Real Estate in Italy: 2023 Opportunities

How much does it cost to buy real estate in Italy?

The average price of buying real estate in Italy ranges from EUR 1,929 to EUR 2,520 per square meter.

Italian real estate prices are higher in the larger cities, especially Milan and Rome. In Milan, the average price of residential property in October 2022 was EUR 3,994 per square meter.

Homes in southern Italian cities are much more affordable, with prices per square meter ranging from EUR 1,300 to EUR 1,700.

An overview of the development of the Italian real estate market

The ISTAT House Price Index (HPI) measures the evolution of market prices of all residential properties purchased by households (apartments, single-family houses, terraced houses, etc.), both new and existing properties, whether purchased for owner-occupation or as an investment.

According to ISTAT HPI data for 2022, Italian housing prices experienced a significant recovery in the first quarter of 2022. This recovery started before the COVID pandemic in 2020,but has stalled recently.

Although prices are still only at mid-2013 levels and far from the 2011 peak, homeowners are earning a good return on the price they paid.

ISTAT HOUSE PRICE INDEX (HPI) Q1 2010 – Q3 2022 (Index, 2010=100) (a)

(a) The choice of 2010 as the base year is entirely due to graphical reasons. The data for Q3 2022 are preliminary.

The increase was driven by new home prices, which rose 5%, albeit at a slightly slower pace than in the previous quarter (Q4 2021) (5.3%), while the recovery for existing homes was slightly slower.

The number of homes sold increased by 12% compared to 2021. Preliminary estimates indicate that HPI decreased 1.0% in Q3 2022 compared to Q2 2022 and increased 3.0% compared to the same quarter in 2021.

On average, home prices increased 4.2% in the first three quarters of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, with new home prices increasing 6.6% and existing home prices increasing 3.7%.

Signs of weakness in 2023 create potential opportunities for investors in the real estate market in Italy.

Real estate prices in Italy still remain some of the lowest among European Union member states – despite the price recovery since the 2020 slump related to the COVID 19 crisis.

Uncertainty about inflation as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine, the deterioration in household purchasing power, the steady rise in energy prices and construction materials and costs, and the ECB’s quite aggressive interest rate policy are just some of the challenges facing investors. Some analysts believe that Italy’s HPI could see a modest increase in 2023. Other analysts predict that house prices could fall. None expect a house price crash. Analysts’ predictions about the real estate market can be wrong. Before investing, you should always do your own research.

If you want to buy, build or renovate a property in Italy, there’s a great deal of paperwork involved. Many real estate buyers from abroad are not familiar with the technical and legal aspects of this process.

Investing in a property in any country is a major financial undertaking for most people, and it is crucial that your investment is secured. Just as you would seek professional help in your own country, it is also important to seek professional help in Italy. An experienced Italian real estate lawyer has contacts with trusted, independent experts such as surveyors, architects and contractors, and can advise and guide you through your real estate project.

Finally …

As a general rule, it is wise to familiarise yourself with the legal framework regulating international property sales.

For over 55 years, De Tullio Law Firm has been providing international clients with independent legal advice throughout Italy. We are specialists in cross border property, inheritance and family law.

If you would like further information about buying an Italian property, we are here to help. We can guide you through the whole process or even organise the whole process on your behalf. Get in touch with us for a Free preliminary consultation.

House in Italy: Online Registration of Preliminary Contracts

Buying a house in Italy?

The preliminary contract is a crucial document when buying a house in Italy, as it outlines the specific terms and conditions of the transaction.

It is often necessary to carry over the terms and conditions from the reservation offer to the preliminary contract. Moreover, the notary public will use the preliminary contract, or “contratto preliminare di vendita” to prepare the deed of sale during the final stage of the purchase process.

Fortunately, buying a house in Italy has recently become easier. On March 7, 2023, the Italian Revenue Agency launched an online system that allows buyers to register their preliminary contract of sale. Prior to 7 March 2023, registering a preliminary contract entailed visiting a local tax office, within 30 days from the date of signing. The new online development removes the need to visit the tax office. In effect, it simplifies the registration process, saving buyers and sellers both time and effort.

Why register a preliminary contract when buying a house in Italy?

In Italy, it is not mandatory to register the preliminary contract with the Revenue Agency. However, it is recommended to do so. Registering the preliminary contract can be done either by the buyer or the seller. The registration of the preliminary contract can be helpful for several reasons:

Legal protection

Registering the preliminary contract provides legal protection to both the buyer and the seller. It establishes a written record of the agreement between the parties, which can help prevent disputes and misunderstandings later on.

Prevents double-selling

Registration of the preliminary contract can help prevent the seller from selling the property to another buyer. This is because the registration creates a public record that the property is under contract, which can be viewed by anyone.

Avoids disputes

Registering the preliminary contract can help avoid disputes between the parties, as it provides evidence of the terms and conditions agreed upon by both parties. If a dispute arises, either party can use the registered contract as evidence in court to support their position.

Protects the buyer’s rights

Registering the preliminary contract can protect the buyer’s rights in case of any issues that may arise during the sale process. For example, if the seller fails to transfer ownership of the property, the buyer can use the registered contract as evidence of their right to the property.

Clarifies the sales process

Registering the preliminary contract can help clarify the sales process for both parties. It sets out the terms and conditions of the sale, including the agreed purchase price, payment terms, and deadline for completion of the sale. This can help ensure a smooth and transparent transaction for both parties.

Buying a house in Italy: registering the Preliminary contract online

The new online service makes it possible to send the preliminary contract registration request for a house in Italy directly from your computer. It will also allow you to attach all the necessary documentation, including the preliminary contract and any plans relating to the property. Since there is no need to submit hard copies of the documents, the registration process will be faster and more efficient.

To register online, you will have to log in through the required procedure in the new RAP service. The new format facilitates the registration process and ensures that users submit all the necessary information correctly.

How to use the online service

The new form requires that the user indicate the necessary data and attach a signed copy of the contract along with any other relevant documents, including private deeds, inventories, maps, plans, and drawings.

Once the user enters the required information, the system will automatically calculate the stamp duty and registration fee, which the user can directly pay online.

Finally …

If you are thinking about buying an Italian property, why not talk to us? De Tullio Law Firm can advise and guide you throughout your Italian property purchasing journey. We have over 55 years of experience working with clients on their Italian and cross border property, family and inheritance matters. Get in touch.


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Energy-Efficient Buildings: The Future of Real Estate in Italy

A European Green Deal: The EU’s Commitment to a Carbon Neutral Continent

Europe is facing an existential threat from climate change and environmental degradation. To address this, the European Green Deal aims to transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy. In March 2023, the European Parliament approved a package of regulations proposed by the European Union aimed at promoting the renovation of existing buildings and the construction of new highly energy-efficient buildings.

This package of regulations for energy-efficient buildings and retrofits of existing properties, aims to improve sustainability of real estate assets in Europe, including Italy, over the next twenty years.

A Move Towards Energy-Efficient Buildings

Buildings in the EU territory are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Parliament aims to achieve zero emissions by 2050. To reach this goal, the EU will need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, combat climate change, and decrease the EU’s reliance on fossil fuel imports.

Design of Energy-Efficient Buildings

From January 1st, 2021, building design regulations require both public and private buildings to adhere to nearly zero energy consumption (nZEB), in compliance with Art. 5 of D.L. 63/2013, converted into Law no. 90/2013.

nZEB buildings consume minimal energy, owing to their energy-efficient building envelope and the use of predominantly renewable energy sources.

A building envelope is the physical barrier between the interior and exterior of a building. It includes all the components that make up the outer shell of a building, such as walls, roofs, floors, doors, windows, and insulation. The building envelope plays a critical role in regulating the indoor environment, including the control of heat, light, and sound, as well as the protection against moisture, air infiltration, and environmental elements such as wind and rain. The design and construction of the building envelope are therefore crucial to ensuring the energy efficiency and sustainability of a building.

Energy Classes and Retrofits

Buildings, including residential and non-residential ones, with certain exceptions, must achieve specific energy classes according to the European Directive. The proposed deadlines of 2030 and 2033 to reach energy class E and D, respectively, are fast approaching.

To comply with the EU’s requirements for energy-efficient buildings, it is crucial to understand the retrofitting works that can improve a property’s energy class and its actual energy demand.

The Italian Legal Framework for Energy-Efficient Buildings

The European Directive is not directly binding and applicable in individual member states. However, Italy has a legal framework that already provides for energy retrofitting, including tax incentives and subsidized financing.

The Italian government has put forward various measures to encourage the transition to a low-carbon economy, including the National Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) and the Building Decree (DM 01/2021). These initiatives aim to encourage the spread of high energy efficiency standards and low environmental impact.

The Importance of Energy Retrofitting

The European Directive on energy efficiency in buildings sets ambitious targets for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

To achieve these targets, significant investment in energy retrofitting is necessary, which upgrades the energy performance of existing buildings through measures such as insulation, window and door replacement, heating and cooling system upgrades, and installing renewable energy technologies like solar panels.

Energy retrofitting of existing property plays a crucial role in reducing the environmental impact of buildings, which are responsible for a significant share of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union.

Benefits of Energy Retrofitting

Energy retrofitting offers a range of benefits, both for building owners and for society as a whole. For building owners, energy retrofitting can lead to lower energy bills, increased comfort and wellbeing, and higher property values.

For society as a whole, energy retrofitting can help to create jobs and stimulate economic growth, reduce energy imports, improve energy security, and reduce air pollution.

In addition, energy retrofitting can contribute to the development of smart cities and communities, which use digital technologies and innovative solutions to optimize energy use and reduce emissions. Smart cities and communities can help to create more livable and sustainable urban environments, while also providing opportunities for innovation and economic development.

Challenges of Energy Retrofitting

While energy retrofitting offers numerous advantages, it also poses notable challenges, particularly when it comes to older buildings. These structures were not initially designed with energy efficiency in mind. This can make retrofitting a difficult and expensive process. Furthermore, retrofitting can be disruptive to occupants, and may entail alterations to the building’s appearance or layout, making it a complex undertaking.

To overcome these challenges, it is important to work with experienced professionals who can help to identify the most effective retrofitting strategies and technologies for each building. This may involve a combination of technical, financial, and legal expertise, as well as close collaboration with building owners, occupants, and other stakeholders.

Finally …

De Tullio Law Firm is your reliable reference if you own or plan to invest in Italian property. We can guide you in understanding the challenges of the real estate market and compliance with regulations.

With our support, you can invest in the Italian real estate market with confidence and security. Get in touch with us.

Can Canadians buy Property in Italy?

The Foreign Property Purchase Restriction Act (FPPRA) came into effect on 1st January, 2023. FPPRA introduces Canadian property investment restrictions on some types of purchases overseas. It is however still possible for Canadians to buy property in Italy under certain conditions.

The FPPRA is based on a default reciprocity rule

Because of the FPPRA, property purchase restrictions apply to Canadians buying outside of the country. Likewise, reciprocal restrictions apply to Italians, who are now prohibited from purchasing certain types of property in Canada.

What is the aim of Canadian property investment restrictions abroad?

The main reason for the introduction of the FPPRA is to address the shrinking Canadian property market. As the Canadian economy has struggled in recent years, the demand for housing has decreased. This has led to a glut of unsold properties and a decrease in property values.

In an effort to protect the Canadian property market, the government therefore introduced the FPPRA. The aim is to keep Canadians from investing their money in properties abroad, thereby keeping more money in the Canadian market. The hope is that this measure will boost the economy.

However, there has been some pushback against the law. Many Canadians feel that they should be free to invest their money as they see fit. Additionally, many Canadians feel that the FPPRA violates their rights. The law is due for review, and possible repeal, in 2025.

Despite Canadian property investment restrictions, Canadians can still buy property in Italy

As a general principle, Canadians who signed property contracts before FPPRA can complete their purchase. However, Italian Notaries are currently awaiting guidelines from the Italian Notaries Association regarding the implementation of the new law. Italian Notaries will evaluate each case of Canadian nationals buying property in Italy on an individual basis until the guidelines are in place.

Additionally, there are still other ways for Canadians to buy property in Italy.

  1. A person who is temporarily residing in Italy under the Refugee Protection Act or has protected status can buy property in Italy. Canadians granted refuge or protected status in Italy are able to purchase property in the country.
  2. Joint purchase by an Italian, EU citizen or a resident of Italy with a Canadian spouse or partner is also an option. Joint purchase means that both the Canadian and their spouse or partner jointly own the property in Italy. Joint owners have equal rights and responsibilities for the property, including usage, maintenance, taxes, and associated costs. If one of the joint owners passes away, their share of the property will pass to the surviving joint owner. Similarly, if the joint owners decide to sell the property, they will share the proceeds of the sale according to their ownership share.
  3. There may be special circumstances allowed by Italian law that permit Canadians to purchase property in Italy. For example, if a Canadian has close family ties or business interests in Italy, they may be able to purchase property under certain conditions.
  4. In some cases, a foreign state may purchase property in Italy for diplomatic or consular reasons. This is usually done to provide a residence for diplomatic personnel or to establish an embassy or consulate.

Specific regulations and requirements for these options may vary, so Canadians should consult a lawyer knowledgeable in both Canadian and Italian law, including FPPRA.

Finally …

For over 55 years, at De Tullio Law Firm we have been providing international clients with independent legal advice. We offer services in all the major fields of Italian law. However, our particular expertise lies in real estate, residency, family law and inheritance matters. Our team of experienced lawyers has a deep understanding of international and Italian legal systems.

Our expertise in cross-border residential and commercial property transactions helps our clients navigate the complex laws and regulations surrounding property purchases and sales in Italy.

We pride ourselves on furnishing high-quality legal services to our clients and have a strong reputation for providing practical and effective solutions to their legal needs.

If you would like to talk to us about investing in Italian property, please get in touch with us.


You may also be seeking information about how to obtain an Elective Residence Visa for Italy or you might like to peruse our series of informational videos.

Italian Real Estate: How to Avoiding Pitfalls when buying

Buying Italian Real Estate should be exciting but, it can also be a complex process

The best way to protect your investment when buying Italian real estate is to engage an English-speaking Italian lawyer. Instructing an independent, English-speaking Italian lawyer could save you money and stress in the long run.

Choosing the right Italian lawyer is a very important decision. Make sure you instruct an independent English-speaking lawyer, who has experience advising international clients in relation to property purchases in Italy.

Your Italian property lawyer should:

Be independent. Make sure the lawyer is not connected in any way to the estate agent, developer or seller. An independent lawyer will exclusively look after your interests and not the interests of the estate agent or developer. You should find your own lawyer rather than taking recommendations from an estate agent or using a developer’s in-house lawyer.

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Speak English. Unless you are a fluent Italian speaker, your lawyer should be English-speaking. You need to know that when you ask a question, your lawyer can fully understand and answer in a way you fully understand. There is no point in paying for advice that you don’t understand.

Have Professional Indemnity Insurance. You should check that your lawyer has adequate insurance. Should any problems arise as a result of advice you receive, you can be certain you are covered.

Why should you instruct a lawyer if you are buying Italian real estate?

It is impossible to evaluate a property just from viewing it. By instructing a lawyer you will have a better understanding of the property and the Italian purchase process.

Your lawyer can:

Guide you through the Italian buying process and the obligations of each party.

Check the property title, carry out checks and searches on the property before you sign any paperwork, which may well have binding financial and legal implications.

Arrange structural and geological surveys.

Review the purchase contracts to ensure that everything is as it should be and that your position is protected.

Advise about any inheritance and tax issues that may affect you. This is particularly important in Italy which has rules of ‘forced heirship’.

Help you make a Will to cover your Italian property, which is advisable in planning the succession of your assets.

Assist with matters such as Italian residency, tax codes, setting up a bank account or utility contracts for a property following purchase.

What is the role of the notary who buying Italian real estate?

An Italian notary (Notaio) is a legal representation of the Italian Government. Whilst they are part of the legal profession, it is important to ensure that you do not confuse the role of your lawyer with that of a Notaio.

The role of the Notaio in Italy is to oversee the property transaction, to collect the appropriate tax on behalf of the Italian State and to register the property in the Italian Land Registry. Legally a Notaio must remain impartial in the property purchase. A Notaio cannot, therefore, act on behalf of the buyer or the seller. You should instruct your own independent Lawyer to advise you specifically in relation to your property purchase and related issues.

Do I need to give my Italian lawyer Power of Attorney?

If you are not going to be in Italy during the purchasing process, it is a good idea to provide your lawyer with a Procura Speciale – a Limited Power of Attorney. This is a legal document that gives another person authority to act on your behalf, for example, to sign a property purchase contract.

Conferring a Power of Attorney to another person gives significant power to act on your behalf. You should therefore be comfortable that you fully understand what you are agreeing to, that you are happy with the wording of the document and that your agent is competent and trustworthy.

Finally …

Buying Italian real estate is a complex matter. With our extensive knowledge and experience of Italian and international law, we provide expert conveyancing services throughout Italy. If you are purchasing an Italian property, get in touch with us for a free consultation.


Translating legal documents for Italian Property Transactions

Make sure you fully understand documents before you sign them

Translating legal documents is a highly specialised field. It demands not only legal experience but linguistic expertise.

In the event of any issues or litigation, the Italian version of contracts will always prevail. So it’s crucial to ensure that you understand every document thoroughly before you sign it.

Italian versions of legal documents prevail

All legal documents relating to Italian property real estate transactions need to go through a notary public (notaio).

The role of a notary is to oversee the sale and purchase, draw up the deed of sale and authenticate the transaction. In addition, the notary collects tax related to the transaction.

As Italian law is applicable to property sales in Italy, documents must be in Italian, independent of the nationality of the parties.

Many buyers from abroad prefer to have a version of documents in their own language. In fact, if buyers are not fluent in the Italian language, it is a legal requirement to have the deed of sale translated. A translator will also need to attend the signing of the deed of sale.

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The Italian property buying process

The process of buying a property in Italy is different to many other parts of the world. Firstly, the  buyer makes an offer on the property. If accepted, the buyer and vendor sign a Reservation Offer and the buyer puts down a small deposit. Secondly, if you decide to proceed with the purchase, the buyer and vendor sign a Preliminary Contract. At this point, the buyer puts down a further deposit, usually a minimum of 10% of the sale price. Thirdly, the parties sign the Deed of Sale. At completion, the balance of the sales price, along with other costs and taxes are payable.

It is important that parties to the transaction appreciate the implications of each of these steps. Deposits can be very difficult to get back and you may incur penalties if you back out of the sale. It is essential to ensure that your contracts stipulate certain terms and conditions.

Everything you sign during the purchase process has legal and financial implications

As purchasers, whether you are about to sign a  proposta irrevocabile d’acquisto (Reservation Offer), a  contratto preliminare di vendita (Preliminary Contract) or the atto di vendita (Deed of Sale), or any other property-related document. Everything that you sign sets out legal and financial terms pertaining to your Italian property purchase.

Translating legal documents

Many real estate agents use standard forms for contracts. The type of form where you fill in the blanks. Often, estate agents provide a translation of these. While the translation can of course be useful in gaining an overview, Italian legal language is technical, ritualistic, archaic and complex. These standard form translations are seldom completely accurate and can even be misleading.

We have managed a number of cases where buyers have been caught out by aspects of “boilerplate translations” relating to their Italian property purchases.

When signing the deed of sale, in the presence of a public notary, Italian law requires that a translator is present if purchasers are not fluent Italian speakers.

Our advice is to make sure that anyone you use for translating legal documents is qualified. Not only from a linguistic point of view but also in terms of legal knowledge. It is also important that you choose someone who does not have a vested interest in the transaction.

Finally …

Although it is not a legal requirement in Italy to engage a lawyer (avvocato), most experts advise that you seek independent legal advice before signing any paperwork. One of the main reasons for engaging your own lawyer is to safeguard your interests through the inclusion of any conditional clauses in contracts.

If you need any support or advice regarding a property transaction in Italy or translating legal documents, please get in touch. The De Tullio Law Firm team of lawyers, translators and professionals are here to help.

You may also be interested in Celebrating over 55 years of experience at De Tullio Law Firm.

How to buy a house in Italy | Auction

Have you every wondered how to buy a house in Italy at auction?

As an international law firm dealing mostly with cross border property transactions, clients often reach out to us and ask How to buy a house in Italy. 

Buying Italian property at auction could turn out to be a good opportunity to purchase a property for a reasonable price. You could make savings of up to 60 % compared to buying a property on the market.

While buying at auction may have advantages, it is certainly not without risks. It is therefore essential to engage the services of a technical-legal advisor to carry out due diligence.

In order to mitigate or, at least contain the risks that may arise from the purchase, due diligence should start with the determination of the most likely market value of the property and conclude with thorough verification of all the legal, building, planning, cadastral and administrative aspects.

Due diligence is especially important in forced sales, which lack any guarantees against defects.

How do Italian property auctions work?

In general terms, a property auction is a competitive sale. It begins with the presentation of one or more bids with the transfer of ownership going to the highest bidder.

There are two kinds of property auctions in Italy.

1. Disposal of public assets, which follow specific legal rules.

2. Those of a judicial nature.

The latter applies whenever assets owned by a natural or legal person (known as the execution debtor) are seized. These assets then become subject to a forced sale. The expropriation procedure forces the sale of assets by a third party (the executor judge or a delegate). The objective is to liquidate the execution debtor’s assets and maximise the revenue from the sale in order to repay, in whole or in part, creditors.

How to participate in an Italian real estate auction?

There are two types of property auctions in Italy:


In this case, participants electronically submit their irrevocable and binding bids by 12:00 a.m. on the day prior to the opening of the bids. The Portale delle Vendite Pubbliche — Public Sales Portal is now the predominant system for electronic bids. Bids may also be in sealed envelopes that must meet a number of requirements specifically indicated in the auction notice and on the websites of the courts. In order for both types of sealed bids to be valid, they must be accompanied by a deposit amounting to at least 10% of the offer price.


The sale by open ascending-bid auction is not used very often. It provides a secondary and possible method of auction. It is however usually only used in case of an unsuccessful sealed-bid auction.This type of auction is generally only used when it is considered possible to obtain a rather improbable figure, i.e., a price higher than half of the value of the property.

Participants must publicly make at least one bid that is higher than the last declared price. The auction closes when at least three minutes have elapsed since the last bid.

Important things to consider when you buy house in Italy at auction

If you wish to take part in an auction, we advise you to seek legal assistance. This will safeguard you as well as provide support with all the preparatory and subsequent phases of the sale, in particular with regard to the following.

1. Starting price of the sale (the base price at which the asset is for sale).

2. Bid increments (minimum increase in the raise set by the executor judge).

3. Security deposit (minimum amount to pay in order to take part in the auction).

4. Date of the sale (when the auction takes place).

5. Availability of the property (state of the property: if it is vacant and/or subject to constraints such as sitting tenants; the property may be occupied by virtue of a lease or a loan agreement and so on).

6. Town-planning- cadastral compliance of the property.

7. Place of the sale (auctions used to be in the courts or courts of appeal, but as of 2018 they are now mostly and preferably held online on dedicated online platforms; it is, therefore, necessary to register and access the, “Portale delle vendite pubbliche” of Ministry of Justice).


At De Tullio Law Firm, we have over 55 years of experience managing all types of Italian property transactions. We have in-depth expertise in Italian and international legal systems and processes.

There are many potential pitfalls and legal ramifications to consider when buying Italian property at auction. We would always recommend that you seek independent professional advice before participating in an Italian property auction.

Buying Italian property at auction can be a good way to buy a property provided you do it safely. For more information on how to buy a house in Italy at auction, please get in touch.

Property in Italy. Advice for Buying, Renovating And Selling.

When buying a property in Italy, it’s essential to think about the long-term consequences. Do your due diligence and follow all legal protocols to avoid potential problems.

We thank our clients who agreed to share their experience of buying, renovating, and selling property in Italy. Their responses provide valuable insights for anyone considering an Italian property investment.

What attracted you to buy property in Italy?

“We didn’t initially intend to buy a property in Italy…

We were invited to stay with friends who had a house in a small Italian village. We saw a house in the same village that had been empty for about 16 years and just decided to buy it! We contacted the owners and one of them showed us around the property. We wanted to use the property as a shared holiday home for the four of us, who are friends. Although the house needed a lot of work, we thought it could be a fun project. “

 Our Advice?

  1. We would advise that before making any decisions about purchasing a property, it is important to thoroughly research the local real estate market and understand the costs and legal requirements involved in buying and owning property in Italy.
  2. Online advice can sometimes be misleading or even incorrect. It would be wise to consult with an experienced real estate agent and a lawyer, as well as a contractor who can provide an estimate for any necessary repairs or renovations.
  3. Additionally, if you are planning to buy property as a shared venture, it would be a good idea to discuss and establish a plan for managing and maintaining the property among friends.
  4. It’s also important to consider the long-term plan for the property, such as what to do with it when no one is using it.
  5. Ultimately, it’s important to weigh all the factors and determine if the project is financially and logistically feasible before proceeding with the purchase.

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Can you tell us how you bought your property in Italy?

“The purchasing process was hit and miss… 

We were put in touch with people by the friends we had stayed with. However we quickly found that translation was a big issue. The estate agent proceeded to put us in touch with a notary who insisted we understand everything. Our entire property purchase team consisted of the Estate agent, property a consultant the notary and translators. We did not engage a lawyer.”

Our Advice?

  1. Prioritise finding a real estate agent or a property consultant who is fluent in the same language as you to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings. Be aware that real estate agents facilitate the search for an Italian property. However, Italian real estate agents have no legal obligation to undertake searches of a technical or legal nature (due diligence).
  2. Engage a lawyer who speaks your language and can guide you through the whole legal process, ensure your rights are protected and review all the necessary documentation.
  3. International clients are often confused about the role of an Italian Notary. There is a mistaken belief that a public notary (notaio) performs the same function as a lawyer, solicitor or attorney (avvocato). This is not the case. Italian notaries act on behalf of the Italian State whereas a lawyer, is someone you engage to act exclusively on your behalf in a legal matter.
  4. Have a clear plan of how to communicate with your team in Italy in order to ensure everyone is on the same page and to avoid any confusion.
  5. Make sure to ask for clarification and confirmation of any important information or details that you don’t understand.
  6. Take your time with the process and don’t rush into any decisions. Make sure you fully understand all the terms and conditions before proceeding.

Did you buy the property alone or with others?

“The purchasing process was quite complex..

We are 2 couples and we came to a friendly agreement to have all names in the deed of sale. All owned a quarter each. All decisions had to be unanimously decided by all four. We found the overall purchasing process different to the UK. Quite complex and it took roughly 9 or 10 months to complete.”

Our Advice?

  1. Prioritise communication and organisation among the co-buyers. Having a clear plan and decision-making process in place will help ensure that the process runs smoothly.
  2. Research and understand the legal requirements and procedures involved in buying property in Italy. The laws and regulations of Italy vary significantly from other countries. It’s important to be aware of them before signing any paperwork. You can read more about this here.
  3. Consult with a local lawyer who has experience in property transactions in Italy. This will ensure that all legal requirements are met and that parties’ rights are protected.
  4. Be prepared for the process to take longer than you might expect. It’s important to be patient and allow enough time to complete all the necessary steps.
  5. Make sure to keep accurate records of all transactions, agreements, and communications throughout the process to avoid any potential misunderstandings or disputes among the group.
  6. Keep in mind that buying a property as a group can be challenging, especially if all decisions have to be made unanimously. It’s important to have open and honest communication, and to be willing to compromise when necessary.
  7. Prepare for unexpected costs and have a contingency plan in place.

Did you undertake any renovations once you owned the property in Italy?

“The house was in need of complete renovation…

The property had no certificate of habitability. Someone in the village recommended a geometra who organised the renovation with local builders. The geometra didn’t speak English but his daughter was a solicitor who translated everything for us. At the time we believed all the planning permissions and paperwork had been taken care of. However when we came to sell the property we found out that was not the case…”

Our Advice?

Buying and renovating a property in Italy is a common scenario. It is also a common scenario for these projects to end in heartache. Unfortunately, we often don’t meet these buyers until after they have purchased a property. They have usually spent way more than expected and then need help to fix problems. Overall, it’s important to be well-informed, organised, and to work with professionals who have experience of renovations in Italy. This will ensure that the renovation process goes smoothly and that you are later able to sell the property without any issues.

  1. Be sure to obtain certificates of habitability and energy efficiency when buying an Italian property. If the property does not have either certificate, make sure you understand the long term implications of this.
  2. Prioritise obtaining all necessary planning permits, licenses, and approvals before starting any renovation work. It’s important to be aware of all the legal requirements and regulations and to make sure that the work is in compliance with them.
  3. Work with reputable and licensed contractors and tradespeople, who are familiar with regulations and have experience with the type of work you need.
  4. Engage a lawyer to draw up a detailed contract with the contractor. A lawyer can also help you understand and communicate with the geometra and other professionals involved in the renovation process, if you don’t speak Italian.
  5. Keep accurate records of all agreements, invoices, and receipts.
  6. When buying a property in need of complete renovation, it’s important to have a realistic budget. Additionally you should plan a contingency for unexpected costs.
  7. Prepare for unexpected issues to arise during the renovation process and have a plan in place for how to address them.

What made you decide to sell your property in Italy?

“We decided to sell the property… 

We had planned to spend more time but personal circumstances at home didn’t allow it. For numerous reasons. The covid pandemic didn’t help. When we were there, there was always lots of work to do in the garden and the house. It was fun going but it never felt like a holiday. Getting older, we did not want to risk creating problems for our children in the future should something happen to us. After owning the property for 15 years we decided it was time to sell it.”

Our Advice?

  1. If you’re buying or already own a property in Italy, it’s important to plan ahead for its future ownership. Estate planning is an ongoing process that should be reviewed and updated as your family and circumstances change. Failing to take the right steps can lead to family disputes and complications after your death. Consider consulting a lawyer for guidance on how to best manage your Italian property.
  2. When considering selling, a lawyer can ensure that all necessary legal paperwork and permits are in order before listing the property, which will speed up the sales process and increase opportunities to reach prospective buyers.

Can you tell us about the sales process of your property in Italy?

“The property sales process was straightforward. 

When it came to the sale of the property, on a friend’s recommendation, we engaged De Tullio Law Firm. We gave De Tullio Law Firm power of attorney. The team were able to do everything for us. The overall process took about a year because when preparing the listing, De Tullio Law Firm discovered missing permits, certificates, etc… We then needed to acquire retroactive planning permission, which took a few months. Once all the documentation was complete and correct, the house sold very quickly”.

Our Advice?

  1. Selling your Italian property can be a complex and time-consuming process. To ensure a smooth and successful sale, prepare and organise all the necessary legal documents and paperwork before listing it.
  2. Paperwork includes the title deeds, land registry entries, building permits, certificate of habitability,  energy performance certificate (APE) and a certificate of urban destination (CDU). Having these documents readily available will speed up the sales process and increase the property’s appeal to potential buyers.
  3. To make this process easier, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a lawyer who is familiar with the Italian property market and regulations. Your lawyer can provide a pre-sales service to ensure that all the paperwork is in order before listing the property for sale. This can also include handling the marketing of the property and representing you if you are unable to travel or make multiple trips to Italy.
“The overall experience of buying and owning a property in Italy was a life changer. Overcoming legal challenges and completing renovations led to amazing times at the house. We had great neighbours, friends, and support from the village. Our property partners were fantastic, discussing everything and sharing 15 memorable years with us. 
If anyone is considering doing a similar project, I would say just follow your heart. As long as you take the sound advice by De Tullio Law firm, you will be well guided throughout the process. “

Finally …

De Tullio Law Firm is your go-to for expert guidance and support when buying, owning, or selling Italian property. We have over 55 years of experience in Italian and cross-border property, family, and inheritance matters. Our team provides comprehensive and personalised service to ensure your property transaction runs smoothly.

Trust us to handle the legal complexities and help you navigate the often-challenging Italian property market. Contact us today to schedule a free preliminary consultation.


You may also be interested in our Guide to Building And Renovating Property in Italy.

You might also like our info videos about Italian property, succession and family law.

Italian Inheritance Law. A Short Guide

Italian Inheritance law can be labyrinthine. At a very difficult time, those left behind find they need to navigate their way through a maze of bureaucratic procedures, red tape and paperwork. It is easy to get lost in Italian inheritance law without help. For more comprehensive information about Italian inheritance law and tax, download our free guide here.

The Italian succession process involves a series of steps that allow legitimate heirs to obtain possession of a decedent’s movable and immovable assets and bank accounts.

Firstly, heirs will need to gather all the required documentation (death certificate, residence certificate, will, bank statements and others). In order to proceed, having all the paperwork together is crucial.

Declaration of succession

Secondly, heirs will need to prepare a declaration of succession. This comprises all the assets in the deceased’s estate. Heirs must submit their declaration of succession to the Italian tax authorities.

Italian Civil Code regulates succession. It consists of transferring assets, bank accounts and properties to heirs, who are also responsible for managing any liabilities, debts and back taxes.

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The Italian tax authorities should receive the declaration of succession within one year from the deceased’s date of death. Where the value of an estate is below €100.000 and does not comprise property, a declaration is not necessary.

Italian inheritance law. What is taxable?

The third step is paying inheritance tax. In accordance with 2019 inheritance tax law, heirs who inherit Italian assets are liable for tax based on the assets in their declaration of succession.

Italian inheritance law stipulates that the following assets are liable for tax:

Immovable property (houses, shops, buildings), agricultural or building land.

Movable property, including boats, jewellery, works of art, bank and post office current accounts, money, investments such as shares, bonds, trust funds, etc.

Companies and shareholdings, with the exception of cases provided for by law which exempt heirs from the inheritance tax.

How is Italian inheritance tax calculated?

Once the Italian tax authorities receive a declaration of succession, they calculate applicable estate tax. The calculation considers any deductibles (franchigie). That is to say, the calaculation takes into account any thresholds for exemption from applicable tax[1].

The law governing taxation of inheritances and gifts is the “Consolidated Tax Registration Law” (Legislative Decree No. 346 of October 31, 1990).

For tax purposes, three bands have been created, based on the degree of kinship, for each of which a different rate of tax is applicable. Tax rates are determined on the overall value of the assets and rights – net of any charges borne by the beneficiary[2].

Band 1 inheritance law tax:

Spouse, registered partner and relatives in a direct line (parents and children, children and parents, grandparents and grandchildren)

Tax: 4% with an excess of €1,000,000 for each beneficiary

Band 2 inheritance law tax:

Other relatives up to the fourth degree (brothers and sisters, uncles and nephews, cousins).

Tax: 6% with a franchise of €100,000 for each beneficiary;

Band 3 inheritance law tax:

Others (relatives beyond the fourth degree and unrelated people such as friends).

Tax: 8% without any deductibles.

Finally …

As you can see, Italian Inheritance law and tax is complex. In addition, it may differ from case to case. Because of this, it is worth seeking expert support. Read more

Renovating A Property in Italy. A Short Guide

Renovating a property in Italy is a complex process requiring a wide range of competencies

Renovating a property in Italy means making sure all the work meets legal requirements. Otherwise, you run the risk of criminal prosecution.

Before renovating a property in Italy, do your homework

Obtaining legal assistance will make the entire renovation process easier and crucially, ensure that all legal requirements are met in a timely manner.

Legal support can save you money and mitigate the risk of criminal liabilities and prosecution.

Legal due diligence is key

Before you buy a renovation project in Italy, it is vital to do some in-depth research about the property. This legal due diligence step verifies, amongst other things, the compliance status with municipal planning and land registry documentation.

At De Tullio Law Firm, we offer a complete range of services to assess the legal situation before you purchase a property or before you start renovation work.

Firstly, we can check that the current (de facto) condition and the official (de jure) condition of the property match all the documentation lodged with the cadastre. Secondly we can search for all the planning and building permits lodged with the Municipal Technical Office and check these are in order. Thirdly, we can ascertain from municipal records that the entire property – including any additions and outbuildings, have all the relevant planning consents.

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Without the above, you will not be able to obtain authorisation to commence renovation works. Renovating the property will require that you apply for the relevant permits issued by the local municipality.

Buying to renovate

Once you are sure that the property meets legal requirements and structural specifications and if you have decided to proceed with the purchase, having a legal professional on your side will be helpful in negotiating the property price and ensuring the purchase goes smoothly.

Choose a specialist property lawyer with expertise in building law and regulations. Bear in mind that if down the line, you undertake any work that is not legally compliant, you run the risk of prosecution. In Italy this can mean a protracted, costly matter and will obviously require legal services. In the long run, it may be more cost-effective to budget legal services from the outset of your project.

Steps involved in renovating a property in Italy

Design and Planning

Once you own the property, technical experts – a surveyor and/or an architect – assess its de facto condition and design the renovation work.

Plans must meet provisions of current legislation, with particular regard to energy efficiency and sanitation regulations.

You will also need to respect zoning and planning regulations in the design.

In order to draw up suitable tenders,  you should make a complete list of materials and finishes at the design phase.

Building quotes

Subsequently, you will need to choose a building company to carry out the work.

This step involves submitting the executive project – drawn up by your surveyor or architect – and the above-mentioned specification list of the works to at least three companies. In this way, you have a comparison to help choose the most competitive and suitable offer.

Usually, for refurbishment, there are three types of companies involved (construction, electrician, plumber).

To simplify management of the work, it is advisable to contract only one company, who will then sub-contract the work. It is vital to check that your chosen building company conforms with Italian fiscal requirements, in particular through the DURC (Documento Unico di Regolarità Contributiva), a document proving that the company makes social security contributions on behalf of its employees.

In order to avoid conflicts of interest, it is advisable to nominate a project manager unrelated to the building company.

Building contract

The next key step is to draw up a detailed contract between yourself and the building company. This is an area that requires a thorough understanding of the law. Your building contract guarantees your legal protection during and following the completion of your building work. The contract is of paramount importance, especially if you need to seek legal recourse at some point. You should ensure that your contract is legally binding and specifies the building company’s duties.

Tax incentives

It is also advisable to check what tax deductions and/or funding is available. Even if you have already started renovation work, incentives periodically become available.

Building permits and starting renovations

You will need to officially declare the property owner, project manager and building company and apply for the relevant building permit. Your local municipal technical office is responsible for providing a building permit. When you have received the relevant authorisation, building work can commence.

A Safety and Coordination Plan (Piano di Sicurezza e Coordinamento) must be drawn up pursuant to Legislative decree 81/08, and a Safety Coordinator (Coordinatore della Sicurezza in fase di Esecuzione) must be appointed to supervise the building procedure. The building company must comply with the terms specified in this document as well as draft its own Operational Safety Plan (Piano Operativo di Sicurezza, POS). All waste produced on the construction site must be properly managed and treated in compliance with local disposal laws.

Signing off

Once work is complete, you will need to have everything assessed, inspected and approved. Then the cadastral value of the property needs updating in the land registry and you can apply for a certificate of habitability.

Finally …

Are you considering renovating a property in Italy? Are you experiencing problems with a renovation project in Italy? If you would like support or further information, our legal professionals can help. We can make your project easier by guiding, advising and protecting you through the entire procedure. Reach us at


You may also be interested in Building a House in Italy: a short step by step guide.

You may also like to watch our useful info videos.