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Italy, private companies needed to preserve artistic heritage

Here is how ad hoc renovation can improve the Italian business climate

Italy, private companies needed to preserve artistic heritage

Claudia Astarita

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Today Travel recently praised the new Italian habit of recurring to private companies to preserve national artistic heritage. This happened, for instance, for the Villa Tolomei Hotel & Resort, an abandoned convent in ruins near Florence just turned into a luxury resort.

As explained by Today Travel, "Italy's Public Land Agency owns the 11,500-square-foot estate that houses several buildings, and has leased the property for 50 years to hotel management firm IsHotel at 150,000 euros per year. IsHotel recently completed a five-year, 10 million euro renovation". Beyond any expectation, Villa Tolomei has been able to "generate 600,000 euros in revenue in the three months after it opened in late May, and IsHotel's yearly profit goal for the property is 2.5 million euros".

The resort's 30 exclusive rooms and suites, with frescoes, high ceilings, orange marble and Old England furniture are constantly overbooked, mostly by foreign clients. A trend clearly showing how ad hoc renovation can improve the Italian business climate.

The problem now is not to leave Villa Tolomei as an isolated example of such a promising public-private synergy. However, the fact that the government just launched an ambitious project, called "Valore Paese Dimore", that is County Vaue Building, seems proving that the opposite is going to happen. And indeed, selling more real estate assets will definitely contribute to cut national public debt, will avoid stopping the renovation of Italian beautiful and historic properties, and stimulate the economy creating new jobs and attracting more tourists. Accordingly, the Public Land Agency has decided to lease 115 of its 46,000 properties to private interests and international investors.

According to Today Travel, "state properties on lease include Renaissance castles, island lighthouses, military barracks, prison fortresses, palaces, estates and aristocratic villas. Among the most stunning are the Orsini Castle in the village of Soriano nel Cimino and the impressive Borbonic jail fortress on the abandoned isle of Santo Stefano. Some properties will be turned into boutique hotels, others into cultural centers and exhibition areas that will showcase Italian-made products".

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