Italy puts palazzos up for sale

Castello Orsini-Odescalchi
It’s no longer necessary to be a doge to own a palazzo in Venice as the Italian government plans to sell up to 350 historic buildings including palaces and castles in an effort to cut the country’s budget deficit.

The government hopes to raise as much as 1.5 billion euro through the historic property sales, according to the Agenzia del Demanio, the agency that manages the state's real estate assets. Currently the Italian state owns properties worth about 42 billion euro, according to a report by Edoardo Reviglio, chief economist of bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.

The city of Venice is going to sell 18 properties, including the 18th century Diedo Palace, which served as a criminal court for years. The price tag for the palace is 19 million euro. Milan intends to sell more than 100 buildings, including the Palazzo Bolis Gualdo. The city hopes to get as much as 31 million euro for that palace.

Among the other properties put up for sale are army barracks in Bologna and Soriano nel Cimino's Orsini Castle in the Lazio region. The former prison was built by Pope Nicholas III in the 1270s.

Earlier this year, the island of Sardinia sold many of the lighthouses that used to attract thousands of tourists. The island’s autonomous government said it could no longer afford the cost of maintaining as well as restoring the lighthouses. Many of them were converted into hotels, galleries, and museums.