Islands for sale

Italy is trying to reduce its debt of £1.18 trillion by selling about 9,000 buildings, palaces, beaches, islands and forts with an estimated value of more than £3bn which will become available at the end of this month.

Among the most expensive and picturesque assets on sale is the Caprera island chain, part of the La Maddelana archipelago off the north-east coast of Sardinia.The islands have 45 miles of secluded coastline surrounded by crystal waters which draw scuba divers from around the world. They are inhabited mainly by goats.

Caprera itself was crowned ‘World’s Sexiest Beach’ and described as ‘la dolce vita meets Euro bling’ in 2007. It used to be owned by Giuseppe Garibaldi, credited with unifying Italy in the 19th century.

Also on offer will be islands in the lagoon off the coast of Venice, expected to cost millions of euros. These include Sant’Erasmo, known for its market gardens, vineyards and pretty fort. In the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west of the country, the deserted Santo Stefano island is available.

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