Italy to sell 50 historic sites to pay off govt. debt
Orsini Odescalchi castle in the lakeside town of Bracciano, 27 miles from Rome, is up for sale (file photo).
Recession-hit Italy is set to sell 50 historic sites, including an 18th century palace, in order to pay off government debt as Rome continues to grapple with economic woes.
The plan to sell Italy’s treasures is aimed at keeping the country’s budget deficit below 3.0 percent of gross domestic product (GPD) in 2013.
According to the European Union limit, the public deficit of euro zone countries should not exceed 3.0 percent of their output.
Reports say that the 18th century palace, Villa Mirabello, situated near the city of Milan, as well as Orsini Odescalchi castle in the town of Bracciano, some 27 miles from the capital Rome, are among the 50 sites which will be sold by the government.
Italian Property Expert Rupert Fawcett said, “The reality is that any government in Europe is looking to raise funds where they can. The cost of running these properties can be huge and the sheer upkeep of them can be unmanageable.”
“If properties can be bought by private investors, restored to their former glory it’s good for everyone. It benefits local communities and puts some money in the state coffers,” Fawcett added.
Italy started to experience recession after its economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011 and by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of the same year.
Over the past decade, Italy has been the slowest growing economy in the eurozone as tough austerity measures, spending cuts, and pension changes have stirred serious concerns for many people already grappling with the European country’s ailing economy.
Italians have been staging protests against high unemployment, economic adversity, and hardship over a series of government-imposed austerity packages in the recent past.
In June, Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta apologized to unemployed Italian young people who must leave the debt-stricken country to find jobs, saying “The biggest debt that we are accumulating, by repeating the mistakes of the previous generations, is towards the young person, which is an unforgivable mistake.”
Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2008. Insolvency now threatens heavily debt-ridden countries such as Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain.
The worsening debt crisis has forced EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have triggered incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.