Renovating a house in Italy

Managing a renovation from one’s home country can be challenging. Obtaining permits, hiring subcontractors and architectural designers, budgeting, and dealing with legal and contractual issues can be overwhelming. Add to that an unfamiliarity with the legislation, rules, and language of another country, and the task can be unnerving and should not be underestimated.

Foreign investors are understandably drawn to the traditional Italian farmhouses and those charismatic villas and apartment buildings built in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, many of these properties were left to decline and decay when their occupants left the countryside and are in need of renovation, restoration, or partial reconstruction.

How to find a property to renovate in Italy

You will find that buildings needing renovation are commonly listed on the market with words such as da restaurare (needing restoration work), da ristrutturare (needing renovation), or restaurato parzialmente or rinnovato parzialmente (a portion of the building is inhabitable, but the remainder needs renovating or rebuilding).

There are challenging considerations that must be taken into account when renovating a property in Italy. Complying with Italian policies and liability regulations, entering construction contracts with contractors, and finding and selecting dependable, experienced, and trustworthy professionals such as architects, surveyors, and builders are to name a few. It is imperative that you are able to navigate the rules and laws of home renovation, to ascertain costs and determine budgets, and secure a team of skilled professionals.

Do not underestimate the importance of complying with standing legislation and conforming to legal requirements. Assuming renovation work without the required authorizations or not complying with rules and regulations can result in criminal prosecution. Legal advisors and representation will not only expedite the renovation process, but more importantly, will guarantee that you accurately and promptly meet the necessary legal requirements.

Although a complicated and involved process, it is important to first assess the property’s legal situation to determine whether the property has the required renovation authorization documentation or if it needs to be obtained. If the building/restoration permits have not been requested, then the owner must apply for these at the local municipality.

Agreement between owner and contractor for construction in Italy

The next crucial step is to work out the contractual part of the renovation. In Italy, construction agreements with an Italian supplier are ruled by the standing Italian Regulation (precisely Civil Code Articles 1655 to 1677) on the matter in terms of liabilities, insurance and eventual damage. Article 1655 of the Italian Civil Code entitled “notion” defines this type of contract and states verbatim: “The construction agreement is the contract by which a party assumes, with the organization of the necessary means and with management at its own risk, the completion of a work or service for a fee”.  

Renovation work is to be carried out in a workman-like manner; more specifically, with professional and technical expertise. Accordingly, the contractor is duty-bound to detect any inaccuracies and/or defects present in the building project that could hinder or negatively affect the construction work and immediately notify the client.

Property renovations and construction: the Italian Laws

In regards to property renovations requested by private individuals, the selected construction company in charge of the renovation work is obliged to sign two mandatory insurance and liability related policies:

1) a provisional, definite surety, and 2) a posthumous ten-year policy.

These insurance obligations are mandatory because they serve to cover financial areas, namely, to guarantee sureties to entities and individuals, and to offer coverage for the various risks which may incur in connection with the construction site activities and/or the after-effects of construction.

The ten-year posthumous coverage on the building for damage to the work and to third parties is another fundamental element of an insurance coverage for construction companies: in fact the builder is obliged by law, in public contracts where the amount exceeds the threshold provided for by art. 35 of Legislative Decree 50/2016 (or where provided by the Client) or in contracts between individuals in the case of the sale of future property (pursuant to Law 210/04 and subsequent amendments), to take out ten-year posthumous insurance for the works when completed. In addition, the obligation also extends to the stipulation of a related liability insurance for a construction company that protects the company in case of damage to third parties and/or people (and not only).

Crucial to any renovation project are the owners’ preferences and requests in regards to aesthetics, facilities, and utilization. Decisions made with respect to the architectural design of the building depend on whether it will be used by an individual, family, or for commercial activity such as a rental for tourists.

Our highly-skilled team of resourceful English-speaking architects, engineers, surveyors and real estate developers are here to provide you with the comprehensive assistance a foreign investor needs to successfully navigate renovating a property in Italy, without the need to personally oversee the entire procedure. You will be provided with legal assistance from beginning to end, project proficiency, and state-of-the-art technical and architectural expertise to guarantee a smooth and steady progression during the entire renovation process.


Our Services

  • We provide our clients with straightforward communication in English on all matters to establish continuous, attentive onsite assistance.
  • We share our leading-edge, innovative technology with our clients to allow them to personally design their dream house.
  • Our knowledgeable and inventive architects and engineers advise clients and suggest innovative options applicable for all properties, from private homes to investment properties for tourists or international students.
  • We offer solutions to minimize utility costs such as installing electricity automatic stops, electronic keys, and various options for managing your property overseas. Advice from insiders experienced in Italian bureaucracy and daily needs is priceless!
  • We create videos and daily reports in English updating our clients on the construction site progress.
  • We help our clients budget by providing a minimum of three pricing quotes (luxury, mid-range, and budget) to ensure that every client stays within their estimated expenses.