Moving to Italy and purchasing property

In recent years more and more foreigners have decided to relocate to Italy due to its work-life balance and slower paced lifestyle.

Italy property Lake Como
Houses on Lake Como, Lombardy. Photo: Chay Kelly on Unsplash.

Have you ever considered moving to Italy? Why not live in a beautiful country with scrumptious food, amazing natural landscapes and thousands of years of history? Italy has all of this and more – from Apulia to Lombardy, Sicily to Piedmont and everywhere in between.

Italy has always been a popular destination among tourists, but in recent years more and more foreigners have decided to relocate to the country due to its work-life balance and slower paced lifestyle, among other reasons.

In particular, since the outbreak of the health emergency in 2020 many people with Italian ancestry have applied for the recognition of Italian citizenship by descent in order to obtain an Italian passport, relocate to Italy and live there without any restrictions or time limitations. In fact, Italian citizenship comes with many benefits, such as being able to access Italy’s national health system and excellent secondary education, and being able to live, work or study anywhere in the European Union. So why not apply for Italian citizenship or purchase property in Italy?

Before we dig deeper into the subject, it is worth pointing out that non-EU citizens who reside abroad or who reside in Italy short-term can purchase a property in Italy only if their home country has a reciprocity agreement, which allows Italians to purchase property in their country. Therefore, if the buyer’s country of citizenship maintains a bilateral agreement with Italy, the buyer can purchase any type of property in Italy.

It is also worth specifying that purchasing property in Italy does not give non-EU citizens the right to stay in Italy beyond the 90-day limit which applies to them. Therefore, purchasing a property does not mean being automatically granted a permesso di soggiorno, an Italian permit of stay. Nevertheless, owning a property can strengthen an application for an Italian Elective Residence Visa as it supports the argument that the applicant has stable and sufficient funds to stay in Italy without relying on any source of employment. An Elective Residence Visa might be an option to consider if you are a non-EU citizen and you would like to spend more than three months in Italy.

As a matter of fact, if you are a non-EU citizen you are only allowed to stay in Italy 90 days, therefore, if you are eligible to apply for Italian citizenship by descent, by marriage or by residency and you ultimately apply for an Italian passport you will be able to stay in Italy for as long as you wish. Therefore, if you are interested in purchasing a property in Italy, holding an Italian passport will definitely allow you to enjoy your property without any time restrictions.

In addition to the Elective Residence Visa, among the visas you can apply for to enter Italy are:

  • the work and self‐employment visas
  • the study visa
  • the family reunification visa
  • the Investor Visa

The Italian real estate market is currently full of unique opportunities, from two-bedroom apartments in a quiet and charming town on the outskirts of a vibrant and dynamic city in northern Italy, to a lovely seaside house in Sicily or Apulia, to an old farmhouse in an enchanting village in Basilicata. However, navigating the Italian real estate market can be challenging for individuals who are not familiar with Italy’s real estate laws and regulations.

Firstly, one of the requirements to purchase a property in Italy is to have the so-called codice fiscale, an alphanumeric code that identifies citizens, non-citizens, residents and non-residents, in all dealings with Italian public authorities. While this is assigned by birth to Italian citizens, foreign citizens can apply for one at any Italian Consulate or at any Italian Revenue Agency office (“Agenzie delle Entrate”).

If you already know which property you would like to buy, the first step is to make a purchase offer (proposta d’acquisto), which generally includes a small deposit of approximately 5 % of the property value. If the purchase fails the deposit is usually refunded. The second stage entails drafting and signing the preliminary contract of sale (contratto preliminare di vendita or compromesso), which includes a description of the property, rights of way, payments and ownership rights. When the contract has been signed, the purchaser pays a deposit of approximately 10%-30% of the property value and in most cases due diligence of the property is performed to ensure that it complies with all the legal, technical and structural requirements established by state building standards and codes. If both parties agree to proceed, a Notary will be appointed and a date will be set to sign the final deed of sale.

If you would like to purchase a property in Italy but do not have time to travel to Italy, you can grant an Italian lawyer or another person of trust a Power of Attorney to represent you and act on your behalf in order to complete the purchase.

In conclusion, buying a property in Italy can be a good investment especially if you plan on renting your property while you are not there. In fact, as previously mentioned, Italy’s wide variety of natural landscapes combined with the country’s wealth of art and culture make many areas in the country extremely attractive and thus a profitable investment.

If you would like more information about the best places to move to in Italy, or a free assessment to determine your eligibility to apply for Italian citizenship, do not hesitate to contact Italian Citizenship Assistance at or at +1 (951) 742 5830.