The NYT had an article recently on how families that have owned Italian castles for generations are finding themselves unable to keep them:
While castles and historic mansions in Italy have long been family inheritances, today dozens of them are for sale, even in one of the most conservative real estate markets in Europe.
In recent years, Italy’s well-rooted inherited wealth has withered from a potent combination of factors. They include the increasing costs of living and services, the shaky finances of owners in a time of lingering economic trouble, cuts in government subsidies to maintain historical properties and, not least, mushrooming property taxes.There's also the problem with regulations:
Living a nobleman’s life in Italy comes at a cost, even for many tycoons. New owners face the same onerous bureaucracy as Italians to make even minimal changes to many older properties.
Under Italian law, the owner of a historic building is its custodian, bound to maintain it and grant its security and, in some cases, its use to the public. Many buyers give up on properties of great historic value, but in bad condition, for this reason, brokers said.
“This is a problem for possible investors, who want to have modern comforts like a spa, air-conditioning or a lift,” said Mr. Pallavicini, of the Italian Historic Houses Association.
So, of you have a few million dollars and want to spend it on a property that you can't air-condition, what follows is a selection of properties from Italian real estate Lionard:
CASTLE FOR SALE IN CHIANTI: Prestigious old castle of the Tenth Century for sale in Chianti, halfway between Florence and Siena. Completely and carefully renovated in the early 90s, the castle has retained its unique and peculiar characteristics but nonetheless combine them with modern comforts and the most modern facilities.As many as 100 hectares of land spanning the splendid property: for over 1000 years, the production of the wine of its own oil and Vin Santo are the cornerstones of this splendid property in Chianti.
Luxurious Castle in Florence, Tuscany: Wonderful Castle For Sale in the heart of Chianti, near Florence. The Castle, located in a panoramic scenery, has an area of 2,200 - M², 2 hectares of Parklands, a Swimming Pool and many other amenities.
Former Pope’s Residence with dominating views over medieval village below: Property for sale near Rome featuring a very quaint real estate complex built on a hill in the XI century by Abbot John V. The abbey in still dominates the medieval village below with its imposing structure. Conceived as a feudal castle, in order to establish the monastic rule on Subiaco, over the centuries the building assumed different functions, from fortress, to luxurious palace and residence of popes and cardinals until 1753 when Pope Benedict XIV finally included Subiaco and its abbey in the Papal States.
PRESTIGIOUS HISTORIC VILLA FOR SALE IN FLORENCE: located on one of the hill tops on the left side of the river Arno, a few kilometres from Florence.
Unable or unwilling to spend several million on a castle? There are lots of excellent properties in Northern Virginia (and this well-reviewed book tells you have to decorate in Italian Villa style).
Lots more at Lionard.