Bats are source of coronaviruses closely related to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus. Numerous studies have been carried out to identify new bat viruses related to SARS-coronavirus (bat-SARS-like CoVs) using a reverse-transcribed-polymerase chain reaction assay. However, a qualitative PCR could underestimate the prevalence of infection, affecting the epidemiological evaluation of bats in viral ecology. In this work an SYBR Green-real time PCR assay was developed for diagnosing infection with SARS-related coronaviruses from bat guano and was applied as screening tool in a survey carried out on 45 greater horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) sampled in Italy in 2009. The assay showed high sensitivity and reproducibility. Its application on bats screening resulted in a prevalence of 42%. This method could be suitable as screening tool in epidemiological surveys about the presence of bat-SARS-like CoVs, consequently to obtain a more realistic scenario of the viral prevalence in the population.