Castles for sale in Italy

The Italian government has announced plans to sell off properties to reduce the country’s £1.18 billion debt .In Rome, historical buildings including the Villa Giulia museum, built on the outskirts of the city by Pope Julius III in the 16th Century, will be on sale. Objects inside will also be available. There is also a 900-year-old Norman palace in Palermo which was home to the ancient kings of Sicily. Prime real estate along the Dolomite mountain chain on the border with Austria. Alternatively, you could buy a beach on Lake Como – where George Clooney has a home.

The idea is the brainchild of Italy’s separatist Northern League, part of the ruling centre-Right coalition. The Agenzia del Demanio, the government agency that controls the ‘national treasures’, will first offer them to local and regional councils which can then sell them over the internet.

A spokesman for the Agenzia del Demanio said: ‘The complete list is still being drawn up but a provisional one has been made available to regional and local councils. The full list will be posted online at the end of July.

‘Ultimately it will be up to the regional authority what they decide to do but selling off the asset would obviously go some way to reducing national and local debts.’

The plan has come under fire from environmentalists and opposition MPs. Stefano Delpieri, of Friends of the Earth in Sardinia, said: ‘This is madness. These places are all protected areas and if they are sold off there will be development on them.’

Angelo Bonelli, of the Green Party, said: ‘Behind this sell-off is the greatest building and real estate development in Italian history.