Italy

Italy Is Giving Away Old Castles For Free, And Here’s How You Can Get One

If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own castle, now’s your chance. Italy is giving away 103 run-down properties, including villas, inns, and castles for free. That means anyone can start building their personal versions of Winterfell, Casterly Rock, or The Pyke.

However, there’s just one catch. The country’s State Property Agency expects anyone who gets a free castle (or any other of the 103 objects) to commit to restoring it so it can be used as a tourist destination. Whether the property becomes a hotel, spa, restaurant, or something else is up to the new owner to decide.

“The project will promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector,” Roberto Reggi from the State Property Agency told The Local. “The goal is for private and public buildings which are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists, and cyclists.” Authorities also hope this plan will relieve some of the strain on the country’s most popular and overcrowded areas (like Venice).

The deadline for applications is…

A Delicious Asset: Inside Italy’s Cheese Bank

In Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, a traditional bank called Credito Emiliano lines its coffers with edible gold. As Great Big Story reports, the financial institution accepts parmigiano-reggiano (Parmesan cheese) as collateral for loans, in addition to conventional currencies.

Emilia-Romagna is a major producer of parmigiano-reggiano, which is a hard, dry aged cheese made from skim milk. (Similar to how sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it was made in the region of Champagne, France, Emilia-Romagna is the…