More than ten thousand of the state’s properties are ready to be put in the hands of local authorities to then be valorized or sold: ex hospitals, schools, barracks, lands, roads and mountain shelters that could soon be transferred to Municipalities, Provinces or Regions and come to know a new life and a new destination. This is the scenario opened by the Government’s provision in August, which became law number 98 of August 9th, that aims at the divestment of real-estate properties beginning with the (approximately one thousand) military buildings belonging to the Ministry of Defense; and let’s not forget the assets belonging to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, which has already completed nearly twenty transfers and has more than 25 others in the final phases.

The first case dates to two years ago and took place in Tuscany. It pertains to the former convent – built in the 1300’s – in San Domenico that was transferred to the Municipality of San Giminiano, the Province of Siena, and the Region of Tuscany for a recovery and valorization project. Since then, the process moved slowly only to incur an acceleration with the norm approved last summer that made the procedure sleeker by defining timetables and clear modalities for the property transfer. Firstly, it established that it must be the local authorities that must ask the Public Land Agency for the property. Secondly, they set a precise deadline (November 30th, 2013) to submit the request and a period of two months for the Agency process the request to render its decision. The operation addresses the objective of freely ceding to Municipalities and Provices structures to be destined for various uses, and simultaneously to the necessity to rationalize public spending. In fact, any profits that may derive from the eventual sale of the property to third parties will partly be destined to the State’s coffers. Secondly, for every property that the local authority receives, it will be docked a portion of its state tax transfers.

According to the Edilizia e Territorio – a specialized weekly publications – reports, at three weeks from the deadline, when the principal cities had not yet come forward, the Public Land Agency had already received 1,400 transfer requests from at least 200 local authorities. In Tuscany, according to the Public Land Agency data bank, there are more than 700 properties that qualify for the transfer: warehouses, apartment [buildings], agricultural homesteads, schools, and ex railway tracts. Approximately 20% are in the Livorno Province, 15% in the Siena Province, while the Florence, Lucca, Pisa and Grosseto areas each count approximately 80 properties. In recent days, an official request was presented by the Municipality of Florence, which for time has had in mind interventions for public housing, exploiting, as a first measure, the transformation of buildings no longer used by the Ministry of Defense. The list announced by the Florentine administration includes various barracks (Gonzaga, Predieri, Perotti, Redi, Cavalli, Morandi), the headquarters of a military district, a former hospital, Palazzo Buontalenti and the Istituto Agronomico per l’Oltremare [Agronomic Institute for Overseas]. “The goal – explained Elisabetta Meucci, Assessor of territorial land policies – is precisely to valorize buildings that are currently abandoned and, as such, are not currently benefiting the collective, neither in economically nor socially.”