Tips on what to do before you make an offer on a property in Italy

Buying property abroad can be fraught with pitfalls. IB International Real Estate experts share professional advice on how to prepare for the purchase of your dream home in Italy. 


Property inspection

Once you have found a property that you wish to purchase, it’s a good idea to bring in an architect or engineer to do a professional assessment of the state of the property as well as the floor plans to make sure they are in compliance.

While there is no official property inspection during the purchase process in Italy, it is very common for buyers to get their assessment done just before making an offer and most sellers will agree to this.


Attainment of a ‚Codice Fiscale‘ (individual tax code)

If you don’t already have one, you will need to apply for a ‚codice fiscale‘ which is a personal tax identification number. This can be obtained from L’Agenzia delle Entrate, Italy’s national tax agency.


Selection of a ‚Notaio‘ (Notary / Lawyer)

In a property sale, the buyer chooses which notary they will use for the sale. The notary operates under a strict code of conduct and is a registered officer of the Italian state. It is a good idea to find a notary early so that they can begin working on all the necessary documents.

If you don’t speak Italian, it is advisable to find a notary who speaks some English. It is also worth bearing in mind that if you don’t speak Italian then it will be necessary to have the ‚Atto Notarile‘ (Act of Sale) officially translated into English. In addition to this, it may also be necessary to have an official licensed live translator during the ‚Atto Notarile‘.


Contact the IB International Real Estate team for free professional advice and expert property finding services for buyers.

Where to buy castles in Italy?

If you’re dreaming of a luxury property with an aristocratic touch, an Italian castle just might be the perfect solution. From a romantic family residence full of enchantment and historical charm to a lucrative business investment generating sizeable profits, a historic Italian castle offers a wide range of personal and business opportunities:

  • world class private residence;
  • boutique hotel;
  • weddings and corporate events venue;
  • wellness clinic, rehabilitation center, spa;
  • personal care retirement home or senior living facility;
  • equestrian center;
  • individually owned luxury condos or residences;
  • Exclusive offices or business headquarters.

Ideal Italian Castle Locations:

Zoagli, Liguria

Castello Canevaro is situated on the evocative Ligurian coastline overlooking the Gulf of Tigullio, a region in the Italian Riviera renowned for its beautiful towns such as Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo and Sestri Levante. The castle has direct access to the sea and the Arenella beach, a small natural jewel set between Mediterranean vegetation and the rocks. Surrounding the castle is a magnificent park that gently slopes down to the cliff edge. The views from every corner are spectacular with absolute dominion over the coastline and the sea.

Saluzzo, Piedmont

The castle of Saluzzo, originally a 15th-century fortification for a marquisate, is situated on the hilltop overlooking the valley and the medieval town. With its two grand defining towers, numerous arches and vaults and a beautiful park with gardens, the property also includes a private chapel of exquisite workmanship. With 25 elegant bedrooms, dining rooms, and main salons, the property also includes a 300 square meter Spa, a swimming pool, solarium, and lemon house. Equipped with an elevator and 50 parking spaces, this property offers a wealth of possibilities.

Sassoferrato, the Marche Region

The prestigious Abbey Complex consists of a Monastery, a Canonical House and the Church of Santa Croce. Recently partially restored to its former glory, the property covers an area of about 3,000 square meters magnificently incorporated into a park of 36,800 square meters. The Canonical House is part of the property built by the Counts of Acts Lords of Sassoferrato in the later part of the 12th century for the Camaldolese monks. It is one of the most important testimonies of Romanesque architecture in the region. 

Gorle, Lombardy

The Castle of Gorle, originally from 1200, is the result of the careful restoration work carried out in collaboration with the Superintendency of Cultural Heritage of Lombardy. The property consists of a main house of 750 square meters, with an elevator leading up to the top of the tower, and a secondary house. It is surrounded by an expertly landscaped ancient park as well as a swimming pool and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys.

Cuneo, Piedmont

The castle of the Marquises of Saluzzo, built in the 14th century, is located on top of a rocky hill in a panoramic position overlooking the surrounding valley. The castle, equipped with the typical drawbridge and four corner towers of the central keep, recalls a classic medieval manor. The property consists of two residential levels connected by a large monumental stone staircase and two spectacular central galleries. There are 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, and 2 main salons.

Perugia, Umbria

The 800 sq m Medieval Castle retains all the architectural features of the period. It is located on a plateau that dominates the entire upper Tiber Valley. The estate includes also a Villa dated between 1600-1800, an annex for guests, a church, a greenhouse, two farmhouses, and a park of about 3.5 hectares equipped with a horse paddock, a swimming pool with gazebo, a tennis court and a covered area with a barbecue.

Cipressa, Liguria

This historic luxury tower with direct access to the sea and breathtaking views is set on a panoramic promontory a few kilometers from Sanremo. With origins from the Western Roman Empire, the property was used as a watchtower to defend against the Saracens. It took its current form during the sixteenth century.

Casale Monferrato, Piedmont

This Neo-Gothic style castle from the late 1920s is situated at the foot of Monferrato just 5 km from Casale Monferrato and 45 km from Alessandria in Piedmont. Designed by the famous architect Carrera, this daring and elaborate manor house is surrounded by a crenelated wall, the foundations of which are the ancient circular icebox of Balzola visible on the ground floor.

Italy, + 30% of requests for luxury property due to “flat tax”

The demand for luxury properties is growing: from Milan to Lake Como, Liguria to Tuscany and Rome, requests have recently grown by 30% thanks to the “flat tax”. First introduced in 2017, the flat tax has only just begun to have a dramatic influence on the market which is evident in the numbers from 2019.


What is “flat tax”?

The flat rate tax of 100.000 euros is basically a „flat tax“ for foreigners who plan to settle in Italy. The scheme was introduced in 2017 as as a way to encourage the movement of capital into Italy by attracting both Italian and foreign high-net-worth individuals who are residing abroad. The effects are only just beginning to unfold. When the tax was first rolled out two years ago, it has been argued that Italy did not advertise it forcefully enough internationally and so only now are wealthy foreigners becoming aware of this opportunity. 

Those who intend to transfer their tax residence to Italy are offered a substitute tax on income generated abroad with a flat rate of 100.000 euros for each annual tax period.  


What are the benefits for family members?

The flat-rate regime can also be extended to one or more family members who meet the requirements. It is possible through a specific indication in the tax return relating to the tax period in which the family member transfers the tax residence to Italy. In this case, the substitute tax is equal to 25.000 euros for each family member to whom the effects of the same option are extended.


Who are the buyers?

The new residents in Italy are mostly northern Europeans, including many French, Russian and Ukrainians, many of whom come from London, or who have Swiss, French or Bulgarian residences that are no longer convenient.


What kind of properties are in demand?

The foreign clients who transfer residence to Italy for the flat tax often buy luxury properties – the so-called “trophy assets”. There are also opportunities to rent prestigious properties in the high-end rent bracket. The trend is mainly focused in the cities of Florence, Rome and Milan where luxury penthouses with panoramic views are always in demand, as well as coastal areas and large historic residences in the country.

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Liguria, + 9% of requests for real estate by foreigners

The increasingly growing tourism boom in our region is leading to an increase in the interest of foreigners for the purchase of a holiday home.

Due to the crisis that has hit Italy in recent years, the real estate market has suffered a severe blow and is still struggling to recover. Italians have few savings available to buy a house and get a mortgage is always very difficult, but despite the moment, to purchase is really convenient. Foreigners who are buying numerous properties in Italy know this well.

Requests for properties from abroad in Liguria

Liguria is one of the localities that records the highest number of property requests from foreigners. These are both homes that need renovation, and then sold at a price even lower than the new, but also newly built homes with energy class A, many of which are also located in major tourist destinations. These positive data was reported by Gate-away, a real estate portal exclusively addressed to foreigners, that carried out a questionnaire from which it emerged that Liguria earned a comforting + 9% in the first quarter of 2017 with regard to the requests for real estate and thus resulting in the third national position of the rating of the favorite locations by foreigners for the purchase of a property.

Let’s see the detail of the provinces

The province with the highest number of requests is Imperia, with a 65.45%. Soon after, we found the province of La Spezia, with a 15.35%, then Savona, with an 11.99% and Genoa, with 7.22%. In general, the demand is growing in all the provinces. This is a phenomenon that affects more or less the entire territory including the center, despite recent events related to the earthquake that are not a deterrent for the purchase of real estate in Italy, while bureaucracy paradoxically is.

Who are the foreign buyers?

As for Liguria, the buyers are mostly Germans looking for a comfortable outlet on the sea (22.66%), but also the Americans appreciate the territory so much to buy a house (11.8%), followed by English (10.57%), French (8.84%) and Swedish (8.13%). Most of the properties are detached houses which need renovation are economically convenient. 28% of the requests, however, concerns apartments, practical and less demanding than a house.

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+39 34 702 37502

[email protected]

Spianata di Castelletto, 69R
16124 Genova

P. Iva 02501680991


© Copyright – IB International

+39 34 702 37502

[email protected]

Spianata di Castelletto, 69R
16124 Genova

P. Iva 02501680991


© Copyright – IB International

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