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.
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'.
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