Italy has put an island in the Venice lagoon up for auction in order to attract international funds to help ease crippling public debt. An army barracks in Trieste and a residence in Loreto – a Catholic pilgrimage site – are among those up for bidding.
“Investors can bid for our properties from everywhere, from New York or Dubai,” Stefano Scalera from public state property management agency Demanio told Reuters on Monday.
Among other sites being sold – aside from the Venetian lagoon island of Poveglia, are a 15th century bastion against the Ottoman Turks known as in Gradisca d’Isonzo, near the border with Slovenia, and an old monastery. While there are five properties considered ‘prestigious’ up for auction, forty other assets are also to be bid on.
The virtual auction will close on May 6.
Italy is attempting to secure funds to reduce its public debt so that it is able to toe the EU budget line. The country is slicing through legal red tape to allow prospective buyers to quickly obtain permits to renovate historic sites.
“Through the internet they can download documents and contracts, we have translated them all into English,” Scalera told the agency.
Italy owns at least half a million commercial and residential properties. However, it has previously faced problems in selling them off because the slow procedures involved in procuring permits for restructuring has unsettled potential investors.
“This time is different. The main administrative hurdles for these assets have been cleared ahead of the sale,” Scalera said.
Demanio has been selling Italian state properties since 2001 and has since levied some $2.5 billion. Through the offloading of assets this year, it predicts to levy some $694.4 million.
Austerity measures implemented in Italy have caused a great deal of unease.
this is what austerity gives you..austerity enforced to deal with shit bets the bankers made..you pay in taxes and you pay by getting to watch your country be sold off to the highest bidder in pieces..and we know where the buyers will come from..