"Living and Doing Business in Italy", the Notariat's Guide for Foreigners
The Guide entitled "Living and Doing Business in Italy" was created by the Italian Notariat to meet the needs of Italy's new economic scenarios and to inform foreign citizens about operations that in Italy by law require the intervention of a notary, who is a public official of the Italian Republic.
The Guide has been translated not only into French, English, Spanish and German, but also into the languages of the main foreign communities present in Italy. According to data made available by ISTAT (the Italian government's Statistical Office), these are nationals of: Albania, Bangladesh, China, Philippines, India, Morocco, Moldova, Romania, Poland, Tunisia and Ukraine.
In the Guide foreign nationals will find in their own language practical information on the documents and formalities necessary for buying a house, taking out a mortgage or starting a business in Italy.
Of particular note:
The condition of reciprocity
Citizens of countries that are not part of the European Union can undertake legal acts that are valid in Italy only if the condition of reciprocity exists; that is, only to the extent that an Italian citizen would be allowed to undertake those same legal acts in the country of the foreign national who wishes to operate in Italy.
Verification that the condition of reciprocity is met in relation to acts requiring the intervention of a notary, such as purchasing a property or starting a business, is a task assigned to the notary and involves an analysis that must be carried out on a case-by-case basis – if necessary with the help of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs - because its outcome depends both on the specific type of legal act that is proposed and on the national law of the person proposing it.
Irrespective of the fulfilment or otherwise of the condition of reciprocity, citizens of states which are not EU members but who are resident in Italy can perform legal acts if their presence in Italy is legitimate under national law. This condition is proven by the possession of a valid residence permit or a long-term resident's permit. Such documents must be shown to the notary prior to the formalisation of the act for which his intervention is requested.
(tratto da www.notariato.it)