Smile And Don't Be Noisy: Italy's Weird Laws (2023)

Funny ways to be fined in Italy

“A fool is one who admires other cities without visiting Rome,” once said the medieval poet Francesco Petrarca. And to be honest, I totally agree.

As I said in another article, I haven’t traveled much, but I’ve had the chance to visit the Eternal City. The very first time was back in 2011, and I vividly remember the beauty of the city surrounding me. One night I was out with my friends, and we arrived at a crossroad in Trastevere, one of the mostpicturesque districts of the capital.

We sat there — yes, in the middle of the road, like fools — and admired an ancient building emerging from the darkness. There and then, I literally left my heart. Or at least I have left a piece of it.

The Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti, the majestic stairway that brings you from Piazza di Spagna to the Trinità dei Monti church, took another piece of it, as we relaxed on the steps and contemplated the splendor of the square.

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Today police would fine me for doing that: on August 7, a new ban on the Spanish Steps was fully enforced by local authorities, and made it illegal for people to sit, lay, eat and drink on the Scalinata. Transgressing the ordinance would cost youup to 400 euros.

Sure, the flight of stairs, which was restored three years ago by luxury brand Bulgari, is a 18th century monument that needs to be carefully preserved. However,Rome’s official tourist site (still) claims that the Spanish Steps are a resting place where visitors can hangout and enjoy the landscape — think even of Audrey Hepburn taking a seat on the staircase, and tasting an ice-cream while talking to Gregory Peck in the iconic 1953 movie Roman Holiday.

Alas, due to the new municipal rules in place, you can forget about that. Don’t say we haven’t warned you, no sitting!

Smile And Don't Be Noisy: Italy's Weird Laws (1)

Rome is not alone in its war against people giving their feet a rest in proximity of historical monuments: visitors are not allowed to lay on stairways in Venice, Florence, Mantua, and many other cities. So, let’s walk away from what used to be acceptable on memory lane, and let’s take a ride on the writ bus, shall we? Surely it’s going to be fun.

I live in Piedmont which capital city is Turin. Now, Turin is a beautiful city. It might be a little gloomy, but people here are nice and friendly.

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Residents love animals so much to the point that a local law imposes individuals to walk their dogs at least three times a day. Yet, buskers, creative fellow human beings of ours, are considered the city’s number one enemy. Apparently, they are deemed a public nuisance.

Music-related issues seem to be a thing in my region: in my hometown, Cuneo, an ordinance against music played everywhere after midnight was almost enforced, last summer. The power of the almighty movida god saved us all eventually, thankfully. What’s the movida, you may ask? Well, it’s the nightlife, the party scene, and it’s definitely something that many cities hate for some reason.

Go North, But don’t lay down

Let’s have a look at another northern Italian city, Milan. This Lombard metropolis takes the issue of public ordinances very seriously. So seriously that a bylaw that dates back to the Hapsburg Empire obliges everyone to smile every time they’re in public spaces — exceptions are made for funerals and situations unfolding in hospitals, obviously. Therefore, the next time you’ll find yourself strolling through the Piazza del Duomo, avoid at all costs a long face and lift up those cheeks.

One must also be groomed and polished to perfection, or you will be fined 40 euros. It makes sense, I guess. I mean, this is Europe’s fashion capital, hence you have to be fabulous all the time! That’s why you can’t lay on the floor for a fantastic Instagram pic. C’est pas chic and unhygienic too.

Moving eastwards, Veneto region must be named as a whole for its many cases of strange local laws: the most important one declares that every cemetery must be provided with “remote detection devices and reporting equipment for corpse surveillance in order to detect any display of life.”

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Also, do you and your children fancy having an ice cream to eat on the go while visiting Venice’s Piazza San Marco? Too bad, because policemen could fine your whole family for it, as eating in such a central, artistic square gets in the way of preserving the city’s cultural heritage.

Not too far away from the City of Water is thebeach town of Eraclea. When there, tell your kids not to build sandcastles on the shore and not to play any racquet or ball games.

And although you might have seen the prettiest shell waiting just to be picked up (after all, it would look amazing in your bathroom or as a centerpiece on your dining table), do not collect it. Because if you do all of these things, breaching local bylaws, you’ll be charged with a fine ranging between 25 and 250 euros.

Smile And Don't Be Noisy: Italy's Weird Laws (2)

Flip-Flops And Afterlife

Fashion (and the sense of properly dressing up in public) is a big thing in Italy, not only in Milan. Because of this, be aware that in most seaside cities you should cover yourself up when you are not on the shore.

This means that as long as you are on the beach, you can walk around in a bikini or show a bare chest above your trunks. But as soon as you leave the coast, you need to wear proper clothing — even if your vacation house is just across the street from your tanning spot. Failing to do so in Lerici, a town near La Spezia in Liguria, will land you ticket of at least 25 euros.

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Although showing off curves and six-packs in an urban setting is a problem, feet may usually roam in the biggest freedom. On our streets one can wear shoes, sandals or even go barefoot. Flip-flops and Crocs shoes can be spotted here and there as well, despite the everlasting social war against them.

However, the island of Capri, in the Bay of Naples, disagrees on this one. Noisy footwear is banned here. Thus if you’re planning to spend your September holidays on this rocky beauty, do yourself a favor and leave slippers and heels at home. Not only you risk being fined, but, as Culture Trip reports, you could even be arrested (!) for “excessively noisy flip-flops.”

Suddenly those silent Crocs clogs don’t look as bad anymore, huh?

Smile And Don't Be Noisy: Italy's Weird Laws (3)

I will end this devilish list with a decree about death. Although it might seem a bit dark, I promise you’re in for a treat here. Back in 2012, the Mayor of Falciano del Massico, Giulio Cesare Fava, declared that it was “forbidden for all the inhabitants […] to cross the border of earthly existence in order to go to the afterlife.”

The statement — which I stress is not a law, but, hey, I couldn’t miss the opportunity! — was made because the small town doesn’t have a graveyard. So, please, if you’re in Falciano, don’t die.

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So, if you feel like visiting Italy, pay attention to local rules and research the do’s and don’ts of your vacation destination. This way you’ll avoid unpleasant surprises and won’t have to break the bank. You can thank me later. Happy holidays!


Smile And Don't Be Noisy: Italy's Weird Laws? ›

You must smile at all times in Milan if you want to avoid a fine. Unless you're at a funeral or a hospital, this smiling law was created to rid glumness from the city. But don't worry too much, this law hasn't been enforced for a few years.

What are some unique laws in Italy? ›

Unusual Laws in Italy Even Italians Don't Know About
  • Crimes against fashion. A Roman centurion in a tunic.
  • Hands off, men! ...
  • No making sandcastles at the beach. ...
  • Goldfish bowls are banned. ...
  • No noisy footwear. ...
  • No kissing in cars. ...
  • Even dead people need health care. ...
  • Don't save a spot at the beach with a towel.

What are the noise laws in Italy? ›

Most of your neighbors are average Italian citizens with families and full-time jobs, in need of 7-8 hours of sleep every night. By law, silence is required between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. and again between 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Please respect this law by keeping noise to a minimum during these hours.

Is it illegal to not smile in Milan? ›

Milan, Italy

There's an old law that actually states that you're required to smile at all times whilst in public places and if you frown you could be fined! The only times you're exempt is during funerals or hospital visits.

Is it illegal to jaywalk in Italy? ›

Italy. Pedestrians are allowed to cross a street without any recognised crossing point only if there are no zebra crossings within a range of 100 m, but they should be careful anyway. If pedestrians cross a street at a crosswalk, drivers must yield.

What age can you drink in Italy? ›

If you are planning a family trip to il Bel Paese—especially if your teenage children or grandchildren are part of the brood—you may be wondering about the legal drinking age in Italy and local drinking customs. The legal drinking age in Italy is currently 18 years old.

What is the golden rule in Italy? ›

The Italian 'Golden Power' regulations provide the Italian Government with the power to impose specific conditions or exercise a veto in relation to transactions, investments or corporate resolutions that could threaten or prejudice essential Italian public interests.

What is the Italian law of silence? ›

Omertà (/oʊˈmɛərtə/, Italian pronunciation: [omerˈta]) is a Southern Italian code of silence and code of honor and conduct that places importance on silence in the face of questioning by authorities or outsiders; non-cooperation with authorities, the government, or outsiders, especially during criminal investigations; ...

What is the no noise rule in Germany? ›

When do you need to be quiet? The commonly agreed upon quiet hours in Germany (Ruhezeit time period) are from 10pm and 6 or 7am on weekdays and the entire day on Sundays, although there can be some exceptions in different cities or if your landlord imposes other rules as well.

Is noisy footwear banned in Italy? ›

According to, flip flops are banned on the island of Capri, in Italy, as it is illegal to wear “excessively noisy” footwear because locals value their “peace and quiet”. However, tourists can carry noisy shoes and wear them in the rest of Italy.

Is it OK to kiss in public in Italy? ›

Yes, kissing in public is generally allowed in Italy, although the degree of public display of affection may vary depending on the region and the specific cultural norms of the area.

Is sexting legal in Italy? ›

600-ter of the Italian penal code does not take into account all types of pornographic pictures of minors, but only the ones taken for child exploitation and that the spread and divulgation of such pictures is punishable only in the case that someone, who is not the minor, took the pictures.

Is it illegal to chew gum in Italy? ›

Unusual rules from around the world including no chewing gum in Singapore and a bikini ban in Sorrento, Italy.

Is it illegal to wear flip-flops in Italy? ›

Wearing flip-flops.

The hilly seaside destination of Cinque Terre has had it with flip-flop-clad tourists who need to be rescued from local hiking trails. A new law will impose fines for wearing flip-flops. The charges can go from €50 ($56) up to a whopping €2,500 ($2,827).

Is it illegal to break pasta in Italy? ›

That's why breaking pasta in Italy is definitely a no-go but rest assured that you won't go to jail for breaking pasta. You are just breaking a tradition and a rooted cultural habit in Italy, but you are free to eat the pasta the way it's more convenient for you.

Is speeding illegal in Italy? ›

Below are the speeding fines you will see in Italy: Up to 10 kmph – fine from €41. From 11-40 kmph – fine from €175. From 41-60 kmph – fine from €532 (can have licensed suspended up to 3 months)

Can you turn right on red in Italy? ›

A red light definitely means stop in Italy. (There's no equivalent of turning right on red.) A flashing amber light means you must slow down and proceed with caution.

What is the lowest drinking age in the world? ›

The youngest legal drinking age in the world is 15, with both Mali and the Central African Republic allowing folks to drink at that time. Seven countries do not have a government-mandated drinking age, while 11 countries ban the consumption of booze entirely.

What is the smoking age in Italy? ›

Sales Restrictions

The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 18.

Is wet hair rude in Italy? ›

Never go out with wet hair. If you want to see an Italian seriously lose their cool, just go out with wet hair. In Italy, if you go out without drying your hair, you'll risk getting a “colpo d'aria” – or, literally, a “blast of air”. This is said to cause anything from a sore neck to indigestion.

What are the 4 food rules in Italy? ›

The Italians surveyed saw no problem breaking four more so-called rules:
  • Eating pizza for lunch.
  • Having Bolognese sauce with spaghetti.
  • Eating pizza with a fork (rather than your hands), and.
  • Eating meatballs with spaghetti.
Feb 6, 2022

What are 3 norms in Italy? ›

It is common for Italian friends and families to kiss on the cheek when they meet, irrespective of their gender. Stand up out of respect when an older person enters the room. It is important to dress neatly and respectfully. Cover your mouth when yawning or sneezing.

What can you not bring into Italy? ›

Italy Prohibited and Restricted Items
  • All forms of asbestos fibers.
  • All products containing the biocide dimethylfumarate (DMF)
  • Animal skins.
  • Atlantic red tuna fish (Thunnus Thynnus) originating from Belize, Panama, and Honduras.
  • Biological Substance Cat B, UN3373.
  • Books: hardback/paperback non-comm.

What is Italian law 555? ›

555 of 1912. Enacted in 1912, Italy's first ever law on citizenship provided that children born in United States to an Italian father had Italian citizenship by bloodline if the father was still an Italian citizen at the time of the child's birth (see par. 7).

Is it illegal to make noise on Sunday in Germany? ›

The German word Ruhezeit means that making noise on Sundays is legally forbidden in Germany. If you are making noise and someone from your neighbors or surrounding makes a complaint, you will be caught up for fines and penalties for breaching the German rules.

What is the Sunday rule in Germany? ›

The German Working Hours Act therefore prohibits employers from allowing their employees to work on Sundays and general public holidays. Sunday is considered the time on Sunday from 12:00 am to 12:00 am the following day.

When can I drill in Germany? ›

Sundays and public holidays are quiet days. On other days, the quiet hours are from 22:00 to 6:00. You can't use certain machines between 20:00 and 7:00.

Is it illegal to wear shorts in Italy? ›

Also, apparently, some cathedrals will not let you enter wearing shorts. I am here to tell you, that this is incorrect. You can wear shorts in Italy and look perfectly normal. Here are a few examples of Italians we saw wearing shorts in Italy when it was in the mid-80s in September.

Are sneakers OK in Italy? ›

The best ones to pack are those that come with a rubber sole and cushioning for walking. If you prefer to keep your feet covered, closed-toe sandals light summer sneakers are also a good choice; however, make sure they are truly breathable as the temperatures in Italy can be scorching!

Can I wear my Birkenstocks in Italy? ›

And now that Birkenstock makes their shoes in so many fun colors and textures (e.g., patent leather, fake snakeskin-patterned), you can wear them with just about everything. I pack my Birkenstocks for nearly all Italy trips between April and October, especially if I'm spending most of the time in Southern Italy.

Are sandals OK in Italy? ›

Sandals or flats might not always be a good idea when you're exploring an Italian city. Italy is one of those countries where there are a lot of cobblestones. They make uneven surfaces. On the long run, they will hurt your feet.

Do Italians kiss left or right first? ›

It is common to give air kisses on both cheeks (starting with your left) when greeting those you know well. This is called the 'il bacetto'. However, in Southern Italy, men generally only kiss family members and prefer to give a pat on the back to show affection in a greeting.

How to kiss an Italian man? ›

The general rule of the cheek kisses is to give one or two light kisses, one on each side. Your lips shouldn't touch the other person's cheek unless you are extremely good friends; instead, aim to lightly touch your cheek to theirs.

Can a 14 year old date a 30 year old in Italy? ›

Italy. The age of consent in Italy is 14 years, with a close-in-age exception that allows those aged 13 to engage in sexual activity with partners who are under the age of 18, provided that the age gap between them is less than 4 years (i.e. if the partners are all under the age of 18, but at least 13).

Can a 17 year old date a 24 year old in Italy? ›

What is the Italy Age of Consent? The Age of Consent in Italy is 14 years old. The age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity.

Which country is top for sexting? ›

Overall, Sweden recorded the highest rate of sexting with 12.9% of 11 to 16-year-olds engaged in the practice - while the lowest was Bulgaria with 0.9%.

What is the law on spaghetti in Italy? ›

A 1967 Italian decree called the “purity law” requires that all dried pasta sold in Italy be made from durum wheat, a hard-grained, coarse strain. That varietal is considerably more difficult to use than traditional bread wheat, but it makes a pasta that holds its form during cooking without becoming soft or bland.

What not to do in Europe as an American? ›

12 Things Not To Do In Europe
  • Do Not Litter.
  • Do Not Beckon The Waiter By Waving.
  • Do Not Use The Bicycle Lanes For Walking.
  • Do Not Skip The First Verse Of German National Anthem.
  • Do not Assume That Everyone Knows English.
  • Avoid Making Much Noise.
  • Do Not Leave A Bigger Tip Than Required.
  • Avoid Jaywalking.
Mar 23, 2023

What is considered rude in Europe? ›

Manners and behaviour

Habits such as chewing gum and cleaning fingernails are not acceptable in public. It is rude to have your hands in your pockets when talking with someone in Germany. In France, picking your teeth and clipping your nails should be done in private rather than out in the open.

Is it OK to wear jeans in Italy? ›

Are jeans appropriate to wear in Italy? While Europeans tend to dress up more than Americans, you still can wear jeans in Italy. However, avoid acid wash and extremely distressed denim and opt for medium-dark blues and blacks. Black skinny jeans always look chic in Europe!

Can you wear Crocs in Italy? ›

Prohibited footwear: Crocs, any kind of 'walking' shoe, Toms, flip-flops.

Can you wear short dresses in Italy? ›

When traveling in Italy, don't ever wear short skirts. Even if you see Italian models wearing them, it is not considered the norm.

Is it illegal in Italy to put pineapple on pizza? ›

Although there is no official pineapple on pizza law in Italy, the fascinating debate over whether or not to include this topping on a traditional Italian pizza continues to intrigue foodies worldwide.

Is it illegal to take your shirt off in Italy? ›

Italian resorts and islands

24. Walk around shirtless or in your swimwear in any metropolitan area. This state of dress is strictly restricted to the beach or lido. This is especially true in Sorrento, where you could be fined up to €500 for breaching the dress code.

Can you refuse bread in Italy? ›

If you don't eat bread you can try to avoid the charge, but it may be awkward as bread is an essential part of Italian meals. Refusing the charge might be seen as impolite when it comes to Italian manners.

Is drunk driving legal in Italy? ›

Italy has a strict drink-drive limit of 0.5mg of blood alcohol. This means that you cannot drink more than one glass of wine without risking going over the limit. Penalties for being caught above this limit can be fines, vehicle confiscation, license bans and imprisonment.

Is there zero tolerance in Italy? ›

Blood Alcohol Level

Italy has zero tolerance for new drivers. For other drivers, the maximum blood alcohol level permitted is 0.5 g/l (50 mg/ml).

What does flashing headlights mean in Italy? ›

No, not that, but flashing headlights in Italy means the exact opposite of a friendly 'after you Claude' UK-type flash. It means 'get out of the way' and quickly. In fairness, the UK Highway Code still states that headlight flashing should be used as a warning so in this respect the Italians are technically correct.

What is the most important law in Italy? ›

The Constitution forms the fundamental law of the Italian legal system. It provides the legal basis for the administration of public authorities. The Constituent Assembly, specifically appointed for the task, enacted the Constitution in 1947.

How are laws in Italy different from us? ›

The Italian legal system is not quite different from the United States' legal system. Though the Italian system of laws uses civil law while the United States uses common law (Mondials, N.d.). This may be due to the fact that both legal systems are not solely adversarial or inquisitorial in nature.

What is the most unique thing in Italy? ›

We've dug up 15 fun facts about Italy to get you started.
  • Italy has a free wine fountain. ...
  • Italy is the fifth most visited country in the world. ...
  • All three of Europe's active volcanoes are in Italy. ...
  • Italians invented pizza in Naples. ...
  • Italy has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world.
Jan 18, 2020

What are 3 unique traditions in Italy? ›

Notable traditional patronal festivals in Italy are the Feast of Saints Francis and Catherine, the Festival of Saint Agatha, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the Feast of San Gennaro and the Feast of Our Lady of the Hens.

Does Italy have the death penalty? ›

The execution is not public, unless the Ministry of Justice determines otherwise. The last execution in Italy took place, on March 4, 1947. The Italian Constitution, into force since January 1948, completely abolished the death penalty for all common military and civil crimes during peacetime.

Are there drinking laws in Italy? ›

The alcohol age limit in Italy is 18 years old. That means, it is illegal to sell alcohol to minors in either shops, restaurants or bars. That's a little bit more generous than the legal age limit in the USA. In general, ID should be requested in any establishment selling alcohol if there is any doubt over your age.

What is the Italian law code? ›

The Italian civil code is based on codified Roman law with elements of the Napoleonic civil code and later statutes. The civil code of 1942 replaced the original one of 1865. The penal code ("The Rocco Code") was also written under fascism (1930).

What are the rules for Americans living in Italy? ›

Americans who intend to stay in Italy for less than 90 days don't need to worry about visas. However, if you plan to go for an extended period, you'll have to apply for a long-stay visa. This is a crucial step because you can't apply for an Italian residence permit without this long-stay visa.

Is Italy friendly towards the US? ›

In 1941, Italy — with the other World War II Axis powers Germany and Japan — declared war on the United States. U.S. relations with Italy were reestablished in 1944. Today, the United States and Italy enjoy warm and friendly relations.

Can you own an AR 15 in Italy? ›

Anyone over 18 can own a gun in Italy, as long as they meet certain criteria. They have to apply for a firearms license, take a firearms safety course at a gun range, and have no criminal record.

What are 3 fun facts about Italian? ›

Italy has over 3,000 museums. The national sport of Italy is soccer (known as football outside of America). Italy's national dish is pasta. The Italian language evolved from the Latin of the Roman Empire.

What is Italy really known for? ›

Italy is famous for the Renaissance and the incredible artists it produced. Italy is famous for its tourism, its art cities and unique scenery. Italy is also known for its language, its opera, its fashion and its luxury brands. It is also known for its football team!

What do Italians eat for breakfast? ›

Italians eat predominantly sweet things for breakfast. This can be quite a shock if you are used to having toast, eggs, and bacon first thing in the morning. Instead, the traditional breakfast in Italy relies almost exclusively on baked goods like biscuits, cookies, pastries, rusks, and cakes.

What are the gender roles in Italy? ›

While men and women have equal rights in law, society is still largely male-dominated. Within the family dynamic, the man is usually the patriarch and considered the primary income earner. Traditionally, a woman was expected to fulfil roles of matrimony and motherhood.

How do Italians greet each other? ›

The common verbal greeting is “Ciao” (Hello). This is quite casual. People may also say “Buongiorno” (Good day) or “Buonasera” (Good evening) to be more formal. Address a person by their title and last name, and continue to do so until invited to move to a first-name basis.

What are Italian families known for? ›

Italian family life can be characterized by loyalty and closeness. From the immediate, nuclear family to more extended relatives, Italians tend to remain as a close unit through several generations.


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