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Italy's prized historical sites up for sale

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Italy's prized historical sites up for sale
Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise (R) were married at Italy's Castello Odescalchi. Photos: Blackcat/Wikimedia Commons (L) and Andrew H Walker/Getty Images North America/AFP (R)
14:50 CET+01:00
Fifty of Italy's prized historical assets are to be auctioned off as part of a plan to help repay the country's national debt. The Local takes a closer look at seven on the list, which includes fortresses, two Venetian islands and the castle which hosted Tom Cruise's Scientology wedding.

The Italian government is hoping to attract foreign buyers for 50 of its historical sites in a bid to raise €502m over the coming months as part of its 'Kill Public Debt Plan'.  However, the sites can only be used for tourism purposes.

READ MORE: Foreign property investors flock to Italy

The idea was conceived by former Prime Minister Mario Monti and brought to fruition by current leader, Enrico Letta, who scaled back an original list of over 300 properties to 50. 

But the plan has already been marred with opposition against the selling of "local treasures". A commentator on a Facebook page set up to campaign against the sale of the 18th century Villa Mirabellino in Lombardy said the move is a "grave mistake" and "it is the duty of the community to intervene". 

Others, however, pointed to the economic necessity, and the fact that the villa had been left to fall into ruin. One commentator said: "Better private, than public and in a state of decay'.

Click here to see some of the sites for sale

Do you think Italy is being too hasty with selling off its assets? Leave your comments below.

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