Over-Taxed and Over-Regulated Castles for Sale in Italy

(p. A3) 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.
. . .
On historic buildings, where owners used to pay little as compensation for the elevated costs of maintaining centuries-old structures, the taxes increased by 20 or 30 times, depending on the property’s location.
On some buildings, taxes spiked from 3,000 euros (about $3,400) in 2011 to 75,000 euros (about $84,000) by 2013. That might be a small figure for castle dwellers in the United Kingdom, but it is a burden for Italian pockets, especially in regions where the property’s market value or tourism interest is low.
The trends, to many here, are indicative of Italy’s place as a country caught between its past glory and its modern difficulty in producing an innovative climate capable of ensuring its future.
. . .
. . . buyer beware: 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.
“We no longer live like in 1800,” he added. “But 99 percent of those changes are either impossible or extremely bureaucratic and complicated in an Italian historic building.”

For the full story, see:
GAIA PIANIGIANI. “PONTASSIEVE JOURNAL; Life of Italian Nobility for Sale, Complete With Regulations and Taxes.” The New York Times (Weds., JAN. 28, 2015): A11.
(Note: ellipses are added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date JAN. 27, 2015.)

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