Italy’s Government Giving Away Castles for Free

Italy is a land of breathtaking scenery, gorgeous architecture, delicious food, clement weather and a population displaying an unparalleled gusto for living. Small wonder, then, that so many Britons identify the country as their favourite holiday destination or ideal retirement spot.

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Free Castles?

Accordingly, many of us greeted with excitement the media headlines announcing that the Italian government was giving away castles, inns and monasteries. As appealing as this opportunity sounds, there are in fact some fairly strict conditions around the offer. Interested parties will need, by way of example, to show that they have the financial resources and a serious plan to restore the properties. The authorities are also anxious that young people should contribute to and profit from the project, and preference will consequently be given to applications from the under-40s. These criteria will no doubt filter out all but the most determined applicants.


An interesting question arises, though: what styles of architecture will the lucky developers choose for renovating their properties? The obvious answer is that the sensitive investor will stick to traditional techniques and materials to make sure that any works undertaken are in keeping with the building’s history. There is surely space, nonetheless, for the latest generation of design to be represented in the remodelling process.

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Reconciling the old with the new is a challenge which is routinely addressed by modern architects. Think, for example, of the professional who has been charged with extending a school. As well as needing to deliver an aesthetically pleasing design, the architect will typically be operating under severe budgetary constraints and the need to produce a quick solution. School canopies, such as those provided by, have therefore been developed, making intelligent and creative use of tensile fabrics to produce attractive and practical additions to school premises.

Tensile Fabric Structures

Like its neighbours in Continental Europe and beyond, Italy is home to some spectacular tensile fabric structures like Verona’s famous Winter Garden as well as to less ambitious but just as important developments such as hospitals, colleges and schools. It will be fascinating to see the ways in which the fortunate recipients of the castles and villas being offered by the Italian government use tensile fabrics and the way they are accommodated in comparatively ancient edifices.