But the plan has provoked a political backlash from two MPs opposed to port ownership quotas, according to Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
The sale of 2,500 berths at the five ports is being handled by a government agency entitled ‘Italia Navigando’, an offshoot of Invitalia, an economic development agency within the Finance Ministry.
The former president of Italia Navigando, Ernesto Abaterusso, is one of several people being investigated for abuse of office in relation to the construction of a new port at Fiumicino on the outskirts of Rome.
Apart from Capri, the proposed port selloff includes the tourism port of Trieste in the country’s north and the southern ports of Marina d’Arechi in Salerno and Roccella Jonica in Reggio Calabria.
Marina Di Portisco on the Gulf of Cugnana, considered the gateway to Sardinia’s glamorous Costa Smeralda, is also on the list.
The deadline for offers was in mid-July but Vincenza Bruno and Nocola Stumpo, from Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party, have called on the government to suspend the sales.
Bruno and Stumpo have both raised concerns about a quota of “31 percent for public entities or public companies”, saying private buyers are being disadvantaged by the terms, in particular regarding the port of Roccella Jonica
They argue it is “a limitation on private (buyers), which clearly gives the single state entity – the Roccella Jonica Council - preferential treatment”.
The port of Capri is set in a spectacular natural cove surrounded by rugged cliffs and is the main entry point to one of Italy’s most romantic tourist destinations. The council wants to retain 51% of the port’s ownership.
The port, known as Marina Grande, has 300 berths is linked to the island’s elegant historic town by a cable car.