In most cases, the Italian courts respect the choice of governing law which is made by the parties, through a contract. Notwithstanding, in certain matters, Italian law prevails, also in case of a different choice made by the parties (e.g. in Labour or Social Security matters).
When it comes to jurisdiction the parties are generally free to choose their exclusive jurisdiction by a jurisdiction clause which must be in writing. However, for jurisdiction also, there are circumstances in which the Italian courts have exclusive jurisdiction, regardless of the parties’ choice (e.g. real estate, when Italian Law applies to all properties located in Italy).
The service of foreign proceedings differs depending if they are to be served within EU member states (in this case this is ruled by Regulation (EC) 1393/2007), or outside the EU (in this case this is ruled by HCCH Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters 1965). In both cases the service of a document from one country to another shall be carried out through the central authority of each country. When you need to serve a document in Italy, from abroad, the party shall send to the Italian central authority designated a copy of the document with the relevant Italian translation and a form, as set forth by above mentioned Regulation or Convention. Upon receipt of this document, Italian central authority will then ask the competent bailiff to serve the recipient in accordance with Italian rules of civil procedure. In alternative, the party can serve the document through the consular agents or through the postal services.
There is a difference between Simple Service which is an act by which the court informs the parties who are involved in a case and the Formal Notification, whereby a bailiff, acting upon application by a party, the prosecution service of the court informs the addresses with a certified copy of the formal document (e.g. in case of appeals).