Italy sells Venice island among prime holdings in online auction

MILAN (Reuters) – An island in the Venice lagoon, a 15th century bastion against the Ottoman Turks and a former monastery on the southern coast are among prime properties Italy has put on an online auction for buyers from around the world.

Searching for funds to cuts its public debt and comply with European Union budget guidelines, the cash-strapped country has cut through red tape to ensure buyers can quickly get the permits they need to refurbish the historical holdings.

An army barracks in the centre of Trieste and a residence in the Catholic pilgrimage centre of Loreto are also on the virtual auction block for bids due in by May 6.

“Investors can bid for our properties from everywhere, from New York or Dubai,” Stefano Scalera of Demanio, the public agency that manages Italian state properties, said yesterday.

“Through the internet they can download documents and contracts, we have translated them all into English,” he said.

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