According to a Reuters article published on Monday, Italian governing bodies have been taking some liberties this summer by instituting some strange laws in their towns. Italian newspapers have coined this the "summer of bans."
For example, sandcastles are banned in Ercela, close to Venice.
Sandcastles? What the…
And you cannot mow your lawn on the weekend in Forte dei Marmi.
Alright, maybe it's hard to hear that soccer game with the roar of the mower's engine.
PDA in a car could cost you 500 euros in Eboli.
In a country where love and romance are celebrated, you would think it was encouraged, no? Hmm, 500 euros, depending on the affectioneur/affectionee, could be worth it!
And in lovely little Lucca, feeding the pigeons is not permitted.
If you have ever been to Saint Mark's Square in Venice, you would totally be on board with that one!
My curiosity was piqued by the article and I wondered what else I might find in terms of Italian bans.
So I googled it.
Up popped an interesting story about a couple in Rome that was banned from naming their own son, Vendredi, which means Friday in Italian. It seems they chose the name based on a character from Robinson Crusoe, but the Italian courts deemed that the name "would prevent him from having serene interpersonal relationships".
Ha. Love that one.
Also in Rome, last month the Mayor banned groups of three or more signing, dancing, drinking or eating in the street. You may face a fine of up to 500 euros.
This sounds like what I would do on a good vacation, celebrating in Italy. So am I not allowed to have fun in Rome now?
And how could we forget that at the end of 2006, Italy was one of the first countries to ban women deemed too skinny from fashion show runways.
This is my personal favorite, celebrating normal and chubby girls, worldwide!! We like fashion too, ya know.
One of the most well known Italian bans went into effect in January 2005. The dreaded smoking ban.
As the law states, there should be no smoking in all enclosed public places, which includes offices, shops, bars, cafes and restaurants, unless a sealed off room can be provided for the non-fumatori. Fines range form 275 euros for the smoker, up to 2,000 euros for the business owner. Fines can be higher if the smoking happens in front of children or pregnant women.
Since there are so many stipulations and definitions, many loop-holes are created and different interpretations are prevalent.
Needless to say, the smoking ban is obeyed in Italy about as much as traffic lights, speed limits and the implied fidelity in marriage vows.
That is to say, "just a suggestion."
And the further South you go, the less it is enforced.
In spite of that, as a result of the smoking ban, heart disease and heart attacks in Italians are reportedly dropping every year.
A welcome side effect, wouldn't you agree?
So, what are your thoughts on these crazy Italian laws? Do you think this is a case of local governments trying to take too much control? Are they trying to do the right thing or just collect a windfall in fines? Which laws do you agree or disagree with and why?