Doing Business in Italy

How to Register your Business

People who want to start a business have several types of companies in Italy from which to choose. The country has one of the most iconic and historically rich lands in Europe and offers numerous possibilities for investments. You can surf between the profit and no profit sector that nowadays is among the more targeted and supported.

Company Registration

To start up your own business in Italy you must be informed about the basic principles of doing business and managing a company in this country.

Let’s look at some of these options in more detail:

Sole Proprietorship

Sole proprietorship is the simplest and least costly legal form for starting a business.

The sole proprietorship is suitable for those who wish to pursue activities of modest dimensions and a relatively low turnover.

The individual entrepreneur personally assumes the business risk with the possibility of bankruptcy but also has the freedom to make any management or administrative decisions for the business with complete autonomy, making the most of his business skills.

The entrepreneur is free to make simple money transfers from the company for his personal needs.

The entrepreneur is someone who carries out a non-occasional economic activity using means of production (capital, labour), either his own or someone else’s, as necessary.


In Italy, there are two main types of partnerships:

  • Società in nome collettivo or S.n.c., and
  • Società in accomandita semplice or S.a.s. Partnerships (società in nome collettivo or S.n.c. and società in accomandita semplice or S.a.s.) are generally characterized by:
    • Unlimited joint and several liability of the partners for the company’s obligations;
    • Each partner acts as a director of the company with managing powers;
    • Non-transferability, either inter vivos or mortis causa of the partner status except whereby authorized by all other partners.
    • Need to have at least two partners;
    • Tax transparency

La società a responsabilità limitata (S.r.l.) or Proprietary Limited Company

The Srl is certainly the company type most widely used in Italy. The main reason is the combination of high organisational flexibility and limited liability. Although in the past it was used for small companies, it is now also used for companies of considerable size, since it offers greater organisational flexibility and may also take on a “personalised” character. The shareholders are not personally liable for the company’s debts, even if they have acted in the name and on behalf of the company. In a limited liability company the articles of association must be drawn up by a notary who lodges them with the Registrar of Companies: only following only following registration with the competent Company Registry can the limited liability company be said to have actually come into existence.


The cooperative

In Italy there are several type of cooperatives or “società cooperative”.

The cooperative are companies with variable capital characterized by a mutual purpose, that is to say that they mainly carry out their activity in favour of the same shareholders, who mainly make use of the work services of the partners and the contributions of goods or services from part of the shareholders.

In the cooperative, the company is solely liable for social obligations with its assets.

Cooperative companies must be established by public deed. The constitution act must establish the rules for carrying out the mutual aid activity and indicate the other fundamental aspects of the company.

Le società cooperative: disciplina normativa e caratteri


An Association is a non-profit body, managed by the Civil Code, characterized by the absence of profit and with a democratic structure, which brings together people united by a common purpose of an ideal nature. Both natural and legal persons (other entities, companies or public administrations) can join as shareholders and the shareholders are directly involved in the implementation of the activities.

The Association can be constituted by a public deed, a registered private deed, an authenticated private deed or by a private deed. The Constitution Act and the Statute must contain the name of the body, the indication of the purpose, the assets and the seat, the rules on the organization and administration, the rights and obligations of the members and the conditions for their admission. Unless required by special legislation (such as that on non-profit organizations or the Third Sector Code), the discipline concerning the extinction of the entity and the devolution of assets is optional.