Starting a business in Italy

Several and different options are available in order to conduct business in Italy, thanks to many reforms made to streamline and simplify the procedures required to start and operate a business in Italy. A business may be operated either as a sole trader or as a company. Both entities are governed by the Italian civil code.

A person may conduct a business either as an individual, or through the setting up of a new company or through the purchase of shares/quotes in an existing company. Such opportunities are available both for European and non-European citizens.

A wide range of choices of legal forms for setting up companies is available and the main types are:

  • S.r.l. (Società a responsabilità limitata) – limited liability company;
  • S.p.A. (Società per Azioni) – stockholding companies (company limited by shares).

The partnership does not have a legal personality although it is still a form of company under Italian law. The main types are:

  • S.n.c. (Società in nome collettivo) - general or unlimited partnership;
  • S.a.s. (Società in accomandita semplice) - limited partnership. 

In 2017 almost half of all the limited liability companies launched in Italy were of the simplified type: the simplified limited liability company (S.r.l.s.) is a form of “S.r.l.” introduced to encourage young entrepreneurship thanks to a minimum share capital of € 1, up to a maximum of € 9,999.99, the absence of notarial fees and a shorter constitutive process.

Download the guide: Doing Business in Italy

business in italy