Can a Canadian buy a real estate property in Italy? 

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In recent times, Canadians looking to invest in Italian real estate have faced unique challenges, stemming from the “Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act” implemented on January 1, 2023. This article aims to shed light on the Italian implications of this Canadian law, exploring the nuances, exceptions, and practical considerations for potential buyers.

Understanding the Legal Landscape

Canadians seeking to acquire property in Italy may wonder about the feasibility of such transactions, given the restrictions imposed by the Canadian residential property purchase prohibition. Despite this hurdle, there are instances where Canadians can indeed purchase Italian real estate.

The international law principle of reciprocity plays a crucial role in this scenario. Italy, reciprocating the restrictions imposed by Canada, introduces mirroring limitations on Canadians interested in buying properties within its borders.

Navigating Legal Regulations

While Canadian law provides exceptions, it also introduces regulations to clarify the extent of purchase restrictions and exemptions. These regulations, however, reference features specific to the Canadian legal system, creating challenges in defining Italy’s “mirroring” approach.

The complexity is heightened by the need for Italian authorities, particularly notaries, to comprehend the legal intricacies of non-Italian laws as interpreted under the Canadian legal system. Subsequently, they must determine the applicability of such laws and regulations within the Italian legal framework.

Role of the Italian Notary

In this reciprocal verification process, the Italian notary (Notaio) assumes a pivotal role. Notaries must navigate the unique features of each legal system, often leading to varied interpretations and approaches. Notably, we have observed diverse perspectives among Italian notaries on handling property sales to Canadian citizens.

Strategies for Success

For Canadians aiming to navigate these complexities, we offer practical tips based on our experience. As you start the journey of purchasing Italian real estate, adopting strategic approaches can significantly enhance your chances of success. While it’s crucial to evaluate each case individually, certain cases offer a greater likelihood of achieving a successful outcome.

Here are some key considerations to focus on, taking into account the diverse opinions and approaches of notaries:

  1. Exploring Non-Residential Opportunities: Delve into properties that aren’t classified as residential units. The Italian cadastral zoning system, different from categories A1 to A9, may provide a more favorable setting for your investment. This avenue can offer unique advantages and exemptions from certain restrictions.
  2. Strategic Structural Considerations: Assess properties with specific structural characteristics that may lack the essential features required for residential occupancy certification. Despite initial zoning classifications, these properties could present viable opportunities, opening doors to successful acquisitions.
  3. Smaller Municipalities: Consider properties situated in municipalities with populations below 10,000. While this may be advantageous, it’s crucial to be mindful of the proximity to major metropolitan areas, as it could influence certain sale restrictions. Understanding the local dynamics is key to navigating this aspect of the regulatory landscape.
  4. Early Advantage with Purchase Offers: Having an accepted purchase offer signed before January 1, 2023, provides an advantage in the former regulatory landscape. This strategic move can contribute to a smoother and more straightforward process for acquiring Italian real estate.
  5. Explore Exemptions: Explore exemptions provided for specific transactions, such as those involving transfer by death, separation, divorce, or gift. Understanding and leveraging these exemptions can be instrumental in overcoming certain purchase restrictions.
  6. Dual Citizenship and EU Passport: The possession of dual citizenship, especially with an EU passport, can broaden your avenues for property acquisition. This strategic advantage opens up additional possibilities within the regulatory framework.
  7. Synergizing with EU Citizens or Italian Residents: Collaborate with a spouse or civil union partner who is an EU citizen or an Italian permanent resident. This partnership dynamic can be a valuable strategy for mitigating certain purchase restrictions and enhancing the overall feasibility of the transaction.


In conclusion, while Canadian law presents hurdles for Canadians seeking Italian real estate, careful consideration of legal intricacies and leveraging professional guidance can pave the way for successful transactions. 

If you are a Canadian buyer who wants to purchase a property in Italy, feel free to reach out to our expert real estate lawyers for personalized legal advice tailored to your circumstances.