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Italian castles up for sale

Italian castles up for sale

Mario Monti's Italian government has announced the sale of 350 disused buildings including castles, palaces and historic stately homes in an effort to cut the country's budget deficit.

The government hopes to raise about €1.5 billion through the sale of the properties that are expected to attract the interest of wealthy investment funds.

Among the unique properties being sold are an army barracks in Bologna, which were formerly occupied by the Defence Ministry, and Soriano nel Cimino's Orsini Castle, in the Lazio region, which was built by a pope in the 1270s and later used as a prison.

Milan is hoping to offload over 100 buildings including the Palazzo Bolis Gualdo in the heart of the city's fashion district, for which it is hoping to raise €31 million.

Elsewhere, the local authorities in Venice are hoping that someone will snap up the 18th century Diedo Palace, which has a price tag of €19 million.This is one of 18 properties that has been put up for sale.

In many cases the government will retain an ownership stake in the properties in order to ensure that they are preserved for future generations.

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