Some Things Are Different in Italy

DSCN3045 (640x480)Things are definitely different in Italy, and I’m not talking only about the driving!  Some of these are good, and some not so good, but a lot of them are funny, and maybe even a little bit weird. Here is a short list of some traditions and laws in Italy.

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.

Florence's Campanile - Giotto's Bell Tower

Florence’s Campanile – Giotto’s Bell Tower

The Supreme Court of Cassation ruled that it is legal for anyone living in Italy to grow marijuana from balconies or terraces.


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.

Feeding pigeons in St Mark's Square - Venice

Feeding pigeons in St Mark’s Square

One of the most unusual 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.


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



About Margie Miklas

An award-winning author, Margie Miklas writes medical thrillers and travel memoirs about Italy, a place which has captured her passion for travel. She is also the creator and owner of the travel blog, Margie in Italy, and a contributing writer for an Italian-American newspaper. A retired critical-care nurse, she enjoys spending time with her family, including her three cats. Her favorite place is the beach, and she likes learning new computer skills, when she is not writing. A member of the Florida Writers Association, Margie makes her home in Florida.
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18 Responses to Some Things Are Different in Italy

  1. jencvt2002 says:

    What a great post! I especially love the law about dogs! haha

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous says:

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


  3. This post made me laugh. I don’t think even Italians know about these funny rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I thought this was an April Fool’s Day post come early. Glad I don’t live in Milan!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. stephanie710 says:

    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. ☺👍

    Liked by 1 person

  6. imarancher says:

    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!


  7. 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?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a fabulous post Margie, I love all these bonkers laws!! BTW did you know its illegal to skateboard in Venice, or roller skate or cycle!! :o)

    Liked by 2 people

  10. What a hoot, Margie! Although we have many “blue laws” in Pennsylvania that are just as strange 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tony says:

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

    Liked by 3 people

  12. When you line up the differences, it’s quite amazing. Some I didn’t know….loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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