Can you drink alcohol in Public in Italy?

In past times, it has been noted that people have been banned from taking alcohol in public. At some point, it was mainly the ban of drinking in glass containers in public from the hours of 10 pm till daybreak the following day, at some other time it was the ban of drinking generally. Anyone that was found drinking alcoholic contents at those times was mainly fined to a fee that was equivalent to the sum of $200.

Is it legal to drink alcohol in Italy? According to the Criminal Code of Italy, Article 688 provides that anyone who is caught drunk in a public place or some other obvious public place, in a drunk state is punishable with fine and this fine could be either within the range of 51 Euros to 309 309. In this case, it also includes minors. Hence while it is not an offense to drink alcohol in some public places, it is definitely a crime in Italy to be found drunk in public.

 pouring wine

The reason why there exists some kind of restriction on drinking in public is because of the fact that there has been some news in the past about how people got drunk and it was causing some sort of public embarrassment. Some environment in Italy are well notorious for this act mainly and the government had to make laws that serve as regulations for those that are licensed sellers and for the end buyers of alcoholic beverages.


In Italy just like other countries of the world, it is lawful to sell or buy alcohol when you are licensed. The fact is that most people who are underage are not allowed to buy alcohol, and although there is no serious criminal liability for this, it could be serious in some cases when minors are caught being drunk to stupor. In Italy mainly, it is a crime to sell alcohol at some points in the night.

About the time frame of the sale of Alcohol Beverages

It should be noted that there is a distinction between alcoholic beverages and those extremely alcoholic drinks. The alcoholic beverages are those beers and wines that people love while the extremely alcoholic drinks are those gins and rums that people also want to take. In Italy however, there is a time limit for those that sell alcohol, whether in public or in private clubs. The time frame goes thus:

  • Public Alcohol selling Operators: they are restrained from the sale of alcohol and the super alcoholic beverages from the hours of 3 am and 6 am. This means that they are allowed to sell in the other hours of the day, but are restrained from those alcoholic content drinks from the hours of 3 am and 6 am.
  • Neighborhood Alcoholic sellers:  they are allowed to sell alcoholic drinks to people who actually want to take away the alcoholic drinks, but they are banned from the sale of alcoholic drinks from the hours of the midnight up until 6 am on a daily basis.
  • Highway service drink sellers: these ones are allowed to sell drinks at other hours of the day, but they aren’t allowed to sell takeaway extremely alcoholic drinks from the hours of 10 pm to the hours of 6 am. The normal alcoholic drinks are not allowed to be sold from the hours of 2 am to 6 am. The implication is that they are not allowed to sell alcoholic drinks which are extremely alcoholic for takeaway purposes from the hours of 10 pm to the hours of 6 am while the normal alcoholic beverages are not allowed to be sold from 2 am to 6 am.
  • Vending Alcoholic machines: they are not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages from the hours of midnight to 7 am at dawn.

The only exceptions to these laws are the fact that there are timeous celebrations from time to time, during those celebrations which is a general thing, the laws are silent and then people are allowed to buy drinks that they could possibly drink in public. As a matter of fact, one of such periods is the period of the New Year celebrations and possibly during Christmas celebrations too.

Other facts to note about drinking in public in Italy

It should be noted that when it comes to drinking in public in Italy, there are times when the government bans drinking in public because it has become a notorious act in some parts of the city. Also, while it is lawful to drink in public for adults, it should be noted that there are times when Byelaws wouldn’t allow you to do so. However, the common place where you could drink in public in Italy without any form of regulation is when you have to drink in the park. It is possible that you wouldn’t be disturbed at this point in time and while drinking in the park or having your picnic in the park. 

Irrespective of the embargos on drinking in Italy, it should be noted that there are still places where you can drink in the public and they include bars, restaurants, and related places. You should also note that it is still allowed to drink in many of the banned places until midnight- that is in public. 

The other reason why there are bans in some areas is mainly because of the monuments and other essential heritages that exist around those locations, this is the reason why people are not allowed to drink in those locations. Asides drinks, it should be noted that in those places where drinking alcohol is banned, it is mostly regulated on how much food you would be allowed to eat in those places.


The truth is that, just like anywhere else in the world, Italy is a very lovable place. As a matter of fact, asides the menace that could occur when you don’t abide by the drinking law, there is hardly anything to make you come in contact with the law in Italy. 

Efforts have been made to get the information as accurate and updated as possible. If you found any incorrect information with credible source, please send it via the contact us form
Sky Hoon
Italy Lover. He travel to Europe a few times and loved Italy for its unique language and culture. He loved the idea of Italian food focusing on original taste of the ingredient.
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