Export of artworks

A few clear information
about the export of antiques abroad.


The trade of works of art and cultural goods in Italy is regulated according to the law (Testo Unico dei Beni Culturali- DL 42/2004 and following DL 62-63/2008).
For the export outside the EU of works of art (paintings, watercolours, mosaics, engravings, prints, litographs, posters, sculptures) more than 50 years old and not belonging to the author you’ll need to apply for an individual export license released by the Italian Department of Cultural Goods and for a free circulation certificate, both valid for six months.

If the artwork is more than 50 years old you need to apply for a certificate of circulation at the local competent authority, called Soprintendenza. The application must include a description of the object and specify period, dimensions and estimated value. This process normally takes up to 40 days. In case of items whose cultural value is considered extremely relevant for the nation, the Soprintendenza can refuse to release the license and forbid its exit from the national territory. In case you want to sell an object subject to such a restriction within the Italian territory, a formal communication must be sent to the local competent authority (Soprintendenza) specifying who is the potential buyer and how much he is willing to pay. The local authority has got 60 days time to exercise its preemption right and purchase the item from the buyer.


This paragraph doesn’t mean to substitute the opinion of experts in this complicated, and not free-of-charge process. It is highly recommendable to refer to the opinion of an expert to avoid to occur in penalties or delays. Our company, specialised in this field and constantly updated on these matters, provides consultancy to help you understanding the international regulation of the art market.