Buying a car in Italy

Buying a car
Basically, you need to be classified as a “resident” in Italy to buy a car, though apparently you can buy one if you have close connections with the country e.g. family perhaps or you’ve bought a house there.

To get a used Italian registered car in Italy, you should have:

  • Proof of residency (EU citizens) or Permesso di Soggiorno (non-EU citizens)
  • Italian ID card or some other proof of identity
  • Codice fiscale
  • Proof of insurance cover
Once you’ve bought the car, you need to complete a ‘Passaggio di Proprietà’ (transfer of ownership) within 60 days of when you bought it. To do this, you go to an office of the ‘Agenzia di Pratiche Automobilistiche‘. There are lots of offices dotted around and if you click on the link you can find one close to you. If you get the car from a dealer, they’ll probably complete this transfer of ownership for you.

To transfer the ownership of a second hand car you need these documents:

  • Atto di Vendita (act of sale)
  • Certificato di Proprietà (vehicle documents)
  • Carta di Circolazione (registration certificate)
  • Proof of residency (EU citizens) or Permesso di Soggiorno (non-EU citizens)

Up until the change of ownership is registered, it’s the original owner that is responsible for taxes, accidents or motoring offences. You can check the registration has been completed by looking at the ‘Pubblico Registro Automobilistico’ (PRA) which you can get by contacting the ‘Auotomobile Club D’Italia’ (ACI) and providing the licence plate details.

It costs money to register the new owner. There’s a fixed cost (Spese Motorizzazione) which at the moment (June 2013) is €99,35, another cost dependent upon horse power of the car (Spese Pubblico registro) which could be upwards of €500 and another fixed cost (Valori bollati) of €14,62.The total figure could be anywhere between €300 or more than €1,500, depending on the type of car.
Bollo (car tax)
You need to pay car tax whether you’re using the car or not and the amount depends upon the type of car, fuel, emission grades etc. You pay this to your local ‘Auotomobile Club D’Italia’ (ACI) office or online and curiously, at a bar, tabaccheria, bank, or post office. To pay for the tax, you need the ‘Libretto’ (logbook), your ID card and ‘Codice Fiscale’.Revisione (MOT)
All cars over 4 yrs old need a ‘Revisione’ (the Italian equivalent of an MOT in the UK) every 2 years. You get this at your local ‘Centro Revisioni Auto’. Once it’s been done, it’s entered into the Libretto. If it’s out of date, you’ll get a fine.Breakdown and Car Insurance
Breakdown services are coordinated by the ‘Automobile Club D’Italia’ (ACI).  Contact them in an emergency on 116.

Car insurance
In Italy it’s the car that’s insured and not the driver. There’s no “no claims bonus” as a consequence.

The main options are: 

    • Kasco : Fully comp (ish)
    • Responsabilità civile : Third party
    • Incendio-furto : Fire and theft
    • Infortuni dei conducente : Covers the driver if there was an accident which was the fault of the driver.
    • Servizio assistenza : Roadside assistance

You’ll get an insurance disc once you’ve purchased it and you need to put it on your car windscreen.

Driving Licence
If you’re a EU citizen and have a card style driving license then you can continue to use it in Italy. If you’ve got an old paper one, you need to get it authenticated within 12 months of arrival or get it converted to an Italian license. There’ll be a large fine etc. if you don’t have a license. Your driving license and all the other docs need to have your correct up to date address on otherwise there’s a fine.
Rules & Regs
Carry all your docs with you e.g. ID, driving license, Bollo receipt (car tax), Insurance disc, Libretto (with proof of revisione if you need it) and bright yellow luminous jackets for if you break down.

Here are some links:


2 thoughts on “Buying a car in Italy

  1. Steen Hansen

    Dear Sir/ Madam

    I am trying to buy a new car in Italy as a EU national with a second home in Italy but not with permanent resident in Italy.

    However, the dealership has advised me that this is not possible without residence certificate.

    However, you mention in the above article : “though apparently you can buy one if you have close connections with the country e.g. family perhaps or you’ve bought a house there”

    Are you able to advise me where I can obtain the confirmation of the above legal right / or practice so I can inform dealership and proceed.

    Thank you in advance for your kind assistance

    Steen Hansen

    • Hi Steen, Apologies for the delayed response. You know, I never uncovered how you could do it without having a residency here. Lots of friends have struggled with the same thing. I have friends that have effectively bought cars in their names for their relatives/friends but it’s a bit of a responsibility – I guess that person would be legally responsible to pay the “bollo” every year and then the carabinieri are always stopping people to check who’s driving is registered to the car (Though in Italy, anyone can drive your car with your permission so I really have no idea what purpose the stops serve – you’d just say a friend lent you the car). It really is an absolute pain. The only other thing I can think of is some kind of long term let. Anyway, very best of luck and sorry I couldn’t be of more help x

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