Italian Public Notaries in Property Transactions
What is a Notary Public?
Time and again we find some confusion about Italian Public Notaries, amongst international clients who buy and sell property in Italy. There is a mistaken belief that the public notary (notaio) performs the same function as a lawyer, solicitor or attorney (avvocato).
Public notaries grew from the institution of scribes and scriveners. They first became respected for their knowledge of technical matters as public officials in Ancient Rome, where they were often attached to the court. These Notaries prepared and drew up fair copies of deeds and other legal documents, which were endorsed using the seal of the court and thus rendered ‘public acts’. Eventually, Notaries were granted the right to use their own official seals to give their acts public status.
In modern times, acting on behalf of the Italian State, notai are appointed by the Italian Ministry of Justice. Vested with the rights of official authority, which they receive from the Italian State, a document drawn up by a notaio is a guarantee of its legality and authenticity. Read more