How to start a real estate business in Italy


The real estate business in Italy, both in the form of short-term tourist rentals, and long-term purchases, is one of the biggest industries. The country’s rich history, gorgeous natural environment and fantastic cuisine trigger people from all around the world not only to visit it, but also choose it as their home. Foreigner entrepreneurs looking to invest in Italian properties should however be informed of the many perks of the market – both from a legal and from a commercial point of view.
Establishing a real estate company in Italy is most commonly done in the form of a sort of limited liability company. We refer to it specifically either as a Società per Azioni (S.p.A.), or as a Società a Responsabilità Limitata (S.r.l.), as these are regulated under the Italian law. The main characteristic of these forms of commercial organization is that the liability of the company shareholders is only limited to their participation in the company. Hence, they shall not be held liable with their personal assets for debts of the company, exceeding the limits of their participation (to be determined by their percentage in the company capital). The establishment of such a company involves several key steps, including:

  • drafting the company Articles of Association
  • collecting the required capital in a provisional bank account
  • legalizing the Articles of Association by a notary
  • signing the company Certificate of Incorporation
  • registering the company at the Italian Business Register

Depending on the type of properties offered, and specifically on whether they are classified as hotels, bed and breakfasts, or farm holiday accommodations, specific certifications and permits might be required. Once this process has been completed, the company can start its operations.

real estate investment in Italy

Real estate business in Italy: the ABC

In case the company decides to also register a trademark related to it, the holder of the trademark (in the case of a company: the company representatives) or a duly appointed attorney (acting through a special power of attorney) needs to submit a formal application for registration to the Italian Patent and Trademark office. The application needs to include the trademark itself – i.e. the words, drawings, symbols, or sounds, which can distinguish the products and/or services of a company from those of other companies – so as to be represented in the register in a clear and precise way. Furthermore, the products and/or services in relation to which the trademark is registered will also be indicated. These products and/or services correspond to the classes offered by the Nice Classification of goods and services applied for the registration of marks. Protection is only limited to the use of the trademark for the products and/or services, as established by the initial application for registration and can not be extended afterwards. The costs of registration depend on the limits of protection – that is, the number of products and/or services, under which the trademark is protected. The registration of a trademark is valid for 10 years, as of the application filing date, and can be renewed indefinitely every 10 years. A trademark registered at the Italian Patent and Trademark office is only protected on the territory of the Italian Republic, whereas EU protection can be regarded by application for registry of an EU trademark at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). 

All of the above steps, as well as the operation of the company itself, require significant financial investments. Therefore, when looking to start a company in Italy, a savvy entrepreneur will want to consider the distinct innovative SME and startup programmes offered by the Italian Ministry of Financial Development. 

Real estate business in Italy: opportunities concerning innovation

An Innovative SME

Pursuant to the Italian law, an innovative SME is a company, which follows the following criteria:

  • a) it has a residence in Italy, or in another country of the European Economic Area but with a production site or branch in Italy;
  • b) its last financial statements and consolidated financial statements have been certified; c) it is not listed on a regulated market;
  • d) it is not simultaneously registered in the special section of innovative startups.

An Innovative Startup

An innovative startup company, on the other hand, is a company that:

  • a) has incurred R&D and innovation expenses equal to at least 3% of the higher value between its turnover and its cost of production;
  • b) employs highly qualified personnel (at least 1/5 of the personnel have obtained PhD degrees, are PhD students or researchers, or at least 1/3 have obtained a master’s degrees)
  • c) is the owner, custodian or licensee of the company possesses at least one patent or is the owner of a registered software.

Benefits of innovative businesses in Italy

Innovative SMEs and startups can benefit from the following measures:

  • tax incentives for investment in capital;
  • free and simplified access to the Guarantee Fund for SMES;
  • exemption from stamp duties for documents filed at the Chamber of Commerce;
  • raising of capital through equity crowdfunding campaigns;
  • completion of services for international company recognition; 
  • derogations from ordinary corporate regulations;
  • extended deadlines for covering losses;
  • remuneration through equity participation instruments.

Real estate investment in Italy: key

Last but not least, the successful management of real estate business depends on knowledge: thorough understanding of the local market and implementation of diligent investigation of each property are key. Comprising proficient experts with long-standing experience in the Italian real estate market our team provides investors solid dependable guidance through each step of the process.

We are capable of assisting a foreign client in getting to know the local market, approaching a real estate agency,  and finding the right property. Looking at a specific property, we conduct exhaustive expert analyses, so as to cover the property’s legal status, any ownership titles, third party rights and burdens over it. Additionally, we provide comprehensive technical  surveys, studying the state, maintenance, urban planning and land registry status of the unit.

Finally, we draft, prepare and file all needed documents

  • preliminary agreement
  • final deed
  • notary stamp

All this is run in compliance with standing Italian legislation, and successfully close sales and purchase agreements on our clients’ behalf. 

Finally, regardless of whether it concerns long or short term rentals, or purchase, student apartments or luxurious properties, our clients can count on our experts to provide full, trustworthy management of their properties. Representation and continued support can be offered via a contractual agreement between the parties involved.

Our Services

An efficient team of discerning accountants, clever real estate agents and resourceful attorneys specialized in commercial, real estate and tax law. Ingenious and farsighted we lead prospective investors through the process of establishing a company in Italy and, subsequently, assist with purchase of real estate assets in Italy and business management

Committed to our clients’ success we facilitate and expedite all dealings and transactions flawlessly. In detail, we provide:

  • drafting of Power of Attorney acts, and henceforth represent our clients where and when needed for the establishment of the company;
  • all-round advice and assistance as concerns representing our client in the process of registering a trademark in the Italian Patent and Trademark office;
  • consultancy and assembly of the documents needed to apply for the innovative SME and startup programmes offered by the Italian Ministry of Financial Development;
  • efficient, reliable and timely accounting and book-keeping services;
  • thanks to our comprehensive knowledge about the local market and business expertise we also provide specific advisory and consultancy services as concerns property purchase, and attentive technical assistance and legal surveys related to future management;

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