Buying a property in Italy- General Information

The information on this page  is compiled with the greatest care; nevertheless, no rights may be derived from this information and attachments. We recommend that you check with the embassy in your country for the specifications and available information regarding your plans.


















Do not worry, this page  is just to inform you. We take the time to go through everything with you in person step by step, and we will organize the purchasing necessities and process for you. From start to finish, hassle-free and transparent.


The notary is a public officer to whom the Italian State has entrusted the task of producing all deeds between living persons as well as last wills and testaments and endowing such documents with public trust.
In addition to family relationships, on which he or she is among the leading experts, and questions of succession, the notary is involved in many areas, including: real estate conveyancing (purchase and sale of homes, offices, land, warehouses, workshops, donations, subdivisions, mort – gages etc.); important changes in company structure, whether it be a one-person firm or a corporate entity (constitution and winding up, amendments to the bylaws of the company, sale, and leasing of businesses, etc.).

The Italian notary is subject to stringent checks by the State that help further in – crease the safety of the client for whom he performs work.
All notarial deeds, in fact, are subject to periodic inspection by the Department of Taxation (every four months) and the Ministry of Justice (every two years), to verify that the correct amount of tax has been paid and that the deeds comply with the law. Notarial District Councils, on the other hand, oversee the notary’s professional conduct. Should irregularities be detected, the notary undergoes disciplinary proceedings with possible penalties; these are entrusted to independent regional disciplinary commissions presided over by a magistrate. This ensures the absolute impartiality of any decisions.

On behalf of the State, the Italian notary collects the taxes linked to all deeds (registration tax, mortgage, and cadastral taxes, etc.).

Each year through its online network the notarial system pays in several billion euros of indirect taxes and capital gains without charging the State any commission, even if the client does not pay what is due.

2- The Notarised Public Deed:
The notary confers public trust, i.e., the status of legal proof, to the deeds he draws up. So, everyone – including the courts – must accept as true what he has attested, unless the crime of forgery is established.
For this reason, the notary must personally determine what the intentions are of those persons who engage him and the goal to be achieved, in order to prepare the deed, in accordance with the law, in the most suitable and economical manner. To this end provision of the notary’s advice prior to the signing of the deed is essential.

In performing his function, the notary must, by law, be independent and impartial:

*) He must protect the interests of all parties equally, regardless of who has appointed him. He must, therefore, decline to act whenever there is a conflict of interest (for example, when his own relatives are parties to a transaction).

*) The notary performs a prior check on legality, He has a duty to ensure the laws are respected and cannot and must not produce deeds in contravention of the law.

*) Before drawing up a deed, the notary must determine who the parties are that have come to him and must certify their identity.

*) The notary performs a prior check on legality.

*) The notary also has the duty to ensure that the parties have the right to enter into the transaction. With particular reference to persons who are legally incapable and legal entities, the notary must be sure that the person before him has lawful power of attorney and that all relevant authorisations necessary for the completion of the transaction are in place.

*) The notary is required to verify the conformity of the intent declared to him with the rules of the legal system, and not only of the Italian legal system.

*) In the event that a case has foreign implications, the notary must identify the law applicable to the case according to the rules of private international law and must evaluate whether the intention of the parties is in accordance with the applicable rules.


Under the law on money laundering, the notary must ensure the identification of clients and the beneficial owner of the operation and report any suspicious transactions to the FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit) at the Bank of Italy.

According to data provided by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), about 90% of the suspicious transaction reports received from professionals come from notaries. This helps demonstrate how the notary is not only at the service of the public but also assists the authorities in checks on legality.


The law requires that deeds be written in Italian. But when the parties declare that they do not know the Italian language, the deed may be written in a foreign language, so long as that language is known by the notary.

The text in a foreign language will be accompanied by an Italian translation. If the notary does not understand the foreign language used by the parties, it will still be possible to draw up the deed in the presence of an interpreter chosen by the parties.

In this last case, the deed will be written in Italian, but will be accompanied by the translation prepared by the interpreter in the foreign language. In this way, foreigners too may enjoy the benefits of transactions sealed by a notarial deed.

The deed and any translation into a foreign language, must then be read out to the parties by the notary, if necessary, with the help of the interpreter.

Thus, the parties will be able to check that the notary has correctly represented their intentions in the public document before signing it.


Following the signing of a deed, the notary will lodge it with the appropriate public registries: land, companies, civil status, etc.

Registration of notarial documents is therefore not a burden on the parties but is a clear obligation of the notary.
Thanks to this task entrusted by law to the notary, the public registers of the Italian State are complete, reliable, and up to date in near real time.

The notary is responsible for the filing and preservation of the deeds he has drawn up, so they do not run the risk of being lost.

Only in specific cases provided for by law may the notary deliver the original to the parties. It is also incumbent on the notary to issue certified copies to those requesting them.

The law assigns to such copies the same value as the originals. The preservation of notarial deeds is assured even after the notary who created them ceases his professional activity.
The deeds are then delivered to the Notarial Archive, a facility of the Ministry of Justice of the Italian State, which will ensure their preservation and issue certified copies.


For his work the notary, as a public official, must adhere to strict rules laid down in the code of ethics and the law to ensure, amongst other things, that:

*) notarial deeds are in accordance with the will of the parties.

*) notarial deeds are valid, meaning in compliance with the law.

*) the legal effects of deeds are not affected by any encumbrances or rights of third parties (such as mortgages, foreclosures, easements, pre-emption, etc.) about which the notary did not warn the parties.

If the notary fails to perform his professional duties, he is responsible under the law in several cases:

*) civil: if he has caused damage to the parties through non-performance of his professional duties, the notary is obliged to make good the damage.

*) criminal: if he has committed crimes.

*) disciplinary: if he has violated the ethical standards of the profession, the notary must pay pecuniary fines or be suspended from the profession for a specified period of time or, in serious cases, he may be struck off.

In view of these responsibilities, notaries were the first profession in Italy to have set up, as early as 1999, compulsory insurance that by law covers every notary in the case of civil liability for error. There is also a guarantee fund for damages resulting from criminal offences.
So, a member of the public, whether Italian or foreign, who enters the office of a notary public knows that he or she can count on protection both in the case of error as well as in the case of malpractice, and that without exception.


1- What are the rights of the client?

*) To receive an estimate of the cost of the deed, with an indication of the individual expenditure items (taxes, fees and VAT).

*) To be received and heard directly by a notary before the execution of the deed in order to submit special needs or seek clarification of any kind.

*) A full reading of the deed with all necessary explanation.

*) To receive a full explanation in simple and understandable terms of all the tax implications, including those in the future.

*) Absolute confidentiality of the notary and his staff about decisions taken and the information communicated.

2- Are there also duties?
Not so much duties as “instructions for use”:

*) Do not request deeds that are contrary to the law or intended to circumvent it;

*) Explain all the problems involved in the case without hesitation. Often the assets being discussed with the notary involve family and personal situations that it is appropriate to present to the notary in order to avoid a situation where the deed does not achieve the desired objective. Do not be afraid to bring out all aspects of the case.

*) Pay close attention during the reading and explanation of the act; that way, it will be easier for the notary to illustrate every aspect and correct any inaccuracies, even those simply relating to personal data.


The notary, when he is called upon to act in relation to public documents or authenticated private documents involving one or more parties who are not Italian citizens, applies a set of rules – known under the overall name of the legal status of foreigners – which define the limits, now quite broad, under which foreign nationals may enter into legal transactions in Italy.
The legal status of foreigners in Italy finds its primary and fundamental regulation in the Italian Constitution, which states that it is governed by law in accordance with international rules and treaties.

With particular regard to international sources, Italy’s membership of the European Union means that the citizens of EU Member States enjoy in Italy the fundamental freedoms laid down by the European legal system, namely the free movement of capital, the free movement of goods, the freedom to establish economic activities in Italy and to provide services in Italy and the free movement of workers.
Based on these freedoms guaranteed by European citizenship, citizens of EU Member States can carry out in Italy, under the same conditions as Italian nationals, all legal acts such as, for example, the purchase of a property or a business, the entering into of a loan agreement or the setting up of a company.

Citizens of countries that are not part of the European Union and except as will be discussed shortly for non-EU citizens legally residing in Italy may enter into transactions with legal validity in Italy only if the condition of reciprocity exists, i.e. only to the extent that it would be possible for an Italian citizen to undertake those same legal steps in the State of the foreign national who intends to operate in Italy.

The condition of reciprocity can be met by means of one of the many international conventions stipulated by Italy with many foreign countries for the mutual protection of investments by nationals of the contracting nations.
Proof of the existence or otherwise of the condition of reciprocity in relation to acts for which the notary’s services have been requested is entrusted to the notary himself and involves an analysis that must necessarily be conducted on a case-by-case basis – if necessary, with the help of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs – since its outcome depends on the specific type of legal transaction involved as well as the national law of the person who is proposing it.

Apart from the fulfilment or otherwise of the condition of reciprocity, citizens of states which are not EU members but who are residing in Italy may enter into legal transactions if their stay in Italy is legitimate under national law.
This condition requires the possession of a valid residency permit or a long-term residency permit, documents which must be shown to the notary prior to the formalisation of the transaction in question.

The possibility for foreign nationals to carry out certain legal activities in Italy having been ascertained under the conditions outlined above, it should nevertheless be noted that the deed in question, even though notarised or authenticated by an Italian notary, will not necessarily be governed by Italian law.

The Italian system of private international law, i.e. the system of rules that allows for identification of the jurisdiction and the law applicable in particular legal situations having transnational characteristics is, in fact, strongly oriented toward openness to foreign legal systems with which such cases may have connections. Italian law and some European Regulations that uniformly govern certain cases of private international law in fact identify a series of connecting factors, depending on the criteria, so that from time-to-time Italian law may be applicable or instead the foreign law identified by the connecting factor; in some cases, the choice of legal system may be made by the parties to the transaction.

For example, with regard to the major issues, it may be pointed out that, according to Italian law:

*) Personal relations between spouses are regulated by the common national law of the spouses or, failing that, by the law of the state where the marriage is predominantly located.

*) Property relationships between spouses are governed by the law which regulates their personal relationships (unless the spouses agree in writing to regulate their assets according to the law of the State of which at least one of them is a national or in which at least one of them resides).

*) Contractual obligations are, however, regulated in accordance with the Rome Convention of 1980 which, in addition to providing for a number of connecting factors according to the circumstances involved, allows the parties, except in limited cases to freely choose an applicable law, even if without any connection with the contract.

Companies, associations, foundations, and any other entities, public or private, even if they do not have the character of an association, are regulated – as a rule – by the law of the State in which the entity was set up.

With regard to foreign spouses, who may be of different nationalities, it is useful to check with the notary to find the most satisfactory solution for their future succession in case of death or for the needs of their children.


In general, for documents originating in a foreign country to be valid in Italy it is necessary, as in most legal systems, that they undergo a process of recognition and validation by the Italian diplomatic and consular authorities abroad: this is called “legalisation”, whereby those authorities certify that the document in question was lawfully produced in its State of origin and its content is therefore reliable.

Given that legalisation is a procedure that involves an expenditure of time and resources that is hardly compatible with the requirements of modern commerce, most countries in the world – including Italy – have signed the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 regarding the abolition of legalisation of foreign public documents. This Convention means signatory nations have allowed legalisation to be replaced, as regards documents from another signatory nation, by the appending of an Apostille, rendering the document valid in the foreign country.

The Apostille is an attestation, prepared in accordance with a standard required by the Hague Convention, as to the legal qualification of the public official (or functionary) who has signed the document and the authenticity of his or her seal or stamp.

This method means that a foreign national in possession of a document requiring validity in Italy can go to the authorities of the State in which it was issued – and a list of the appropriate authorities for each country is contained in the act of accession to the Convention itself – to have the apostille appended, thus making the document legally enforceable in Italy.

The national authority designated by Italy for issuing apostilles for Italian documents to be used abroad is the public prosecutor’s office for notarial deeds, for court documents and for those regarding civil status, while for administrative acts the competent office is the Prefecture (Territorial Government office) of the place where the document was issued.


Buying or selling a property (a home, office, shop, studio, land etc.) is one of the most significant moments in the life of a person, whether it is an investment or, especially, if the property is intended as the family home.

In order, to protect citizens, whether Italian or foreign, the Italian State requires that the contract be drawn up by an impartial public official who is a specialist in this area: the notary.

By law, the notary acts as a third party who is independent of both seller and buyer, ensuring that the conveyance of the property complies with all legal requirements, in accordance with the common interests of the parties and with particular attention to the purchaser.

The role of the notary in this case is seen in all its importance, both for the complexity of the operation and because of the need to protect the parties, from the first moment in which they reach an agreement to proceed with the deal: for this reason it is recommended that the purchaser (almost always the weaker party in the transaction) contact his own notary from the start of the negotiations, before signing a proposal to purchase or preliminary contract, since these already represent a binding commitment; in this way, every aspect of the transaction to be entered into can be considered together with the notary.

*) The choice of notary is absolutely free, it is up to the purchaser, who is required to pay the fees.
The notary first investigates the intentions of the parties to identify the type of deed most suitable for achieving the purpose desired by the client, within the confines of the law.

So, the notary must ask the parties for all the information that will enable him to understand fully the result they want to achieve.

It often happens that, in conversation with the notary, the client ends up changing what had been the initial idea because, for example, there is a more suitable or more fiscally correct solution. Let us imagine the case in which the price is not paid in full at the time of the deed and part of the payment is postponed. In this case it is important to ask the notary’s advice on forms of collateral that can be provided to the seller and the corresponding costs.

There are in fact various forms of protection: from the preparation of promissory notes to the registration of a legal mortgage, to a sale with reservation of ownership, in which case the transfer of ownership of the property takes place only upon payment of the last instalment of the price.

Lastly, the recent economic crisis has led to the creation of additional contractual forms such as rent-to-buy in which the purchase is preceded by a period of fruition of the property upon payment of rent, part of which is deducted from the sale price.

Once the deed to be prepared has been defined, the notary must by law carry out a series of advance checks on legality, to ensure the contract will be valid and unassailable over time.

The property may be bought by a private purchaser, by a company or by a construction company.

*) In any case, the notary will ensure that:

1) the seller really owns the property and has the right to sell it: The notary ascertains the identity of the parties involved in the transaction and their right to act, by verifying the matrimonial property regime applicable between spouses, any power of attorney etc. The notary’s check on the identity of the parties serves to avoid the risk of identity theft, which is widespread in jurisdictions where there is no “Latin” notary.

2) the property is not mortgaged: By law the notary must ascertain that there are no previous mortgages, liens or foreclosures recorded at the Territorial Offices of the taxation authorities. The notary must ensure also that the property in question is not subject to specific constraints e.g. in terms of public housing (existence of particular individual requirements on the buyer, or price constraints), or right of first refusal in favour of certain persons, or covenants regarding assets classified as of historic, artistic or archaeological value.

3) the previous owner has paid all service charges: Upon completion it will be essential to have the managing agent prepare a statement on the payment in full of service charges and levies by the seller, since the buyer is liable for the non-payment of service charges due in the previous year.

4) the cadastral plan conforms to the actual state of the property: The notary must ensure that the cadastral plan exists and must bring it to the attention of the parties; the seller must declare and guarantee correspondence between the cadastral plan and the actual state of the property.

5) the necessary checks have been put in place to ensure that the property is in order in terms of building/planning permissions

6) the correct fiscal regime is adopted by the parties: The notary identifies the taxation applicable to the specific case and proposes it to the parties as well as checking, following indications from the parties, the existence of the requirements for any tax benefits (for example, benefits for the purchase of a first home, or a tax credit or exemption in the case of transfers pursuant to separation or divorce proceedings).
The notary has specific training in tax matters and is able to suggest solutions resulting in legitimate tax savings.
The notary is obliged to collect from the purchaser the funds needed for the payment of taxes and duties; upon registration of the deed these will be paid over to the taxation authorities.

7) the rules specifically designed to protect those who buy a property under construction have been complied with (e.g. issuance of a bank surety to guarantee any advance payments)

8) the energy performance of buildings is certified in accordance with national and regional rules: For the sale of properties with heating plants it is mandatory to have and often even to annex the certificate of energy performance (EPA) prepared by a registered certifier that shows the class of the property’s energy consumption for heating.

9) all regulations have been observed regarding money laundering, traceability of payments and the commissions paid to any real estate agency. The notary’s checks end with the signing of the deed. As a rule, at the time of signing of the deed of sale, the handover of the property also takes place. Nevertheless, the parties may agree otherwise, deciding for:

10) early handover, it being understood that the seller remains the owner of the property and therefore responsible for it under the law.

11) delayed handover to meet the needs of the seller, a clause being inserted in the contract of sale setting a time limit by which handover must be made, if necessary, with provision for a penalty for any delay.
To protect the public, the law provides detailed rules for the preparation of the deed, in particular:

a) the notary must explain the entire contents of the document to the parties and any witnesses whose presence is required by law in certain cases (such as when one party is unable to sign or is suffering from sensory impairment), making sure that they understand the contents and legal effects. If he does not do so, he is criminally responsible for the crime of falsity in a public document.

b) the document, once read and approved, must be signed by the parties and any witnesses before the notary and it is then signed by the notary.

c) what the notary certifies in the notarial deed is legally conclusive evidence for all purposes – even in the courts – unless the crime of falsity in a public document can be proved.

The phases of a sale are many and often complex, and do not come completely to an end with the signing of the deed, given that the notary must undertake an important series of steps at the Public Registries, including lodgement and fiscal registration.


This is the first contract that the seller and the buyer must sign with the agency. With the purchase proposal-contract, the party agrees to sell/buy; the total price of the property is set, as well as the terms of payment, the actual timing of the sale and the amount of the deposit, that is paid at that moment to the vendor.

The purchase proposal-contract must be registered with the Inland Revenue (Agenzia delle Entrate) within twenty days of the signing. For registration are due:

Registration tax 200 €, regardless of the price of the sale.
Stamp duty of €16 for each copy, all 4 sides and in any case every 100 lines. Stamp duty of €1 for each page, all sides.
At least 2 copies.
These costs are average between the € 350 and € 500 and will be paid by the buyer.

If after payment of the deposit the buyer decides not to buy the property, the seller may retain the deposit; but if the seller decides not to sell, the buyer is entitled to receive back an amount equal to double the deposit paid.


Which is not always done, only if it’s necessary in some cases. If it is rent-to-buy contract, If it is business, If the property is in construction or must be built, If a mortgage is required, etc.

This is the first contract that the seller and the buyer must sign at the notary.

However, the preliminary contract (“compromesso”) is preceded by a purchase proposal-contract (“proposta d’acquisto”).
With the compromesso, the party agrees to sell/buy; the total price of the property is set, as well as the terms of payment, the actual timing of the sale and the amount of the advance payment (down payment/deposit) that is paid at that moment to the vendor.
This preliminary agreement gives rise to commitments that are legally enforceable.

They pose constraints for both the seller and the buyer: if after payment of the deposit the buyer decides not to buy the property, the seller may retain the deposit; but if the seller decides not to sell, the buyer is entitled to receive back an amount equal to double the deposit paid.

It should also be pointed out that if the preliminary contract is made with a notarial deed, the contract can be “transcribed” into the registries:
In this way the buyer is protected from any problem that may arise during the period of time between compromesso and completion of the deed, such as mortgages, foreclosures or bankruptcy of the seller. In case of insolvency of the seller, for example, registration of the preliminary contract allows for recovery of all or part of the amounts paid. This suggested approach offers the best protection for the buyer.

Completion (closing or exchange of contracts), called “Atto” in Italian, is the name for the signing of the final deed (rogito, atto di compravendita or scrittura privata), which is drawn up by a notary.

The date of completion is usually 8 to 12 weeks after signing the purchase proposal contract or the preliminary contract, as stated in the contract, although it may be moveable. Completion involves the signing of the deed of sale, transferring legal ownership of the property, and paying the balance of the purchase price, plus any other payments due such as the notary’s fees, taxes, and duties.

When the necessary documents concerning a purchase have been returned to the notary’s, the agency will contact you and request the balance of the purchase price (i.e. or the deposit) and, if applicable, the amount of a mortgage. They will also give you a bill for their fees and state taxes, which must be paid on completion.

Even after the signing of the deed, the notary is required by law to perform a series of tasks, within a short time, which will ensure on the one hand that the State receives payment of its taxes, and on the other publicly advising third parties and establishing the certainty of the transaction for the benefit of all citizens.

*) The notary is obliged to carry out, within a brief timeframe:

a) registration of the deed with the taxation authorities and payment of the relevant taxes on behalf of the client.

b) lodging of the deed – as protection for the whole community – in the Public Registers, making it known and fully effective to all (technically known as third parties). The filing of the deed with the competent authority in the land register is required by law to let everyone know who the owner of the property is and whether it is subject to mortgages or other encumbrances.

c) cadastral registration in order to update the land registry.


As indication only, the fees charged for the purchase of a property of the abovementioned value is commonly 0.8 – 1.2 %. However, the fees are to be requested at the notary prior to the transfer of the title deed.


*) Real estate agency commission: Where a real estate agency is involved, the buyer must pay their commission. As an indication only, the fees charged for the purchase of a property of the above-mentioned value is commonly 4%.

*) Buying a Home: Fiscal Aspects:

1) Purchase from a builder/renovator: Purchase from a firm of builders or renovators, except in particular circumstances, attracts VAT which is payable directly to the seller.
The VAT rate to be applied on the sale price will be: – 10% unless it is a first home purchase – 4% if “first home” assistance applies.
The same tax treatment is applied to the allocation of houses to members of housing cooperatives.

In the case of purchases subject to VAT, the following taxes will be also paid to the notary who will then pay the Taxation Office:
• Registration Tax: Euro 200
• Mortgage Tax: Euro 200
• Land registry Tax: Euro 200
The rates apply on the sale price declared in the deed.

2) Purchase from a private party: For the transfer of property between private individuals the registration tax, mortgage and land registry taxes are paid by the buyer to the notary who, in turn, will forward them to the government Taxation Office at the time of registration.

A) In the absence of incentives
• Registration Tax: 9%
• Mortgage Tax: Euro 50
• Land registry Tax: Euro 50

B) Support for the purchase of a first home to be registered at this address with the municipality to live permanently:
• Registration Tax: 2%
• Mortgage Tax: Euro 50
• Land registry Tax: Euro 50 In the case of transfer of residential property to physical persons the purchaser may apply for payment of the registration tax on the “cadastral value” (price-value) of the property (which is the value obtained by multiplying the cadastral income by the legal coefficient of 115.5), regardless of the actual amount of the sale price, even if it is higher than this value. The minimum tax is still €1,000.

The information on this page is compiled with the greatest care; nevertheless, no rights may be derived from this information and attachments. We recommend that you check with the embassy in your country for the specifications and available information regarding your plans.

We hope to have informed you sufficiently and feel free to ask your future questions.

House For Sale Tuscany,