Buying and Selling a New or Used Car in Italy

Information on the paperwork and process involved, buying a car from a dealership or through a classified advertisement, and the documents required and where they must be sent...

Note: Most of the websites referred to here are in Italian only.

Buying a New Car

Dealerships selling new cars in Italy will usually handle all the necessary paperwork on the buyer's behalf. A specialised agency known as an Agenzia di Pratiche Auto carries out this process. The cost is included in the on-the-road price of a new vehicle.

  • To find a local Agenzie di Pratiche Auto visit the homepage and enter the region and town name (in Italian)

The following documents are needed from the buyer:

  • A residence certificate (Certificato di Residenza) (a non-resident may not buy a car in Italy except from a manufacturer and with special conditions)
  • A tax code (Codice Fiscale)
  • An identification document: required for registration of the vehicle with the Traffic Control Authority (Motorizzazione Civile) as well as for registration of the act of sale with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (Pubblico Registro Automobilistico or PRA) run by the Italian Automobile Club (Automobile Club d'Italia or ACI)
  • Insurance document (insurance should be arranged in advance of the purchase). All motor vehicles in Italy must have insurance (assicurazione) for at least third-party liability. A lack of adequate insurance incurs a hefty fine and may lead to the confiscation of the vehicle.

Buying a Second-hand Car

Buying a second-hand car is a more intricate procedure than buying a new vehicle, as it involves more administration on the part of the purchaser. An Agenzie di Pratiche Auto can assist with the paperwork.

The Automobile Club d'Italia's Pubblico Registro Automobilistico (PRA) office will also draw up all the necessary documents on behalf of the buyer, including having them signed in the presence of a notary. It may be worth taking someone who speaks Italian sufficiently well to understand the documents.

Second-hand cars can be bought through dealerships or through a number of online classifieds sites, including Angloinfo.

Legal formalities

The following documents are required for the transfer of ownership of a used car:

  • An act of sale (Atto di Vendita)
  • The vehicle documents (Certificato di Propriet√†)
  • Car registration certificate (Carta di Circolazione)
  • EU nationals must supply a Residence Certificate (Certificato di Residenza)
  • The personal tax codes of the buyer and seller (Codice Fiscale)
  • Non-EU Nationals need to supply a copy of their Residence Permit (Certificato di Residenza).

There is a 60-day time limit in which to register the change of ownership (passaggio di proprietà) and bring the car's registration certificate up to date.

Failure to register the change of ownership within 60 days means the former owner remains de facto proprietor of the car on the public car registry and will continue to be held responsible for non-payment of taxes, accidents caused, or infringements of the Highway Code (Codice della Strada).

Check the registration has been completed by the PRA by contacting the ACI and providing them with the numbers of the car's registration plate.

  • ACI (Automobile Club d'Italia)

What to check

Before buying a used vehicle, check the following:

  • Mileage, engine, tyres
  • Servicing information (tagliandi)
  • Road-tax certificate expiration date (scadenza bollo); this varies from vehicle to vehicle
  • Car registration certificate (Carta di Circolazione)

It is also advisable to carry out a more in-depth study of the vehicle, preferably with the help of a mechanic.

Selling a Used Car

Legal formalities

If selling the car to a private buyer or a dealership, an act of sale (Atto di Vendita) must be drawn up by a notary.

Provide the buyer with:

  • Ownership certificate (Certificato di Propriet√†)
  • Car registration certificate (Carta di Circolazione)

If the car is to be passed to a dealership for resale, ask a notary to draw up an authorisation of sale (Procura a Vendere).

How to sell a car

Before putting the vehicle up for sale ensure that maintenance checks are up-to-date with the garage.

Used cars may be sold through a dealership, either as standard sale or as part-exchange for another vehicle. There are also a number of online classifieds sites which advertise cars for sale, including Angloinfo,

Potential buyers may wish to take the car for a test drive (giro di prova). Always check the person is carrying their driving licence and accompany them on the test drive. Be prepared to barter, and determine a minimum price in advance.