own medieval castle or Mediterranean villa… free.
That’s the promise of Italy’s Cammini e Percorsi (Paths and Tracks) program, launched by the State Property Agency and Ministry of Cultural Heritage in 2017.
Of course, there’s a catch.
As the objective of the program is to promote and preserve this country’s most ignored and off-the-beaten-path historic architectural treasures, you’ve got to commit to restoring the building (that is… often… the ruin) into a going tourist concern.
The properties identified for the Paths and Tracks program lie along historic walking routes and bike paths, from the Via Appia to the Ciclopista del Sole. In addition to castles and villas, the program is gifting monasteries, fortresses, former schoolhouses, farmhouses…
Take your pick… then convert your bit of Italian history into a hotel, restaurant, or B&B, for example… where you could live while catering to your guests.
The property would be yours for the term of the lease—that is, nine years, with an option to renew for another nine years.
Could be the “Under The Tuscan Sun” adventure of your lifetime.
If you’d prefer to own a home of your own in Italy outright, what are your other options in this part of the country?
This is a land of rolling countryside and small mountain villages or towns (communes)… so your property choices are typically country houses, farmhouses, and traditional Italian townhomes. Renovation projects pepper the landscape… but it’s possible to find more turnkey, move-in-ready choices, too… including, at the top end of this market, luxury country villas.
Country properties often come with land, probably already planted with grape vineyards, olive groves, and cherry or peach orchards… plus, sometimes, small fields of beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and squash.
Property values in the hamlets and villages are severely depressed. The younger generation is fleeing rural Italy, opting for life (and better employment options) in the bigger cities. Family properties are being abandoned… creating another kind of renovation opportunity.
Unlike those targeted for the Cammini e Percorsi program, these properties aren’t necessarily historic… and they aren’t free… but they can come with price tags as small as 5,000 euros.
These parts of Italy are depressed but still respected. People here have a strong sense of pride in their communities. Local officials are fighting to preserve their history and to resurrect their vintage towns.
On average, move-in ready homes in this part of Italy start at 800 euros (US$950) per square meter and go up to as much as 5,000 euros (US$5,900) per square meter for new construction along the coast.
Agricultural land starts at around 2,000 euros (US$2,350) per hectare. Holding costs are low. Annual property taxes should be no more than 600 euros (US$710). Utility costs should be no more than 150 euros (US$175) per month.