The government of Italy can't even give them away;
A two-year old Italian government program to sell islands, castles, old military facilities and other real-estate assets finally seemed to be gaining traction this spring, when five properties went on the block.
But the results from the online auction by the financially strapped government were disappointing to many. Agenzia del Demanio, the agency that manages the state's real-estate assets, has accepted only one offer for a large property: €610,000 ($835,000) for a 19th-century former military hospital in the northeastern city of Trieste.
Offers made for the other properties—including a Venice island and a former convent in Taranto—weren't high enough, according to an agency spokesperson who declined to comment further.One big problem;
Most of these assets, though, need expensive and time-consuming renovations and changes of use. Some potential buyers say they would prefer to steer clear of the uncertainty. As an investor, "I can't buy a former warehouse without knowing for sure what I can do with it," says Carlo Vanini, a partner for capital markets at Cushman & Wakefield Inc.So they assume the worst, and lower their offers.