+39 02 366 38 610


+39 02 366 38 610
Company Formation Italy



Foreign Investments in Italy

Updated on Tuesday 31st March 2020

Rate this article
5.333333333333333 5 1
based on 3 reviews


After a period in which foreign direct investments went through a period of uncertainty, the Italian economy has started recovering which led to a steadiness in terms of foreign investors setting up companies here.
Now, the Italian economy is one of the largest in the world by size, being ranked as the ninth in terms of gross domestic product and the tenth in nominal parity of purchasing power. Italy is also a country heavily oriented to foreign trade, being ranked as the ninth in the world by value of exports and the twelfth by the value of imports.
 The Italian industry is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises, most of them implied in manufacturing or services, while large enterprises are few, phenomenon so-called industrial dualism. Italian companies have responded in part by outsourcing the production in developing countries, in part by focusing on quality production. In addition, from the late '90s Italy has begun to introduce legislation provisions in order to deregulate the labor market, making it more flexible.
Our Italian company formation agents can assist foreign investors who want to start businesses here.

 The Italian economy in numbers

 The attractiveness of the economy for foreign investments in Italy was traditionally limited, despite the country's advantages, such as a large domestic market and a skilled workforce.
The last several years have been very good for the Italian economy, as recent numbers indicate the investment flow in Italy rose to approximately 30 billion USD in 2016, and thus the country became the 15th largest foreign direct investments (FDI) recipient in the world. During the same year, Italy surpassed large economies in Europe, such as France and Spain.
At the level of 2017, Italy has become the 3rd largest Eurozone economy and is ranked among the 10 largest economies in the world thanks to foreign investments.

The most powerful investment sectors in Italy

 The main sectors which offer great investment opportunities in Italy are:
  •  - real estate, as in recent years Italians are interested in buying a second home or a holiday home and immigrants willing to remain in Italy search for real estate properties in order to settle here;
  • - tourism, which is the most profitable domain in Italy. The country is the fifth most visited country in the world, with 46.1 million of international tourists.
  • - food industry: Italy has a remarkable culinary tradition and lately surveys have shown that tourists are attracted to spend the holiday in Italy also because of the great food and specialties offer.
Our company incorporation consultants in Italy can assist investors in setting up a business in any of the industries mentioned above. We can also assist foreign investors who are interested in VAT registration in Italy for their foreign legal entities.

Foreign direct investment incentives in Italy

Over the years, the Italian government had created various sets of regulations which provide an attractive FDI environment. Among these are:
  • -          tax deductions for investments in research and development activities, which can reach up to 50% of the income tax;
  • -          investment grants which can reach up to 65% of the costs related to buying various assets;
  • -          tax deductions for companies employing workers on a permanent basis;
  • -          a patent box which provides for tax exemptions related to the creation of intellectual property, such as patents, know-how and trademarks;
  • -          various tax incentives for startups and innovative companies.
Several tax cuts were announced at the end of 2017 which should be enforced starting with 2018.

The real estate industry in Italy

Italy is one of the European countries with the most beautiful landscapes and histories. These characteristics attract a great number of investors and private foreign citizens seeking to buy real estate for commercial or touristic, respectively for residential purposes. Foreign investors interested in investing in real estate can purchase properties at very convenient prices, while private citizens are mainly attracted by the highly quality of life and low living costs.

Tourism- one of the most appealing industries in Italy

The real estate and the tourism industry are closely related as the first one has enabled large foreign investors to set up hotels and other accommodation facilities in Italy. The number of travel agencies has grown a lot during the last few years, however there is still room for other investment possibilities, as the market has not reached its full potential yet. Foreign investors seeking to invest in tourism in Italy can direct their attention towards opening an online travel agency in Italy.
Our company formation agents in Italy can help you set up a travel agency in this country.

The food industry in Italy

Italy is renowned for its delicious pasta and great-tasting wines, and in 2016 the food and beverages industry remains one of the most attractive. At the beginning of the year, several Asian investors have shown their interest in importing food products from Italy which has brought significant incomes to operators in this industry.

Recent laws on foreign investment in Italy

In 2015, the Government has enabled several schemes which are still very attractive to foreign investors. Among these the liberalization of the energy and telecommunications sectors, which allows private players to enter the Italian market, and the privatization of the public transportation system which was also benefic in terms of attracting foreign investments. According to the Italian Company Act, foreign investors have the same rights of establishing companies like local ones, while the foreign investment legislation allows foreign enterprisers in set up businesses in any industry, apart from several sectors, such as oil and gas.
Our company formation agents in Italy can help you open a company in this country.

Assistance for foreign investors in Italy

The Government encourages foreign investments not only through its laws, but also through grants and investment schemes which are renewed or replaced periodically in order to make them more attractive. At the moment, the Government supports foreign investments in the following economic sectors:
  • -          industry, such as manufacturing;
  • -          innovation;
  • -          research and development.
The authorities also support entrepreneurs interested in investing in Southern Italy (Rome, Sicily and Sardinia).

Investment benefits in Italy

The following grants are available for foreign investments made in Italy:
  • -          deductions of up to 50% of the employees’ salaries, purchase of equipment and intellectual property rights for investments in the research and development (R&D) sector;
  • -          tax exemptions for up to 10 years for companies investing in disadvantaged areas (such as Southern Italy);
  • -          grants up to 65% for investing in fixed assets in disadvantaged areas.
The Government also assists companies exporting products through low interest loans for up 85% of the amount of the exported goods. It also useful to know that Italy has two free trade zones: Venice and Trieste which offer additional tax benefits.
For full information on the legislation favoring foreign investments in Italy, please feel free to contact our local consultants.


Meet us in Rome and Milan

Francesco Dagnino mic.jpg

Call us now at +39 023 663 8610 to set up an appointment with Francesco Dagnino, one of our lawyers in Rome and Milan, Italy. Alternatively you can incorporate your company without traveling to Italy.

As a LEXIA Avvocati client, you will benefit from:

  • - 24 hour response time guaranteed
  • - cost- efficiency  
  • - dozens of articles and free information on the best Italian structures.
Contact us