Weird Italy Laws

Things Different-Italy

Italy has some  weird laws, and I’m not talking only about the driving!  Some of these weird Italy laws are good, some not so good. A lot of them are funny, and maybe even a little bit over the top. Here is a short list of  things that are different in Italy. Some are traditions and some are actual laws.

In Milan a law states that locals must constantly smile or risk being fines. Those attending as funeral or visiting a hospital are exempt.


It’s against the law in Florence  to eat or drink in the immediate vicinity of the main churches and public buildings.


Although I originally posted that the Supreme Court of Cassation ruled that it is legal for anyone living in Italy to grow marijuana from balconies or terraces, the current law is that recreational marijuana is illegal, according to Il Goccetto.


A few years ago the Italian Supreme Court ruled that having sex in a car that is parked in a public place is a felony, carrying a possible prison sentence of anywhere from three months to one year.

In the coastal town of Eraclea, building a sandcastle on the beach is prohibited  since  it might “obstruct the passage” of anyone strolling o the beach.


Turin has a law that requires dog owners to walk their pooches at least three times a day to avoid a fine of €500. It is also against the law to “turn one’s dog into a ridiculous fluffy toy.”

When a vendor or shop owner gives a customer change, it is never handed to you directly, but instead always laid on the counter or in a receptacle on the counter.


It is against the law to feed the pigeons in St Mark’s Square in Venice, but every time I go there, people are doing it. Many of these odd laws are not easy to enforce.


One of the most unusual and weird Italy laws that I’ve heard of is testing of dog poop samples in Naples and Capri. According to the New York Times, the samples are then matched to a DNA database and the owners who don’t clean up after their dogs are fined 500 euros. I wonder how that’s working out.


When you visit Milan, you’ll have to leave your selfie stick at home. The capital city of Italy has  outlawed these in popular tourist areas.

Venice has recently banned kebab shops and other fast-food establishments not  compatible with preserving  Venice’s cultural heritage.

Venice Photo by Margie Miklas

Have you heard of these facts about Italy? Do you know of any other unusual laws or traditions that set Italy apart from other places?

I’m interested to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment.

Grazie and Ciao

If you haven’t visited my Instagram page lately, please check it out for more images of Italy.




33 Responses

  1. stellalucentellc

    I really enjoyed reading this post – it’s like bits of Italian history I never knew! Funny how lawmakers have the time to consider some of these problems and then how enforcement is another matter. I’d be really interested to know if the Italians really do have a law banning the cover charges at restaurants – the “pane e coperto” and additional service charge. I’d read there was a law passed in Rome, but that it was not enforced. And then I read it is only OK if stated in the menu (even in small print at the bottom!). BTW, I’d love to reblog your article in April under the title these are NOT April Fools jokes from Italy!

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks so much, Kathy. And I’d be honored for you to reblog this..Great idea. I don’t know about that coperto ban either. I do think many of these laws are not enforced, particularly the one about feeding pigeons in Venezia.

  2. Debra Kolkka

    Putting change on the counter drives me nuts. It is usually awkward to pick up and leaves you scratching for your coins. Perhaps it is to encourage you to leave them there.

    • margieinitaly

      I know Debra…I find it odd too…I like your idea though. Could be the reason.

  3. Francis

    Within the walls of Lucca there is a ban on opening further ‘foreign food’ eateries so as to preserve the Local products and food traditions.

  4. karenincalabria

    Ha, ha! I guess all countries have their weird laws that someone thought a good idea to pass at the time. I must say that the illegal to feed pigeons is a good law. St. Mark’s Square can be frightening with all those birds swooping around. I think they could enforce that law pretty easily with a handful of “vigili” giving out 50 Euro fines on the spot. They’d get the idea not to feed them and the city would earn some money.
    Now the bit about the dogs is also an interesting one. Negotiating sidewalks in Italian cities can be like a minefield with all those who haven’t picked up after their dogs. I didn’t know there was a dog DNA database, though. It sounds like that might be a “bufala.”
    I also understand banning food within a certain distance of a church to cut down on unwanted trash and birds/animals. In Arizona, I remember taking a picture of a sign banning smoking in a parking lot in a state park. I thought that was weird…
    Leaving the change in a dish or on a counter is one that I’ve always wondered about. Is it a law? To us, of course, it seems odd and I doubt that it stops germs from passing although the contact then is only with the money, itself.
    As for the marijuana, I had an older friend who found the plant in a park, took a piece and planted it in her private courtyard that can be seen through a wrought-iron gate from the street. A policeman told her she had to remove it. He sort of laughed about it as she was an older woman and didn’t know what it was. I can’t remember if someone had told him about it or he just happened upon it.
    Interesting, I’m sure there are many, many more.

  5. Devon Melton

    it is illagle to tuch your crotch in Italy but not to pinch a women’s butt

  6. Mr.Loto

    Great article about italian laws but there is an error. I live in Italy and I can assure you it’s not legal to grow marijuana from balconies or terraces. If you do, you are arrested. Even if The Supreme Court of Cassation ruled that you can’t do it. This is because the government has never issued a law for this. These are the oddities of Italian law.


    • margieinitaly

      Ciao and Grazie, Mr Loto. I stand corrected. Thank You for the update. I’m always glad to hear about the latest news on these laws

  7. Frances Ferrara

    I was in Florence in 2014 and there was a pizza restaurant right by the Duomo.

  8. Tony

    Great post! I always enjoy reading about strange laws, guess it happens everywhere. I like the one about turning dogs into “fluffy toys” though! 🙂

  9. Nancy Petralia

    While we were living in Bologna, there was a law proposed to limit the number of pizza/kebab fast food restaurants. One could have a pizza shop or a kebab shop, but they didn’t want the cultures commingled. There were already several of the duo type, and we figured they just didn’t want more. Don’t know if they succeeded it getting it passed.

  10. Andrew Petcher

    My last time in Venice I was surprised how few people were feeding the pigeons. I always thought they put the change in a saucer in the hope it might be left as a tip?

  11. imarancher

    Back in around the late 60’s or early 70’s Miami, Fl. held a some sort of legal clean up and while we did not vote on it we did have the opportunity to complain. One of the laws they cleaned off the books was this one: motorists entering business sections of town must stop well before the intersection, turn off the motor, remove the street lamps (head lights) and PUSH the car across the street to avoid frightening the horses and carriages. That was my favorite.

    Not to be outdone, Coral Gables, a small suburb of the well fixed also got in the game and a year or two later had their own chance to clean up the books. The rich are different than the rest of us and the laws they removed will give you an idea of how different. My favorite was that it was illegal to snore after 10 pm (before A/C in the era of open windows). Other laws required you to play at a reasonable speed on their golf course and ladies should get out of the way of serious players and that sort of thing.

    I am sure that Italy has just as many laws left over from a different day and age. It makes us all more aware that each age has its own anxieties!

  12. stephanie710

    This was an interesting read, Margie. I love when you share the fun facts that only a seasoned traveler or local would know. I’d be very interested in finding out how that dog poop experiment is going-I do think it’s gross when folks refuse to pick up. Thanks glue another great read, and as always, gorgeous photos. ☺👍

  13. Anonymous

    If one is accused of a crime and wins the case then one still has to pay ones solicitor and not

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