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Italy Set to Auction Off Historic Palazzos and Castles—Which Would You Buy?

Now is your chance to own a piece of Italian history.

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Who hasn't ever dreamed of owning a beautiful Italian villa or beautiful castle? Well, now's your chance as Italy is auctioning off dozens of historic buildings in an attempt to settle a €2.3 trillion ($2.5 trillion) debt. But these state-owned buildings aren't your traditional tear-down properties. Instead, they're villas, castles, and palazzos.

Italy's State Property Agency (Agenzia del Demanio) has already listed nearly 100 properties available to purchase online. There's an apartment in the stunning village of Anversa degli Abruzzi, a lighthouse in Calabria, a former convent in Venice, a Renaissance palazzo in Emilia Romagna, a villa in the heart of Bologna, a home in the center of Bergamo, and a variety of other seaside and regal escapes.

Many of the buildings are listed in the millions. The three-story palazzo in Piacenza, for example, that features "three internal courtyards" and "is close to the central Piazza Cavalli, public offices and city attractions," starts at just under $1.5 million. And Villa Camerata in Florence is asking over $7 million. But some are more reasonable, like a collection of historic circular buildings on an island in Venice that are listed for just €298,000 ($328,000).

The agency created a website with photos and descriptions of all buildings; some even have virtual tours. So, you know exactly what you're getting. Many of them are, unfortunately, not in the best condition. But the hope is they can be purchased for under-market prices and be restored to their original beauty.

Italy has successfully done this before. Castello Masegra in Valtellina was turned into the Castello delle Storie di Montagna museum. And a castle from the Middle Ages reopened as a museum recently.

The first auction is set to take place on October 16 and 17, with another one in November. The goal is to raise about €950 million to help fund welfare and pensions for locals.

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