Architecture - Architettura, English, Lifestyle, Talks

How to Become a Licensed Architect in Italy

How to become an architect in Italy?

To enter the profession in Italy, you are required to first obtain a degree in Architecture. There are three kind of degree:

  1. Bachelor of Science 3 years
  2. Master of Science 5 years (2 years after the bachelor degree so 3+2)
  3. Single-Cycle Degree – 5 years

When I started there was only one way to become architect: the single cycle called “laurea magistrale in architettura” (i.e.  magister degree in architecture)

In order to work in the profession and get title of architect, planner, landscape architect and conservator, corresponding to the laurea title existing legislation requires laureates to pass a state professional examination for the purposes of registering to practice (bachelor degree = junior architects, and master degree = senior architects). This examination can immediately follow academic qualification.

To sit State Professional Examination you must submit an application form at the university of your choice within the time frame and using the procedures shown noting that application deadlines and exam dates are the same across the whole country. You can submit applications to only one university.

There are two exam sessions, one in spring and one in autumn. The State Exam  now comprends four tests (three written and one oral).

It was one written and one oral tests when I did it. The writing test was basically a concept design. You could choose between urban planning, renovation, architectural design. You had 8 hours to set your idea, with skatches and everything.

I remember I chose urban planning (not because I like it, just because it was the easier) I had to design a sporting area with tennis, football, basketball along with changing rooms, parkings and everyting. The renovation topic was about the conversion into apartaments of an old schools building, while the architectural design topic was to design a loft of 60 square meters for an artist.

The oral test is very general, they can ask you almost anything, from local laws to how to make stucco and comment big architectures. I remember they ask me also to explain why  (or why not) I like  one of the latest Herzog de Meuron building.

To practice, the architect must register with the Ordine degli architetti (Order of Architects CNAPPC http://www.cnappc.it/default.aspx), which also includes planners, landscape architects and conservationists (architectural heritage). The Orders are organised by province, and registration is based on place of residence of the architect. Within the order there are currently several classes and categories, depending on specific qualifications. Continued training is compulsory since 1st January 2014 (60 credits any 3 years)

This is how to become an architect in Italy.


Today’s post is the 31st post of the series called #ArchiTalks, in which a group of  blogging’architects select a topic and the group all post on the same day and promote each other’s blogs and read varying takes on the topic. This month’s topic is The Architectural Registration Exam leads by Meghana Joshi

To read how the other blogging architects have interpreted this theme click the links below:

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
What is the Big Deal about the ARE?

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
what A.R.E. you willing to do 

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Take the architect registration exam, already

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
ARE – The Turnstile

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
the architect registration exam

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
I forget

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
The Architecture Registration Exam

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
What is the Benefit of Becoming a Licensed Architect?

Kyu Young Kim – J&K Atelier (@sokokyu)
Every Architect’s Agony

Nisha Kandiah – ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon)
To do or not to do ?

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Test or Task

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Passing the Test

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Part 3!

Jane Vorbrodt – Kuno Architecture (@janevorbrodt)
Seven Years of Highlighters and Post-it Notes

  • Lora

    Thanks for walking us through this! It’s always interesting to see how different countries operate. I wonder how license transfer from the US would work… (wanderlust is kicking in)

    • Thanks Lora, actually I have no idea, I’ve never known an american architect who came here to work! I know somes who left Italy for America and they had to pass ARE in order to practice.

    • Thanks Lora, actually I have no idea, I’ve never known an american architect who came here to work! I know somes who left Italy for America and they had to pass ARE in order to practice.

  • Interesting..and that is honest of you to admit that you chose the “planning” exam option because it was easier 🙂 I enjoyed a month in Italy studying architecture in an ancient tower in Volterra. What a great place to be an architect. So much history. By the way, the link to my #Architalks post that you listed above doesn’t work. Please find the correct link here: http://kunoarchitecture.com/index.php/architalks-highlighters-and-post-it-notes/
    Thanks! -Jane

    • Thanks Jane, the real issue is that there are too many architects in Italy!
      https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/12/arts/international/in-italy-an-oversupply-of-architects.html
      Plus there are not so many space to build new constructions here, what we really have is restorations and renovations. Recourse to an architect is mandatory only for all buildings of artistic value (historic monuments). Therefore there are also others professional figure in (such as civil engineers and “geometri”) who can actually be hired to do design projects (big or small).

      Link fixed!

    • Thanks Jane, the real issue is that there are too many architects in Italy!
      https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/12/arts/international/in-italy-an-oversupply-of-architects.html
      Plus there are not so many space to build new constructions here, what we really have is restorations and renovations. Recourse to an architect is mandatory only for all buildings of artistic value (historic monuments). Therefore there are also others professional figure in (such as civil engineers and “geometri”) who can actually be hired to do design projects (big or small).

      Link fixed!