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READER QUESTIONS

What are The Local Italy’s ‘reader questions’?

As part of our service to members of The Local Italy, we are happy to answer questions from readers on any aspect of life in Italy or Italian culture.

What are The Local Italy’s ‘reader questions’?
Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

You may have seen articles titled ‘reader question’ around the site and, as you may be have guessed, they’re based on questions sent in by you, The Local’s readers.

We receive – and try our best to answer – a large number of such questions, and if any of them touch on a topic that is likely to affect or interest others, we may turn the answer into an article with ‘reader question’ in the headline.

Who can ask a reader question and can I ask anonymously?

All readers of The Local Italy can email us to ask a question; there is no need to be a paying subscriber.

However, answering reader questions individually is a time-consuming task made possible only by the support of our members. The growing archive of ‘reader question’ articles is therefore behind the paywall.

There is no need to live in Italy to ask a question either – we tackle many topics relevant to second-home owners, visitors to Italy or simply people who have an interest in Italy and its culture – but the question does need to relate to Italy.

We will only turn a question into a reader question article where it has value to the broader Local community (and where we know or can find out the answer, obviously).

All reader questions we publish are anonymous. We never release any details of your private correspondence with us and we will not publish a reader question where the person asking it could be identified.

What kinds of questions do we answer?

It can really be anything.

Throughout the pandemic we’ve focused on practical issues relating to Covid rules and travel restrictions and their impact on readers’ lives.  For example, you asked us how to get vaccinated in Italy without a health card and whether you needed to update your green pass after a booster shot..

We’ve also answered your questions about navigating Brexit-related changes and everyday Italian bureaucracy.

Most recently, you asked us everything from what the longer-term alternatives to car hire are when visiting Italy, to whether your children would be eligible for an Italian passport.

But the questions don’t have to be bureaucracy-related (even if this is probably the most perplexing aspect of life in the country!)

If you have a question about Italian language or culture, we’re happy to have a go at answering this too – no matter how big or small.

In brief; if you’ve ever wondered, feel free to ask.

If necessary, we will reach out to our contacts in the Italian government or to trusted experts to get the answer.  

If you’d like to have a question answered, drop us a line at [email protected]

You can find our previous reader questions HERE.

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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: Can I buy a car in Italy if I’m not a resident?

If you spend extended periods of time in Italy, can you buy a car to use while in the country? It all depends on your residency status.

Reader question: Can I buy a car in Italy if I'm not a resident?

Question: ‘We own a second home in Italy and we’d like to purchase a car to use there during our visits. But we’re not registered as residents. Are we allowed to buy a car in Italy?’

It’s a common question from people who spend extended periods of time in Italy but are, for one reason or another, not registered as Italian residents.

The short answer is: if you’re a legal resident in Italy, then you can buy a car in Italy.

As a general rule, if you don’t have residency in Italy – even if you own property in Italy or have business interests in the country – you are not legally allowed to buy a car in Italy.

READ ALSO: Can second-home owners get an Italian residence permit?

According to the Italian highway code, you need to have registered your residency with an Italian municipality to be able to buy a new or used vehicle in Italy.

While you might find a friendly neighbour willing to sell you their old motor regardless, you would also need to register the change of ownership with the Motor Vehicles Office (Ufficio Motorizzazione Civile) and the Public Vehicle Registry (Pubblico Registro Automobilistico or PRA).

This is where you’d run into trouble without the right paperwork, which includes a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno), or if you’re an EU citizen, your proof of residence (certificato di residenza). You’ll also need your Italian tax code (codice fiscale) and other documents, some of which you may not be able to obtain without residency.

So could you instead bring your own car to Italy from abroad? For short periods, there’s no issue with doing this – assuming that you’re willing and able to drive between Italy and your home country.

READ ALSO: Q&A: Your questions answered about driving in Italy on a British licence

But for the longer term, importing a car to Italy and registering it here would again require you to be able to show proof of Italian residency.

If you live between two or more countries, there’s a lot to consider when deciding whether you should – or could – register as a resident in Italy.

Doing so is more than a simple declaration of your presence in Italy; being registered as a resident means you’ll face certain requirements (most notably those related to paying taxes) as well as rights in the country. Read more about the process of obtaining Italian residency here.

So if registering as a resident is not an option in your circumstances, you may have to stick with the rental car for now or explore the longer-term alternatives to hiring a car in Italy.

Please note that many bureaucratic processes and requirements often vary from one part of Italy to another. This article is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to purchasing or registering a car in Italy.

For further information and advice please contact your local Motorizzazione Civile office or consult the Automobile Club d’Italia.

See more in The Local’s Driving in Italy section.

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