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?

We have an updated article on this topic, which you can read here: Canadian Investors in Italian Real Estate 2023

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 non-Canadian nationals buying in Canada. Likewise, reciprocal restrictions therefore apply to Canadians, who are now restricted from purchasing certain types of property in Italy and elsewhere overseas.

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 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, Canadians can still explore property investment opportunities in Italy through various avenues:

Special Circumstances:

For instance, individuals with close family ties or business interests in Italy may qualify under certain conditions.

Refugee Protection Act:

Canadians residing in Italy temporarily under the Refugee Protection Act or with protected status are eligible to purchase property in the country.

Joint Ownership:

Purchase with an Italian, EU citizen, or an Italian resident who has a Canadian spouse or partner is an option. Joint owners share equal rights and responsibilities for the property.

Diplomatic or Consular Reasons:

In some cases, foreign states may purchase property in Italy for diplomatic or consular purposes, such as providing residences for diplomatic personnel or establishing embassies or consulates.

It’s essential to note that the regulations and requirements for these options may vary. Therefore, Canadians should consult with a lawyer knowledgeable in both Canadian and Italian law, including the FPPRA, to navigate these opportunities effectively.

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.

Get Your FREE Guide to Buying Property in Italy

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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.

Buying An Italian Property. A Short Guide

This short guide aims to cover the key elements of the Italian purchasing process

For a more in-depth explanation, you may wish to read our comprehensive Italian Property Buying Guide.

Buying an Italian property proceeds through 3 key stages:

– Proposta irrevocabile d’acquisto (Reservation offer)

– Contratto preliminare di vendita (Preliminary contract)

– Atto di vendita (Deed of sale)

Once you have chosen your property you should engage the services of a solicitor, whether you buy through a real estate agent or directly from the vendor.

The knowledge that an Italian solicitor has about Italian real estate law is invaluable – plus, your own solicitor is there exclusively to look after your interests.

The first stage. Reservation offer

When buying an Italian property, the first document you will have to sign is a, “proposta irrevocabile d’acquisto” (reservation offer). This is normal practice when purchasing through an estate agent

In contrast, when purchasing directly from the seller (a private sale) a reservation offer is unusual. The implications of dispensing with a reservation offer is one of the many reasons why you should seek legal advice.

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By signing the proposta irrevocabile d’acquisto, you secure the removal of the property from the market for a limited period of time, normally 15 days.

It is important to highlight that a reservation offer is only binding upon the buyer when formal written acceptance of the offer has been received from the vendor. Once the agreement has been signed by both parties, it becomes a legally binding contract.

First deposit

You will need to pay a small deposit, which is normally held by the estate agent or solicitor until the vendor has formally accepted the reservation offer.

Should you finalise the purchase, this deposit becomes a part payment of the purchase price. If the seller does not formally accept the offer, your deposit will be refunded.

Due diligence

While the property is off the market, your solicitor, assisted by a surveyor, will make all the necessary searches to ascertain that the property doesn’t have any debts, mortgages, claims etc. Due diligence checks and searches ensure there will be no unpleasant and possibly costly surprises during or after the purchase.

The second stage of buying an Italian property. Preliminary contract

Normally at this stage, buyer and seller having agreed to go ahead with the conveyance, will formalise their agreement through a “contratto preliminare di vendita” (preliminary contract)

Some estate agents (and especially in the case of private sales) choose, or recommend, leaving out this part of the purchase process. However, this legal document really is essential. It sets out the detailed terms and conditions of the sale.

Estate agents often use boilerplate preliminary contract templates. These may not be suitable for your personal situation. Your purchase may be subject to certain terms and conditions. For example, you may have come across some structural issues during due diligence and want to make your purchase contingent on a surveyor’s report. This condition would need to be in the preliminary contract. A solicitor can draft the contract, or at least to examine the estate agent’s template and advise you on any implications before you sign it.

Second deposit

One of the essential legal elements of the preliminary contract is the payment of a deposit (caparra confirmatoria). This is normally equivalent to a minimum of 10% of the purchase price.

If you back out of the contract without a valid legal reason, you will lose this deposit. On the other hand, if the seller changes their mind about the sale, they will have to refund your deposit in full. You would also have the right to claim an amount equal to the deposit through the Italian courts.

In the preliminary contract, the parties also set the date to finalise the conveyance in front of the public notary.

The third Stage of buying an Italian property. Completion of the sale

By law a notary must oversee Italian property transactions. The notary is a public official who has State authority to validate contracts transferring the ownership of a property. The notary is also responsible for paying all land registry fees and cadastral taxes.

A notary must remain absolutely impartial

A notary may not therefore offer legal advice to any party involved in a property transaction. The notary cannot therefore act as a substitute for a solicitor in terms of representing the interests of the buyer.

In order to ensure you have proper legal safeguards, the only way is to engage the services of an independent solicitor. Only by having your own solicitor, can you be confident that no unpleasant surprises will be revealed at this late stage of the purchase process.

Deed of sale

Buying an Italian property concludes with the, “atto di vendita” (deed of sale).

The deed of sale is drafted by the notary and has to be fully compliant with the preliminary contract. In other words, the preliminary contract dictates all the essential elements of the transaction.


Should any of the parties not understand the Italian language, Italian law requires a translation of the deed of sale. Unless you have an Italian solicitor who speaks your language, the notary may also require that a qualified translator be present at the signing.

Unlike a translator, the advantage of having a solicitor with you is that should any last-minute legal issues arise at the signing, your solicitor will be able to immediately resolve these.

You should be aware that the Italian version of the deed will prevail in a court of law if any issues arise at a later stage.

Signing day

On the appointed signing day, all parties to the transaction convene, usually at the notary’s office. The notary reads the deed aloud and all parties then sign it in front of the notary. Once signed, the buyer pays the balance of the purchase price to the seller and the new owner receives the keys of the property.

New owners can collect a copy of the deed from the notary approximately one month after the signing. It takes approximately one month to register the deed at the relevant land registry office.

If the buyer cannot be present to sign the deed of sale in front of the notary, the buyer can give a power of attorney to their solicitor. This will permit the solicitor to sign the deed of sale on the buyer’s behalf.

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.

Buying an Italian property. Glossary
  • Proposta irrevocabile di vendita: An initial formal offer with a small deposit. It contains the price you are willing to offer and any conditions.
  • Contratto preliminare di vendita: This contract sets out, in detail, the terms and conditions of the sale and also all the relevant cadastral and land registry information. Also called a, “Compromesso”.
  • Caparra confirmatoria: Italian Civil Code regulates this deposit under art.1385 of the. If a deposit is defined as a “caparra confirmatoria” its payment gives rise to legal rights and obligations on both parties.
  • Atto di Vendita: All parties sign the deed of sale in front of a public notary. The buyer makes outstanding balance of payment and receives the keys to the property. Also called a, “Rogito”.

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.

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Selling Your Italian Property. A Short Guide

Selling your Italian property can be a difficult and lengthy process

To aid the process in the long run, it is therefore important to make things easier at the outset. Prior to selling your Italian property there are certain preparations that are worthwhile making.

Preparing a sales package

The first step is to gather all the legal paperwork relating to the property.

Amongst other things, this includes the title deeds which prove you are the legal owner. Also, land registry entries to show that the whole property has planning permission and complies with building regulations. In addition, the property’s certificate of habitability and energy performance certificate.

Having this paperwork before you start marketing the property will facilitate the whole sales process for you as well as potential buyers.

Marketing your Italian property

The next step is putting the property on the market. You can either do this as a private sale or through a real estate agent (agente immobiliare).

If you are appointing an Italian real estate agent, it is important to ensure that the agent is qualified and registered with the local Chamber of Commerce in full compliance with Italian law. Legislation governing real estate agents aims to guarantee professional qualification. An unregistered agent could be prosecuted for carrying out a reserved activity and may not be legally entitled to request commission. Legislation also ensures that the agent has adequate indemnity insurance to cover clients in the event something goes wrong.

It’s important to think about whether the real estate agent can market the property locally, nationally and internationally. Perhaps ask a few agents to appraise the property. And, be sure to discuss brokerage fees before you choose.

Checking Italian real estate agent terms and conditions

Usually, both the buyer and the vendor pay the estate agent commission. Estate agent commission is negotiable but is generally equivalent to 3% of the full sale price. Amongst other aspects, it is important to assess the agent. In particular, their brokerage fees, minimum sale price, duration of the mandate and their exclusivity.

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Frequently, real estate agents require a foreign seller to sign standard terms of engagement. The seller must carefully evaluate this before signing. All the more so if the document is in Italian. Even with the translation of the terms of engagement into your language, the Italian version will prevail.

Reservation offers in Italy

Once a potential buyer is considering the purchase of your property, the potential buyer will generally sign a legally binding document called, Proposta Irrevocabile d’Acquisto, a Reservation Offer. Often the buyer makes a small deposit to the vendor at this point.

Both the buyer and the property vendor should sign the reservation offer. In effect, the reservation offer removes the property from the market for a period of time, usually 15 days. This allows the interested buyer exclusive rights to conduct due diligence on the property.

Property checks and searches in Italy

Due diligence includes: conducting surveys, planning and building application/permission searches, local authority and land registry searches, and legal searches.

This is where preparing your sales package before marketing your property comes into its own.

The aim of due diligence, amongst other things, is to establish that the property exists in relevant records. In other words that it is as described, and the seller has the right to sell the property in question.

That there are no mortgages/charges or any third party rights or other undisclosed encumbrances affecting the property.

The property complies with all local planning and building regulations and complies with any relevant local authority urban plan.

That the property is fit for human occupancy, unless the property is selling for reconstruction, and that the owner holds the relevant certification of habitability Certificato di Abitabilità.

The seller has complied with all the relevant Italian tax legislation by lodging tax returns, and paying tax. This includes tax which may have been due in the previous tax years. In default of this requirement, the property may be legally unsaleable.

That where the vendor is the owner of a company, the vendor is not insolvent. In addition, no application to this effect should be pending against the owner; 

That where the property is in a block of flats, the vendor is up to date with all service charges due.

Make sure the preliminary contract fits your buyer’s specific needs when selling your Italian property

Having a tailored preliminary contract will facilitate your sale. Often estate agents use a standard form for this, but this may not meet your buyer’s specific circumstances. What happens, for example, if your buyer is purchasing subject to getting a mortgage? Make sure you cover all the bases to ensure that selling your Italian property doesn’t become more protracted than it needs to be.

Conditions precedent in a preliminary contract protect all parties when buying and selling property in Italy. However, to provide protection, conditional clauses must actually be written into the preliminary contract in order for them to be legally binding.

Selling your Italian property: completing the sale

This usually takes place in the offices of a notary (Notaio). In Italy, sellers and purchasers often use the same notary to oversee the transaction. However, you are perfectly within your rights to have your own notary.

The notary will draw up the deed of sale based on information contained in your preliminary contract.

Liability relating to an Italian deed of sale, involves not only the selling and buying parties but also the notary. Failure to disclose all relevant facts about your Italian property represents a complex legal matter which can have far-reaching consequences.

Finally …

For more detailed information about selling your Italian property, we have prepared a free Guide to Selling Property in Italy

If you are thinking of selling a property in Italy, why not talk to us? We offer a pre-sales service. This ensures that all the legal sales-related paperwork is correct before you put your property on the market.

De Tullio Law Firm can advise and guide you throughout your Italian property selling 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.


You may also be interested in Selling Property in Italy. A Short Guide.

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New Build Warranty in Italy

Buying a new build home in Italy should mean you encounter fewer problems than you would with an older property. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If you purchase a newly built property, or a property that is under construction, you want reassurance that the builder will fix any issues with your new build property. If problems occur, a new build warranty should help.

What is a new build warranty?

Legislative Decree No. 122 of 20 June 2005 introduced new build warranties in Italy. A new build warranty is essentially a ten-year indemnity insurance policy for newly built homes or property projects that are under construction. The warranty is taken out by the builder or developer but is in place to protect you, the buyer.

In Italy, a new build warranty typically covers you for any construction and material defects and direct damage to the property, as well as damage caused to third parties. The policy takes effect from the date of completion of construction work.

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When is a new build warranty mandatory in Italy?

The obligation for a builder or developer to provide a new build warranty exists exclusively for:

– Purchases of new build properties and construction projects by private individuals (art. 1 paragraph 1 a) Legislative Decree 122/2005). It does not therefore apply if the purchaser is, for example, a company.

– For real estate that is subject to a preliminary contract signed prior to the completion of construction. In this case, the promissory purchaser will need to show the new build warranty to the notary appointed to draw up the Deed of Sale.

Ministerial Decree No. 154 of 20 July 2022, which came into force on 5th November, 2022, stipulates that the notary must verify the details of the warranty, acknowledging its compliance with Italian legislation.

In particular, with the recent introduction of the new build warranty standard template, the notary must verify the existence of the following essential elements:

Annex A. This is the Standard Form (Schema Tipo) of the warranty. The clauses it contains constitute the minimum content of the ten-year new build warranty pursuant to Legislative Decree 122/2005;

Annex B. This contains the Technical Datasheet (Scheda Tecnica) which serves the sole purpose of simplifying the policy activation procedure. It contains the main identification information of the parties and the scope of the insurance cover. The Technical Datasheet forms an integral and substantive part of the contractual agreement.

Annex C. This is the Certificate of Compliance (Modello di Attestazione di conformità). It serves to certify that the new build warranty complies with the standard template. This is in order to comply with Article 4 paragraph 1-quater pursuant to which, the deed of transfer of ownership must contain the identification details of the new build warranty and the certificate of compliance.

What if there is no new build warranty?

Failure to issue a new build warranty at the time of the transfer of ownership constitutes grounds for invalidating the sale and purchase agreement. Withdrawing from the purchase can only be exercised by the purchaser (it is in fact a ground for relative invalidity).

Moreover, as a result of the amendments introduced by Legislative Decree 14/2019, in addition to possible action to void the sale, the purchaser has the right to enforce the warranty in the event of a breach by the builder, provided that the purchaser notifies the intention not to proceed with the completion of the transaction (art. 3 paragraph 3b of Legislative Decree no. 122/2005).

Finally …

Buying a property in Italy is always exciting, but when your new Italian home is a new build, it’s extra special. You’ll be the first to make the property a home, having everything exactly as you would like it to be. But before you buy, you’ll want to check that all the building work and related paperwork is correct. At De Tullio Law Firm, we have decades of experience specialising in Italian property law. Get in touch and let us help you make your Italian new build property purchase safely.

You may also be interested in Insurance Policy for Off-Plan Properties.

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