Your road to the renovation of an old stone farmhouse should start even before you buy it.
Do your research. Depending on where the property is situated, there may be stringent rules and/or building regulations imposed by the local authorities, which must be adhered to. It is advisable therefore to seek the services of a local surveyor (geometra) prior to entering a legally binding agreement with the seller of the property.
The surveyor will investigate and make searches on your behalf with the local authorities to ascertain if the renovation plans that you are contemplating comply with the restrictions and/or regulations (if any) imposed by the local authorities.
Also, maybe your particular local authority provides incentives to those whom wish to renovate old be in the form of tax/duties relief or allowances.
Once the purchase of the property is complete, and provided that you do not wish to renovate the property yourself (which might indeed prove a very interesting experience!), you will need to instruct a contractor to carry out the renovation work for you.
A project manager may also be a good idea if you are new to this – and live in a different country! To select the right contractor, explain your vision of the completed renovation in detail, and also perhaps visit other properties the contractor previously renovated as an indication of their work.
If you do decide to renovate the property yourself, you will still be required to appoint a professional, usually an architect or a surveyor, called a direttore dei lavori. Their role would be to overlook the entire renovation process from a technical point of view, like a project manager. An alternative should you decide to instruct contractors, would usually mean the direttore dei lavori is be provided by them and his/her fee will be included in the contractor's final fees. Do note that certain aspects of the renovation, such as for example the electrics, must be carried out by a certified company.
A typical contract that you would sign with the contractor is entitled a contratto d'appalto, which in brief highlights the work the contractor will undertake, in terms of the renovation; in return for a sum of money. This consideration is usually paid in instalments linked to the progress of the works.
Please bear in mind, this is only general guidance so you should always seek specialist legal advice