5 great tips to renovate your house in italy


Did you just buy a house in Italy? Are you excited to move into the “bel paese” and can not wait to spend your holidays in the house of your dreams?

Good news! You made a good investment: property prices in Italy are constantly falling and the country has always been the favorite of many entrepreneurs, show business people and investors.
Italy has always been one of the most beautiful countries in the world and buying a house is a dream that can come true without many problems!

Now, you have your house in Italy, ok. But, we know what you’re thinking: and now?

Are you sure it’s all right? Are you sure your house is in compliance with building regulations? The biggest mistake you could make would be to not renovate it! (Unless the house you bought is brand new).
For example, it would be like buying a rough diamond and doing nothing about it.

If you bought a house in Italy you will almost certainly have to renovate it: the national building heritage is quite old. Whether it’s a total or partial renovation, seismic or thermal, architectural or structural, you’ll still have to put your hand in it!

alhke renovation great tips

So, do you want to know some practical tips for renovating your home in Italy in all serenity? This is what you need to know to plan your renovation in Italy. Are you ready? Let’s start!



Who do you need?

For this phase you will no longer need a real estate agent but a professional: architect or engineer. Most people, after buying a property in Italy, will need professionals who can help them with their renovation, adaptation, furniture. Or simply, with advice or architectural consultations about their property. Yes, you need an Italian professional to renovate your property in Italy! Only an engineer or an architect can show you the right way to take care of your house.

But let us tell you something: You must know that in Italy there is a great bureaucracy. The time required for issuing permits and authorizations is usually longer than in other countries. (Keep in mind that in Italy, most work could be at a standstill in the month of August as most people are on holiday.)

So what? It is essential that a professional help you with building practices and any architectural work that you intend to do in your buildings. So it is important to have a team of competent professionals on site.

Guess what: Only 8% of tourists who buy house in Italy turn to a trusted professional. The result is that more and more buyers are fined or fined for irregularities in construction, unsolicited building permits, violations of architectural legislation, long work times, crazy expenses… and so on! That’s bad!

Want to know a secret? The architect’s job in Italy is very complicated. So, you will need a suitable person to advise you and complete your work to renovate your house.

Your architect need to be thorough and prompt, english speaking, with good communication skills, leading a consulting team working for you and answering all your requests and emails promplty.

So, please: Avoid doing your own work or saving on professional costs. Always ask for advice from an expert because Italy is a country full of constraints, rules, laws with relative fines for offenders.

Abusivism is severely punished. The sanctions are always lurking, so remember: a good professional will avoid you a very good lawyer!

I know what you’re thinking: Ok, but who’s the best professional to complete my work?

Let’s go step by step…

Many professionals in Italy are not graduates. Always try to rely on engineers or architects holding a degree (not the surveyors=geometra) and an education to be suitable for any work on your home.

Just for example: surveyors can not do structural work or intervene on environmental or historical buildings. A surveyor is not a combination of engineer and architect but a subject who is not a graduate and has studied less than the others. Look out for a graduate professional! He will certainly be more prepared. ( To check if a person is an engineer or an architect you can look up his name in public lists on the internet: this for architects: http://www.cnappc.it/ and this for engineers: https://www.tuttoingegnere.it/albo-unico ) Want to know more? Read this: https://www.alhke.com/find-architect-italy/

Listen: Avoid saving on the professional. An initial saving can negatively affect the competence and can also result in trouble even later! Beware of those who ask you too little money, (or too many): they’re trying to cheat you!

But you know what else? Avoid relying on the architect of your country of origin: the laws in Italy are completely different. Without a person in Italy who speaks fluently the language, you will not be able to complete your work.

Fact: unlike many parts of the world, the laws concerning buildings vary greatly from one location to another! Every Town Council (“Comune”) in Italy has its own strict building regulations. A native also comes in handy when you’re tackling local laws and regulations. You need to find someone who acts as architect, engineer, surveyor and site foreman.

Bottom Line?

Italy is a very complicated country in terms of building laws and authorizations. IIf you want renovate your property in Italy just trust an Italian expert.


We know what you’re thinking: how much this will cost me? Don’t be afraid. We’ll tell you everything you need to know to renovate your home in Italy, saving money and doing a good job. First of all: Take a careful analysis of how much you can spend and how much you would like to spend.
Too many errors in the planning phase could lead you to spend too much. You have to renovate your house and that’s not a joke. You could spend more money than you need to buy it. Try to understand what are your priorities and which ones of your house.

But note: compare with your professional. He will provide you with the right advice and get you to choose the right construction company!

Overruns with renovations are common, so be sure that you have a contingency fund of about 10-20% to handle them. With the right precautions, you will spend a fair amount, and perform the right restructuring.

There are many variables, and the cost always depends on “what” you are renovating and “how” you are doing it. But, look: If weighted well, a purchase of a property in Italy resulting in restructuring could be a good investment, if you trust the right people.

Now, let’s clarify our ideas better.

The three main expenditure items are the architect’s professional compensation, the costs of authorizations and taxes, and the cost of construction.

But remember:

  • there are no reference for the professional’s fee and every architect/engineer is free to establish his fee!
  • authorization costs (charges, taxes etc.) depend on the Town Council!
  • the amount of work (and therefore of the documentation to be prepared) can be very different even for the same practice, from one building to another!

So, if you want to renovate your house in Italy, our advice is to rely on a good professional. He knows how to give you all the technical clarifications, and that will carefully take care of your expenditure items.

Want to know the best part?: That’s about bonuses, incentives and tax relief!

For some years now, the Italian state has been encouraging and promoting restructuring. Especially if it is aimed at energy saving or seismic improvement, by means of tax relief also valid for non-Italian citizens.

In fact, a recent piece of legislation ‘Sblocca Italia’ contains a number of new clauses concerning the property market. It also includes some streamlining of processes involved in refurbishment. Guess what: this will make it both faster and less costly! So, renovating your property in Italy is getting easier.

This is a very important fact, because it allows the private individual to get 65% bonus (energy saving) and up to 85% of the costs incurred for seismic improvement. This means that the Italian state will relieve you of the above mentioned percentage of the costs incurred for the restructuring. Not bad, right? Renovate your home thinking about this aspect.

Besides, for costs we mean all the expenses incurred to carry out the work (including the materials, the costs due to the construction company and the architect, the charges for municipal authorizations, etc …). Consider that tax relief usually takes place over a period of 5/10 years.

Remember: it is not necessary to make large and expensive renovations to take advantage of tax breaks. An example? Simply change a window glass or install a biomass stove. Simple, right?

And, If instead you want to make simple renovations, without improving energy consumption or structure? No worries: you can always take advantage of tax breaks up to 50% of the costs incurred.

At this point, you will understand that renovating your home in Italy is not an expense, but a good investment.


You might be wondering: Ok, but how much does the construction company cost? And the architect?

The answers are linked to each other. It is always advisable to follow a good professional who can tell you the competent companies and keeps them under control during the work.

The architect is also the director of the works (Direttore dei lavori), and it is he who keeps an eye on the company on the costs of the works. So, when you will renovate your house, never save on the professional: the most competent and good are more expensive, but they make the job easier and without problems! 

As already mention: Italy is a country with a lot of bureaucracy and with many laws. A good architect can avoid administrative penalties by public bodies, and save you on the cost of the work.

Think about this: The costs of renovations are higher in the most requested locations. Venice, Florence, Lake Como, Tuscany. South Italy is generally much cheaper than central-northern Italy.

And, want to know a secret about renovating your property in Italy? Since the authorization times also depend on the efficiency of the Town Council where your building is located, consider that, on average, the most fast and efficient are in the north. Going down to the south you have to deal with longer times, more bureaucracy and inefficiency. At the same time, since northern cities and towns are much richer than those in the south, you may have to deal with higher taxes and fees than those in the south. Did you know that?

Ok, but exactly how much does it cost to refurbish my home in Italy?

We’ll be honest with you: The simple truth is that it is impossible to determine exactly what the costs of a renovation are, due to too many variables.

But here’s the point: a good professional is always available to help you in the initial phase, knowing the type of building and the work to be done to renovate your building.

Furthermore: the architect or engineer who is, can propose a construction company with a good relationship between costs and benefits, but it is up to you to choose it or propose one in turn. In Italy, it’s hard to get a builder to tell you how much any work will cost. The only answer is to bite the bullet and pay more for the security of knowing how much, and doing this by choosing the right architect/engineer.



Maybe you know it: Italy is a highly seismic country, and sadly the news of the last years will have made it clear to you…You need to know this in order to renovate your property in Italy.

A common mistake of the owners undergoing restructuring, is to allocate the economic resources to the superfluous things, regardless of the skeleton that holds the house: this is crazy!

For example, it is useless to design a huge jacuzzi, if the floor will not be able to hold it. You need to renovate your home properly!

Let us say this straight : Most of the Italian homes are not under seismically. Safety is the most important thing of all and you can not afford to ignore it!

Think about it: do not forget the structural aspect of your work. Always look for a structural engineer who can advise you on the necessary interventions.
So, here’s the deal: be responsible and do not save on the structural aspect!

And what’s the best part? Saving Money! How?

Lately, the Italian state has introduced numerous bonuses for structural restructuring and seismic improvements: foreigners can also take advantage of this and you will be reimbursed a good part of your investment in a few years.

Besides, a seismically renovated house will increase its value. Boom! In this way you will avoid future problems and invest in your property with an immediate investment return!


Unfortunately, In Italy the cost of electricity and gas is much higher than that of other countries, since the country imports fossil energy sources from abroad.

But, luckily, Italy is a Mediterranean country and enjoys many hours of sunlight a year.

Simple: Install renewable sources! That’s a good investment to save on expenses! 

Especially if you buy at home in the center-south you can install your solar panels on the roof and use solar energy much more than in other parts of the world. You will need to consider this aspect, when you will renovate your house in Italy!

An important fact: In many cases, if you restructure your property, you will be obliged by Italian laws, to a minimal extent, to install some renewable energy source: choose the sun! (And in the south there is much more sun).

Also in this case you will enjoy state incentives that will give you back the investment (which may be even a few thousand euros).

Here’s the deal: we advise you to restructure your property according to the criteria of energy saving (both for the building envelope and the heating/cooling system). The property will increase in value and a large part of the expenses incurred will be returned in a few years!

Your property will be worth more and you will save a lot on your electricity bill!


Here’s the thing: Italy is the most beautiful country in the world, you can not think of renovating a house without having the slightest taste for Italian architecture and its splendor. You have to renovate your home not just for you, but for the world. Italy is the country of luxury villas, neoclassicism and the most beautiful gardens in the world.

Respect the building standards and the architectural taste of the country and avoid ugliness. And guess what? Investing in luxury is always an excellent investment, especially in Italy!

That’s right. The most desired properties are those with the best finishes, with the best materials, with the most beautiful garden, with the most beautiful pool, etc. And Italy is a highly touristy country! One day, you could turn your home into a hotel or bed & breakfast. You need to think about it when you’ll renovate your house.

Ask a competent professional for the most pleasant solutions for the eye. A swimming pool, a beautiful garden, a beautiful terrace, a large kitchen are always a plus for your property.

Do not neglect beauty! Why? Because beautiful things create a high added value product: one day you could rent or resell your property! You will live in a better and more beautiful environment. As Dostoevskij said, “Beauty will save the world”.

So…What did you learn?

Don’t you feel a little more learned now? Do you remember everything? Let’s do a brief recap to renovate your house in Italy:

– Choose the right professional: a lot depends on him, both in terms of costs and time. He is the only one who can answer all your questions! You need him if you want to renovate your property in Italy.

– Redesign your home according to the criteria of structural safety and energy efficiency. Your property value will grow and you will be relieved of many of these costs!

– Italy is the most beautiful country in the world: even your home has to be beautiful!

And, guess what? In an effort to lure new residents, many local governments are selling lots of homes for few dollars each. (New owners must renovate the homes within few years). In Italy this “sell-off” is a growing phenomenon. Really? Yes! Check this out:


Yes, we’ve finished for now, but…this was just the beginning!

Do you want an advice on your renovation? What do you want to know? Ask us anything.

Write us:     info@alhke.com       or      Contact us

We will be happy to follow you step by step.

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1 thought on “5 great tips to renovate your house in italy

  1. Lucy brown Reply

    How do i know of there is vincolo,/ or building restriction? How long does it takes to find out from siperintendant of monumental heritage in milan if there is a vincolo? Lucy

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