There are two kinds of auction in Italy:
1) senza incanto — no bidding
To take part in the auction you need, first of all, to provide a participation certificate on a special form to the responsible court Chancellery. You submit the sum you offer for the object and type of payment. Every offer should have a cheque enclosed (10% of the offer’s amount). All offers are submitted in sealed envelopes and are only opened in court at the time of the auction. Therefore, it’s impossible to know in advance how many offers have been made and what sums have been offered.
If your offer exceeds the basic price by at least a fifth (20%), it will surely be accepted. The very same day the object is undeniably adjudicated to you by the decree of the court.
If there is more than one offer for this particular object, the open auction begins. The highest offer from the closed auction will be taken as the basic price for the lot.
If there haven’t been any offers made, the judge has to take a decision: whether to set a date for the next closed auction or move to ad incanto.
2) аd incanto (with bidding)
The procedure is pretty much the same. The main difference is that both the deposit and the basic price are determined by the judge. All you do is submit a request form for participation. You don’t have to state the sum you potentially want to spend. Naturally, each submission has to have a cheque enclosed, the sum is chosen by the judge (usually 10%).
At the auction every time the price is raised, the new amount should exceed the previous sum by no less than a fifth (20%). Anyway, all the small details are thoroughly written out in the judge’s decree when the object is put to auction, so the terms are well known to everyone. There’s no secrecy.