We have owned a house in Italy for six years

spagnoli1 Image
06/30/2021 - 06:51

We have owned a house in Italy for six years and have had the right of way through our neighbours path down to the beach , A month ago he blocked our access ..

What can we do ? can anyone advise ?



I can't help but I am following with interest as we have a property that borders a river and a stream, both with loverly swimming beach areas.

Our property was empty for many years and locals still cross our garden to access these areas. 

We have a large (75kg) dog that looks fierce and barks so we regularly have to rescue the visitors.

I really don't mind but it would be good to know where I actually stand. 


How have they blocked you access? 


Thank you for responding 

 i have just called our lovely lawyer friend / neighbour who said that if one has  used the access within the past  20 years  then you will have the  right to pass through the property

So in your situation you would have to block access for 20 years to claim it back . They could argue the 'Uso Capione ' 

But if it doesn't bother you that't good news .

As for us our lawyer will need to write to the judge and have our access re-opened 

Where is your property ? 

All the best 


I think you'll find that the banks of the river are a zona demaniale. This means that you are not allowed to fence within 5m (to allow access for maintenance etc). If you can't fence then this allows access to others onto your garden. I'm sure the Italian experts will be able to explain it better.

We are in Piemonte up near Alagna.

Good luck with your situation. 

We are happy to let people pass through our garden we take it as a compliment and have even made some new friends this way. 

Just to clarify if someone had used your garden to access another area any time in the last 20 years they can continue to do so? 

Does this mean I can pass through the grounds of one of the beautiful and empty villas on the edge of Lake maggiore and if unchallenged continue to do so? 

I think it is actually that the access has been (regularly?) used for 20 years.

See:   ..... (I have no link to this company)


You have a right of way - the law provides you with a 20 year extinction - ie. if it isnt used for 20 years then there the right to pass becomes extinct.   But as with most habitual stuff, it is rarely transcribed.     AS regards your neighbour blocking access to the beach,    He can put up a gate, but he has to give you a key.   If he's just blocked it, you can unblock it, call the carabinieri or a lawyer.  

A right of way is a servitu on the property, it could be written into your act of sale/purchase or be transcribed by act.   Those that exist merely because they exist tend to be historical - or agricultural and they're not really things that you can do nowadays as people are much better at delineating their land, not sharing water sources etc.    

The beach and rivers to a certain extent though are demanio and as such are visitable by all.    This does not mean that you have to allow all and sundry through your land, unless it is a well marked and comunal right of way.  What you cannot do is block existing access, making a public road a private road for example.  

If you have an interpoderal right of way then you cannot close it, unless you buy all hte lots of lands it serves,  likewise nowadays you cannot sell a piece of land without access, so slowly these ancient rights and liens are becoming extinct. 

Yes I understand this . We have a historical right of way which is written in our contract.

we have photos of it a month ago  and photos of it now .

our neighbour has just blocked it with mesh, metal , rubble etc (blocking our access) 

we have written to him and had no response.


what can we do ? 

I would call the carabinieri.   Or go to the carabinieri with the photos and your atto, and they will take it from there.   In my experience its the quickest and easiest way to deal with the problem.  They will come and have words with the owner.  (Its one of the few laws that seems to be easily enforced in Italy).   

Thank you for this ....   our neighbour  who is a lawyer has told us we need to write to a local judge in court and go through a legal process which is no doubt expensive but you sound as if you have personal experience .. is that right?