Okay, Italy has 20% VAT and if your boat is NON EU and you are leaving EU water
to your next port (a non EU port) than you can file to get your VAT back (this can take a bit of tiime). Gib's status is currently under review as is the status of the ABC's and the other East Antilles due to the issuance of EU passports to citizens of those countries by the central governing body. This is due to Brussels and also many EU governments getting tired of tax evasion by these small loop holes in the EU charter
For a non EU boat, there is a move to start coming down harder on those who go over the 9 month limit (minus any time properly spent under bond on the hard) as there has been a view that too many owners of boats are using non EU reg' to avoid EU VAT. The good news is that there is going to be a sliding scale for used boats (greater than 5 years old) and that they may completely waive VAT for those built before December 31, 1985. These are currently in discussion and we will see how this all plays out.
On the VAT issue the best practice is to keep your documents of purchase
and claim back upon leaving EU waters, if you are leaving within the required time period.