Town Planning in Italy

Italy’s urban development is contingent upon attracting capital investment in business premises and infrastructure. At the same time, developing high quality facilities, efficient infrastructure and well-designed places are all important drivers to creating new business opportunities and jobs. Successful development is therefore reliant on the knowledge of the essential legal framework of the town planning system contributes to achieve successful development.


The governance of town planning

While Italy is a unitary country, the land-use system mimics that of federal countries.
The governance of land use is composed of the Municipalities (Comuni), the Provinces (Province), the Metropolitan cities (Città Metropolitane), the Regions (Regioni) and the State (Stato).

Within this, Article 131 of the Constitution identifies 20 regions, four with autonomous status and additional powers in relation to legislation, administration and finance (Valle d’Aosta, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sardinia, Sicily, and Trentino-Alto Adige). As far as land use planning is concerned, multi-level legislation applies: state legislation establishes the fundamental principles while the regions and the municipalities are the main source of rules related to the the planning process.

Regional provisions are highly localised and can vary greatly: there are relevant differences in terms of instruments and their names, procedures, objectives and functions. By way of example, the general town planning tool in Rome and in Turin it is called PRG – Piano Regolatore Generale, in Milan is called PGT, Piano di Governo del Territorio, in Genova it is called PUC – Piano Urbanistico Comunale).

Municipalities are the primary decision makers regarding zoning and development decisions which have a direct impact on the potential to develop specific buildings, areas, or projects. There are more than 8,000 municipalities and almost 8,000 general town planning tools.


Inter Alia

Municipal decisions are guided by the general town planning tool or inter alia. This determines town planning destination guidelines for how specific areas are used, audits the development of already built up areas, and oversees the general condition for the change of use destination, where possible.

In particular, it defines:

• Land use (the allowed uses in each specific area)

• Areas for infrastructures

• Public areas

• Areas for public buildings

• Areas to be developed through implementation plans

• Areas or building which can be developed through building titles

Building titles

As far as building titles are concerned, it is worth noting that in Italy – according to the Presidential Decree no. 380/2001 – there are three different types of building titles:

• Building permit in case of new construction

• Certified declaration of work’s commencement (the so-called “SCIA”) in case of extraordinary maintenance works and refurbishment works

• Certified communication of works’ commencement (the so-called “CILA”) in case of minor works


Use destination

The use destination is a classification detailing the function and activities that can be carried out in a property (for example: residential, logistic, productive, commercial, etc.). The lawful use destination of the property is derived from the building titles.

The certificate of use destination (or “CDU”) is required when transferring land or seeking to change its function, and the provisions for approval are contained within the municipality’s general town planning tool.


This article is for information purposes only and is not, and cannot be intended as, a professional opinion on the topics dealt with. For any further information please contact Francesca Bonino and Rosemarie Serrato.

Ricevi i nostri aggiornamenti