Giandomenico De Tullio is one of the leading international experts on legal issues related to the purchase and sale of real estate.
Counselor tell us what your business is all about.
Ours is a niche professional activity that is based in Puglia for my origins more than for reasons related to what I professionally do. Our clientele is entirely international, coming from all over the world, especially from English-speaking countries such as the United States, UK, Australia and Canada. We deal with two aspects of law that are extremely specific: the first concerns the management, from an exclusively legal point of view, of international real estate transactions throughout the Italian territory; the second aspect of our interest is the management of succession files with elements of internationality, so once again cross-border transactions that have repercussions on the entire national territory.
If we had to explain to a housewife what the lawyer De Tullio does in practice, what would we tell her?
What the lawyer De Tullio does is absolutely simple: when an international investor, wherever he is in the world, decides to buy a holiday home or move to Italy, the firm “De Tullio Law Firm” is responsible for accompanying him and assisting him in all legal and fiscal practices that precede and follow the purchase of the property, from the management of construction or renovation contracts, to litigation, even practices that affect residence permits. On the other hand, we do not have any kind of involvement in the active search for the property, which is about brokering.
Your name and your contributions appear in authoritative periodicals such as “The New York Times”: How do you become an international legal advisor?
Perimeters do not exist. Anyone who enThis professional activity is the synthesis, the point of arrival, of different experiences I’ve done abroad in my entire life. I graduated from the University f Bari and then had many professional experiences in Belgium, England and Luxembourg. I gained a master’s degree in Community Studies from the University of Brussels, as well as experience in the European Commission’s Community institutions.
How many languages do you speak?
I speak fluent Italian, English and French.
The number of professional law firms involved in practices of buying and selling real estate or cross-border inheritances is extremely limited in Italy: where does it come from your intuition of pointing everything at such a specific segment of the legal consultancy?
As is it often the case in life, the challenge is to create a professional perspective that brings together a range of acquired experiences and skills, and to do so in a way that is not always entirely obvious. The fact that my father practiced the profession of notary also had an important impact, so this circumstance gave me an understanding of certain issues that I then combined with my international experiences. We are within a professional niche that involves a series of knowledge not certainly obvious, not only from the technical- legal point of view or of the foreign language, but I would even say culturally.
What is the evolution in Italy of the international sale and purchase sector of real estate? I mean, is there any chance that this sector will trigger dynamic of significant development?
Italy is a unique country in the world for the reasons that we all know and that perhaps sometimes escape. We live in a country so beautiful and rich in art, culture and history, with a variety of landscapes and an extraordinary agri-food offer, in short, Italy today is a country that attracts interest throughout the world and this is a fact with which I confront daily. On the other hand, it is a country that is experiencing a complex economic moment and has a great need to attract direct international investment. In this sense, the real estate market is always an engine for the economy, especially with regard to certain geographical areas in the South. Let me give you an example. There are many Italian villages, especially in southern Italy, which experience the phenomenon of depopulation as poorly attractive from the point of view of job perspective for our young people: The fact that international investors can invest in these historical centers and make them attractive from a tourist point of view can, in my opinion, trigger extremely interesting economic development issues. When an investor coming from UK or the United States buys a property, he or she restructures and inhabits it, generating a positive economic cycle that is advantageous for the entire territory.
Can you tell us stories about a territory that testify to these economic dynamics?
What I can say in general terms, with reference also to my customers, is that the investors are attracted by the most recognizable territories and in this case the most significant part of our work focuses on Tuscany, Umbria, the Lake area. Having said that, I note in positive terms a growing interest in Puglia, which makes us happy and that we tend to promote for the love we feel to our land. The interesting theme is that even territories that may seem less attractive in terms of tourism, in some cases become of great interest to international customers. For example, it is very common to have investors buying property in extremely remote areas, even in regions that are not as obvious as Abruzzo.
What is the evolution of this type of market in Apulia?
The Itria Valley is certainly an attractive territory, as well as the Adriatic strip that starts from Polignano is now one of the most attractive. Monopoli, in particular, is having a strong growth with regard to international real estate developments. The theme of tourism and real estate are strongly linked together, and both have a certain connection with the theme of accessibility to a territory: it is statistically proven that territories in which Ryanair routes have been opened have also experienced a strong tourism development and at the same time a strong development of the real estate market. There is a direct correlation between these dynamics. In Puglia we have had similar phenomena. It was a winning choice by the regional administrations to focus on the development of our airports which, from my point of view, today represent absolute excellence. Having the opportunity to travel frequently I can say that I find few airports abroad organized and efficient as our regional airports. It is also clear that the choice by far-sighted entrepreneurs who have had the will, the intuition and the ability to invest in various segments of the tourism market in Puglia, has contributed significantly to bring wealth and work in difficult realities of our territory.
One of the issues at the heart of the public debate concerns young people forced to leave Italy to find work. You have partly taken the opposite path: you have studied and trained abroad and then returned to Pugli: have you never thought to stay in England or the United States?
I believe that it is essential for a young person to become fully aware of the fact that we are part of a larger context and that our nation is Europe. Living Europe and live the opportunities that it offers us I believe is an important path that I recommend to all the young people. The choices must be the result of awareness and knowledge: the world today is globalized and wanting to disregard this is a wrong exercise. The suggestion that I offer young people is to train, to travel, to open their own world up. This is because acquiring these skills can also offer many opportunities in our territory. In our country we often believe that there are no opportunities, instead in reality they exist but you need to have the skills, the ability and the professionalism to know how to catch them. I believe that Puglia in particular is a region with extraordinary potential, but this requires a leap in skills and professionalism.
Continuing along this line of reasoning, what prospects do you see for our region?
The world of tourism can be an important point of reference. It is a sector that is growing in Puglia and requires high professional skills, experienced and trained people, especially for what concerns the highest level of tourism, which is also the most profitable, the one that leaves more economic resources in the territory. In order to acquire this type of skills, it is necessary to study, travel, confront ourselves with other realities; those who succeed have surely opportunities also in Puglia. So this path that starts in Puglia and goes abroad does not exclude the possibility of a return, indeed it would be extremely important for the territory because the many people from Puglia who have achieved outstanding results across borders could bring here not only their own skills and competences, as well as an important network of contacts.
Has anyone of your clients particularly impressed you?
One thing that has particularly affected my imagination regards some investors very young who have acquired extremely important properties in Italy. I was struck by the fact that they had made their fortune by programming video games.