Gender and Land Rights Database


Land Legislation

Law No. 230 of 1950, Legge Sila:
- Provided for the expropriation of agricultural properties exceeding 300 hectares in the Sila region, their breakdown into small plots of land and distribution to peasants, as described in Articles 1 and 2.

- Under Articles 7–9, the owners of the expropriated lands were to be redressed of the value of the land by means of government bonds.

- Article 16 provides that lands be assigned to farmers who are not holders or tenants or, in case they are, who have an insufficient amount of labour for their family members to supply it.

- Article 17 states that the land shall be assigned by means of a sales contract to be perfected upon payment of 30 annual instalments.

- Article 18 sets a probation period of three years, during which the contract may be resolved. The instalments may not be paid in advance.

- Under Article 19, if the assignee dies before having paid the entire price, the heirs may take on the contract if they fulfil the requirements prescribed in Article 16 (19).


Law No. 841 of 1950, Legge Stralcio:
- Article 1 provides for the application of Law No. 230 to other areas where land is suitable for expropriation and distribution.

- Under Articles 2 and 3, the law states that land reform institutions are to be set up. These institutions shall be responsible for all activities, including the preliminary ones, required to enact the expropriation and allocation process set forth by the law (20).


Law No. 114 of 1948:
- Reduces registration fees and cadastral taxes for land purchase aimed at compiling or enlarging smallholders’ agricultural properties, as provided for by Article 1. The same provisions apply to tenants buying the tenanted land entirely or partially.

- Under Articles 4–5, the reform institutions may acquire, divide and sell land to farmers and agricultural cooperatives. The State, provinces and municipalities may also sell rural land in their patrimony to be used for cultivation to farmers and cooperatives (21).


Law No. 756 of 1964:
- Article 2 prohibits the stipulation of new sharecropping contracts after the enactment of the Law.

- Article 4 establishes that with active sharecropping contracts, the farmer’s share may not be less than 58 percent of the produce.

- Article 5 provides for all cultivation and land managing expenses to be divided in equal parts and paid by both the tenant and the holder.

- If the owner provides the tenant with the land only, he is entitled to one-fifth of the profit, as set forth in Article 9. If the owner contributes to the expenses for at least half of the amount, the above-mentioned quota of profit may be reviewed. In no case shall the tenant receive less than 50 percent of the profit.

- Article 14 states that no contracts shall be stipulated except those provided for by the Law (22).


Law No. 346 of 1976 on special usucapion of small rural estates:
- As provided for in Article 2, the provisions contained in Article 1159-bis of the Civil Code relating to usucapion shall apply to agricultural lands as well.

- Article 3 defines the procedure for obtaining the recognition of ownership rights, that is, continuous possession for at least 15 years, as provided by Article 1159bis of the Civil Code. The occupant shall resort to the competent judge submitting the documentation and evidence referred to in Article 3 Par. 1.
The occupant’s request must be published for 90 days during which the formal owner or anyone having the rights can submit an opposition. Thereafter, the judge shall decide through sentence, in case an opposition has been submitted, or through judicial decree.


Law No. 440 of 1978:
- The regional governments are mandated to enact laws concerning the administrative procedures for the allocation of non- or under-cultivated land, as stated in Article 1.

- Article 2 considers non-cultivated lands those lands that have not been exploited for at least two consecutive crop seasons. Under-cultivated lands are those where the average production of the last three crop seasons is less than 40 percent of the production of other lands in the same cadastral area and with the same cadastral characteristics, according to the production distinctiveness of the area.

- Article 3 states that the regions are responsible for identifying non-cultivated and under-cultivated land within their territory and determining the criteria for the agricultural or forest use of such lands, according to their regional development plan.
The list of such lands shall be published for 90 days, during which anyone can file an opposition. The regions may also assign land for cultivation to an individual or group of people who file a request for land belonging to public organizations. The owner or anyone entitled can present a request to cultivate the land by alleging a development plan which must be approved and checked upon as to its execution by the region.
Evaluation committees are set up at the provincial level. Such committees shall be composed of: i. the head of the provincial agricultural inspectorate; ii. two representatives of the non-farming holders; iii. two representatives of the farmers; iv. two representatives of the agricultural cooperatives; v. two representatives of agricultural workers; vi. four representatives of the municipalities or mountain area communities of the interested region.

- Article 5 provides that the evaluation committee shall decide on the assignment of the land upon assessing that the requirements set by the law are fulfilled.
The owner and those legally entitled to the land are notified of the request. If they do not present a development plan within the time period prescribed by the law, the land shall be assigned to the requesting party and the owner may not file a request to cultivate the land at least until the allocation expires.
Allocation priority is given to individuals or associated agricultural enterprises that request the land for the purpose of enlarging the holding, to cooperatives, to companies made of several family undertakings and to young farmers.

- Under Article 9, the regions may provide funds and mortgages to support the execution of the development plans and facilitate the re-establishment of the cultivation condition of the assigned lands.
Such funds are also available for landholders who present agricultural development plans for their land and commit themselves to them (21).


Law No. 203 of 1982 on contracts in agriculture:
- Aims at protecting tenants. Title I, Articles 1–7, regulates lease of agricultural lands by farmers individually or jointly and sets out detailed rules in the matters of duration, tacit renewal, withdrawal and annulment. The minimum duration of a lease contract is 15 years.

- Article 6 defines coltivatore diretto as a farmer who cultivates land on his/her own with the support of his/her family, provided that family labour accounts for at least one-third of the total labour force required for that land. The law explicitly considers women’s work equivalent to men’s (11).

- Articles 8 and 9 lay down rules for determining the fair rent, equo canone.

- Articles 26–33bis deal with the conversion of other contracts, such as sharecropping, into lease.

- Articles 48 and 49 clarify that the legal entity signing the lease contract is the farmer family, which can be legally represented by any member of the family (16).


Legislative Decree No. 228 of 2001:
- Article 1 amends article 2135 of the Civil Code, which contains the definition of agricultural entrepreneur. The latter is hereby defined as any entrepreneur who carries out the following activities: land cultivation, silviculture, animal farming and other related activities, including the manipulation, conservation, processing, transforming and placing on the market of agricultural products, without discrimination between men and women.
Farmers’ cooperatives and consortia are included in such definition.

- Part II deals with agricultural contracts and rural districts. According to Article 6, the provisions contained in Law No. 203 of 1982 shall apply to lands pertaining to the public domain and to lands belonging to public entities.

- Article 19 establishes the Interdepartmental Commission for Food Safety.

- Article 26 regards producers’ organizations, which aim at: i. laying down production programmes; ii. promoting the marketing of partners’ products; iii. restricting costs of production; iv. promoting culture practices and techniques compatible with the environment and animals’ welfare.
The Regions shall recognize the above-mentioned organizations, as per Articles 26 and 27 (24).


Law No. 38 of 2003, Provisions on Agriculture:
- Article 1 states that the Government shall enact decrees to modernize the agriculture, fishery, food production and processing and forestry sectors.
Such decrees shall provide, among other things, for:
i. setting up a system of permanent cooperation among the central government, the regions and the autonomous provinces;
ii. encouraging the creation of producers’ organizations;
iii. supporting young people’s involvement and  permanence in agriculture through the enactment of special fiscal and social security provisions;
iv. reviewing the law on agricultural employment so as to regulate the emergence of the black labour market.

- Article 3 provides for the establishment of the Special Fund for Research in the Biological Agriculture Sector (24).

- This Law is implemented by Law No. 99/2004 and Law No. 101 of 2005.


Law No. 99 of 2004 on legal persons and entities, activities and administrative simplification in the agricultural sector:
- Article 1 defines an agricultural entrepreneur as someone who, directly or as a partner of a society, devotes to agricultural activities at least 50 percent of his/her work time and gets at least 50 percent of his/her income from such activities.
Agricultural societies are defined as such if at least one-fifth of the members, in the case of cooperatives, are agricultural entrepreneurs, or if the managing director is an agricultural entrepreneur, in the case of a society by capital, or if at least one of the members is an agricultural entrepreneur in the case of a society of persons. The purpose is the granting of subsidies, without discrimination between men and women.

- Article 2[4] provides that agricultural societies are entitled to the fiscal benefits reserved for farmers.

- Article 3 establishes tax breaks for individual farmers and societies whose members are not older than 40 years.

- Amendments and addenda are made to Legislative Decree No. 228 of 2001 laying down the guidelines for the modernization of the agricultural sector in general and with regard to producers’ organizations, as stated in Article 7 (24).


Law No. 101 of 2005:
- It sets out further measures as to the legal persons and entities involved in agriculture, agricultural activities and the simplification of administrative proceedings. Amendments are made to Legislative Decree No. 99 of 2004 on the mentioned issues (24).


Ministerial Decree No. 224 of 1992:
- Regulates the granting of financial incentives to promote juvenile entrepreneurship in southern Italy.

- Pursuant to this Decree of the Minister responsible for special intervention to southern Italy [Mezzogiorno], grants ranging from 40 to 60 percent of proposed investments and loans at concessional rates can be given for qualifying investments to juvenile entrepreneurs who meet certain requirements as to age and place of residence, as stated in Article 3.

- Also, grants of varying import can be made to offset the management expenses of qualifying juvenile enterprises, as provided for by Article 4 (25).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography