What CAN You Do In Italy? These Completely Random Actions Are Illegal There

There’s a common Italian proverb: Fatta la legge, trovata la malizia. In English, it means, “Every law has a loophole.” You’re going to need these loopholes if you want to vacation Italy. The country’s most popular tourist destinations have gotten into the habit of banning almost everything.

Tourists who kiss in their car or eat snacks at the wrong time might have to pay fines over $500. Do you think that’s too strict? How about the small Italian town where it is illegal to die? Here are the most surprising actions that are outlawed in Italy. Travelers, beware.

Building Sandcastles Is A Crime

Sandcastles on the Similan Islands, Thailand
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Getty Images

If you’re taking your kids to Venice, don’t visit a beach called Eraclea. Officials have outlawed sandcastles there. They argue that digging through the sand obstructs walking on the beach and is therefore dangerous. Sandcastle builders will face a fine, although it’s unclear how expensive that fine is.

Other outlawed beach activities include squeaky sandals and ball games on the beach. You could also face fines for collecting shells and sand. This law is one of 150 “public security” laws aimed to maintain “public decorum”.

Kissing In A Car Will Cost You $550

Couple kissing in an old truck

Newlyweds may want to schedule their honeymoons outside of Naples area. In Eboli, a town just to the south of Naples, kissing in a moving car is strictly forbidden. Passionate Italians or tourists who kiss in a car face a €412 ($455) fine, with at least a dozen couples already punished.

Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time Naples towns have outlawed kissing. In 1562, kissing there was punishable by death. During this time, the second plague was spreading through Europe, and officials did all they could to prevent contamination. Fortunately, Eboli’s anti-kissing laws aren’t quite as extreme.

Heads Up, It’s The Italian Fashion Police

Italian actress Alessandra Mastronardi poses during a photocall on a Lido beach

Towns throughout Italy have enacted strict rules against wearing too little, including bathing suits. In the south of Naples, Castellammare di Stabia outlawed mini-skirts, low-cut jeans, and shirts showing too much cleavage. Anyone who wears something too revealing faces a €300 ($331) fine.

Along the Italian riviera, Lerici has imposed laws against wearing a swimsuit. Beach-goers must cover-up on their way to and from the seashore. Also, tourists can’t hang their towels along clotheslines to dry. Venice has also outlawed wearing a swimsuit while sightseeing, or anywhere other than the beach.

Feeding Pigeons? How Dare You

A young boy feeds the pigeons in Saint Marks Square, Venice
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Feeding pigeons have long been a tourist favorite in Italy. Unfortunately, some cities have outlawed it. Venice officials hand a €700 ($773) fine to anyone who is caught feeding pigeons in St. Mark’s Square. Bergamo, a city northeast of Milan, enforces the same rule with a €333 ($368) fine. In Tuscany, the town of Lucca extends this same law.

Along the Adriatic Coast, the town of Cesana expands upon the pigeon law. City officials outlaw feeding pigeons and feeding stray cats. Why do they ban feeding animals? Officials blame feces and overcrowding for ruining Italy’s monuments.

It’s Illegal To Die In Falciano del Massico

The confreres carry a coffin during a funeral in Rome, Italy
Stefano Montesi – Corbis/Getty Images
Stefano Montesi – Corbis/Getty Images

Since 2012, it has been illegal to die in the Campania town of Falciano del Massico. Although it sounds like a joke, it’s not. The town, which harbors 3,700 people, can’t fit more bodies in its cemetery. Locals have to travel several kilometers to attend funerals in either Mondragone or Capo Tignano.

The mayor asked that residents make an effort to “not die” until they finish constructing a new cemetery. Since the law was implemented, two elderly citizens “defied” it. Mayor Giulio Cesare Fava said, “It is forbidden, with immediate effect, to all citizens…and to whoever passes by its territory, to cross the border of earthly life and to enter the afterlife.”

Frowning Is Against The Law In Milan

Woman smiles and poses for the camera in Milan, Italy

This one is just odd. In Milan, it’s illegal to frown unless you’re at a funeral or hospital visit. Otherwise, you should be smiling. Although travel websites often report this law, it isn’t commonly enforced. In reality, it’s a leftover rule that’s hardly in effect.

The anti-frown law dates back to the 19th century. When Milan was under the Austrian-Hungary empire, Austrian rulers administered the law. Today, Milan officials have yet to annul the rule. If you do frown, your chances of facing a fine are slim.

Wearing Clogs Is Strictly Forbidden

A Netherlands fan is seen wearing clogs prior to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup
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Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Capri is a breathtaking island in the Bay of Naples. If you’re planning to vacation there, you should know their uncanny clothing laws. Clogs have been outlawed on Capri since 1960. Why? The noise. Capri issues a ban on all squeaky sandals, so leave your rubber flip-flops at home.

If you’re planning on heading to the beach like all Capri visitors, leave your towel at home as well. Saving a spot on the beach with your towel is strictly forbidden. Venice has imposed an even more strict law against lying down on public beaches.

You Can Only Snack At Certain Times

Woman holds up an Italian gelato in Florence, Italy

Tourist-heavy cities such as Florence, Rome, and Venice have enacted fines for snacking during certain hours of the day. In Florence, visitors cannot snack on one of their historic centers–Piazzale degli Uffizi, Via de’ Neri, and Piazza del Grano–unless they want a €500 ($552) fine.

The restrictions only apply during peak lunch and dinner times, between 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm. City officials enacted this law to keep the streets litter-free and clear up crowding around eateries. The streets in Italy are narrow enough as is.

You Can’t Sit Down In Rome

A local police officer patrols the Spanish steps off Trinita' dei Monti church in Rome telling people not to sit down
Baris Seckin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Along the Spanish Steps in Rome, police patrol the area and blow their whistles at anyone who dares rest their feet. Initially built in the 1700s, the Spanish Steps recently received a restoration fee of $1.7 million. City officials administered new laws to keep the monument clean and preserved. Hence, police will fine anyone €250 ($265) for sitting on the steps and up to €400 ($442) if they dirty the steps.

The steps are quite popular for tourists since they lead to the Santissima Trinità dei Monti Church and provide a brilliant view of the sunset. As you can imagine, many Italians believe that this rule is extreme.

Pausing On A Bridge Makes You A Criminal

Male tourist enjoys the view from a bridge in Venice

Sorry, Venice visitors, but there are more laws that you should be aware of. The floating city has fought overcrowding for years, and in May 2019, officials outlawed standing still on a bridge. If you pause too long to take photos, you could be fined.

Specifically, it is “forbidden to stand without motivation” nearly anywhere in Venice. This includes leaning against a storefront or disrupting the flow of foot traffic. Like the Spanish Steps in Rome, you’ll need to think twice before resting your feet. And, no, the city hasn’t specified how long is too long.

You Can Receive A €7,000 Fine For Buying From Street Vendors

A street vendor fans himself by the Trevi Fountain in the historical center of Rome

This tip is imperative for tourists who plan to visit Italy: Don’t buy from unlicensed street vendors. Tourists who do so may be fined up to €7,000 ($7,732). Florence, Venice, Rome, and Milan all enforce this rule, which includes buying from food trucks. Even beach stands are illegal to buy from.

For souvenirs, visit a shop with a storefront. These are guaranteed to be properly licensed and legal to purchase from. Beware of salespeople who wander Italian beaches; police may issue a fine up to €10,000 ($11,045) for paying for a massage.

Love Locks Are A Trend Of The Past

A lock from 1963 seen amidst locks on Hohenzollern Bridge, Germany
Osama Faisal/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Osama Faisal/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Instagrammers have to find a different spot to fixate their love locks. In case you don’t know, love locks are padlocks that couples chain to a bridge or monument to signify their bond. They’re typically decorated and contain the sweetheart’s initials and date. Love lock locations are popular throughout Europe, now excluding Italy.

Although the trend has been popular in Rome, the romantic city has outlawed love locks. In 2011, Venice issued the same ban. Couples would often attach their padlocks to iron brackets and bars that keep the 16th-century structures together. Although it’s a bummer, love lacks pose a safety hazard.

Don’t Wear Flip-Flops To Cinque Terre

Tourist hangs their feet off of a cliffside

Tourists who plan to visit the Cinque Terre coastline shouldn’t bring flip-flops, pumps, or sandals. The mountain rescuers there have had it with ill-equipped tourists calling for help. Although Cinque Terre includes narrow, steep footpaths, many visitors don’t heed this environment.

To encourage visitors to wear sneakers, the national park authority is issuing fines between €50 ($55) and €2,500 ($2762), depending on how much of an inconvenience that tourist causes the rescue team. If you’re one of the 2.5 million Cinque Terre tourists, remember that the villages aren’t like a beach, but more like a mountain range.

Be Careful If You’re Planning To Bar Hop

Tourists enjoy wine while sitting along a canal in Venice, Italy

Rome and Venice both have active night lives. But if you’re planning to drink or bar hop, you need to be careful. In Rome, drinking on the street from glass containers is illegal after 10:00 pm. Selling alcohol is outlawed after 2:00 am. Anyone who violates these laws faces a fine of €150 ($165).

Of the two cities, Venice is more strict than Rome. The seaside city bans public alcohol consumption after 7:00 pm. This includes any bottle that’s concealed in shopping bags. According to officials, the law targets unruly, drunken tourists. Venice has had one too many encounters with inconsiderate visitors.

Don’t Swim In Venice’s Canals

Tour guides row people around Venice's canals

In August 2017, three tourists faced €450 ($497) fines for swimming Venice’s canals. Swimming is outlawed to preserve the environment and tourists’ safety since most people travel the canals in boats. And yes, the ban includes dipping your feet in the canals.

Venice also plans to ban behemoth cruise ships from entering the city center, although this has not been finalized yet. City officials have struggled with tourists jumping off of bridges into the canal.

Stay Out Of Rome’s Fountains

Officials warn people, who sit near of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy
Baris Seckin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Baris Seckin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

City officials in Rome are fiercely protective of their fountains. In June of 2019, eight tourists were fined for cooling off in city’s historic center fountains. They each received a fine of €450 ($497). Earlier in the year, seven tourists were given the same fine for jumping into the fountains of Altare della Patria in Piazza Venezia.

On top of that, tourists aren’t allowed to walk around bare-chested or drink from the historic water fountains. These laws are enforced to stamp out uncouth behavior by the millions of tourists who swarm Rome every year.

Drink From A Fountain Correctly, Or You’ll Be Fined

Italian boy (wearing an Association of Catholic Guides and Scoutsof Italy uniform, AGESCI) drinking water, Venice, Italy.
Independent Picture Service/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Independent Picture Service/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Although many tourists know not to jump into fountains, they still need to learn the correct way to drink out of a fountain. In Rome, public fountains, called nasoni, lend visitors water in 2,800 locations. If you drink from them incorrectly, you’ll be fined.

To drink correctly (what an odd phrase), never touch your lips to the spout. Instead, cup your hand beneath the pouring water to create an arc that’s easier to drink. Although the law is cracking down, officials haven’t clarified how they plan to enforce this rule.

Never Wheel Your Suitcase Around In Public

A guest with a suitcase and pink button shirt during Pitti Uomo 90
Christian Vierig/Getty Images
Getty Images

In 2015, Venice officials officially banned tourists from wheeling their luggage around. Why? The noise. Locals are tired of hearing hard rubber wheels rumble past their bedroom every night. If you are caught wheeling a suitcase around, you’ll receive a fine of up to €500 ($620).

Officials are also concerned about luggage damaging the historic marble steps and stone pathways. If you’re visiting Venice, take a cab or carry your bags. The taxi fee will pale in comparison to a $600 fine.

Leave Your Bike Out Of Venice

Someone leaves their bike leaning against the Corte della Comare in Venice, Italy

Venice is one of the most crowded cities in the world. Because of this, bicycling, skateboarding, and roller-skating are all banned from the city center. Even walking your bike will grant you a fine. Since the streets are narrow, bike riders face the risk of running into pedestrians.

Even so, Venice is a family-friendly city. Children are allowed to ride around squares on their Barbie and Superman bikes. But adults are expected to park their bikes around Lido or the Piazzale Roma. Fortunately, the city provides free parking in most spaces.

Venice Isn’t The Place To Picnic

Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images
Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images

In 2019, two German tourists were charged for preparing coffee on a travel cooker. They received a total of €950 ($1,050) in fines and were asked to leave the city. For years, Venice has implemented a strict ban on picnicking. Even in less crowded spaces, visitors can be fined up to €50 for picnicking.

In particular, the law rules against those who “sit or linger on the streets to eat picnic lunches.” Like many other cities, Venice bans litter, which increases through picnics. Littering alone can produce fines between €25 ($28) and €500 ($552).