HomeLifestyleDrinking Age in Italy 

Drinking Age in Italy 

Until the fag end of the 20th century, drinking (alcohol) was considered to be mostly a manly thing and was done primarily by men worldwide. Very few women were into the habit of drinking but from the dawn of the 21st century (2000), all that changed dramatically. 

Although men are still the majority consumers of alcohol worldwide (54%), the percentage of women consuming alcohol has spiked sharply over the past decade from 1.1% in the 1990s to a whopping 32% in 2024. The remaining 14% is contributed by transgender people.

This is because society has become more liberal and accommodating since the dawn of the 21st century. Drinking is now seen as a youth and modern symbol rather than a sinister act that will ruin your health (consuming excess alcohol will still damage your health mind you). 

As a consequence, even teenage girls, especially those in developed countries like the US, Europe, Canada, Australia, etc. are eager to attain their country’s legal drinking age. In this article, we’re going to discuss the legal drinking age in Rome and the legal drinking age in Europe and how the laws and regulations on smoking and drinking in Italy vary from other European nations. So, kindly read on to find out. 

drinking age in italy

How do the laws and regulations on smoking and drinking in Italy differ from other European nations?

Okay, first things first. Let’s talk about Italy. The legal drinking and smoking age in Italy is 18 years (just the age when people become majors). Anyone below the age of 18 caught drinking in public in Italy will be arrested and levied a fine of €250. 

A minor can only drink in public in Italy under specific circumstances. Minors are only allowed to have wine with their family members in restaurants and only if their parents have given them permission to drink wine but even so, underage drinking is frowned upon in Italy. 

Even adults in Italy drink wine in moderation. No pubs or restaurants in Italy are open after midnight. This is not due to any laws passed by the Italian government but rather a moral resolution taken by the people, restaurants, and pubs in Italy alike. 

So, it is seldom that anyone witnesses people getting killed in Italy due to drunken driving or getting wasted on the roads due to excessive consumption of alcohol. Any parent who has given his or her son or daughter permission to drink in public apart from in a restaurant will be levied a fine of €1,000 if caught by the police in Italy. 

Now, let’s talk about alcohol buying and drinking restrictions in other European nations. In about 20 European nations include Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, minors or people below the age of 16 cannot purchase alcohol.

In Germany, Belgium, and Denmark, people aged 16 can buy alcoholic beverages that contain less than 1.2% distilled alcohol. They have to be 18 years or more to buy beverages that contain more than 1.2% distilled alcohol. 

In Sweden, if you want to buy an alcoholic beverage that contains more than 3.5% distilled alcohol, you have to be above the age of 20. In Cyprus and Malta, the legal drinking age is 17 years and in Luxemburg, it is 16 years. 

Austria is the only European nation to have two legal drinking ages region-wise. In some regions/states in Austria, the legal drinking age is 16 and in other regions/states in Austria the legal drinking age is 18 but there is a law in all of Austria that no alcoholic beverage should contain a distilled alcohol concentration of more than 3.5%. 

Among all the European nations, Germany has the youngest drinking age where minors aged between 14 and 16 can consume alcohol in public with the permission of and under the supervision of their parents. The US has the oldest drinking age where you have to be at least 21 years of age to drink in public without adult supervision. 

Finding people getting overly drunk and getting wasted on the streets or else killed in a road accident, especially on festive occasions like Christmas, New Year, etcetera is quite a common sight in most countries in Europe but in Italy it rarely happens as people of Italy believe strongly in responsible drinking even though it has not been enforced by the country’s law. This is the difference between Italy’s drinking culture and the rest of Europe’s drinking culture.  

Tips for drinking responsibly in Italy

Responsible drinking is a must when you visit any foreign country, not just Italy because getting wasted in your homeland where you know the language and culture of the people is one thing while getting wasted in a foreign country where you are alien to their language and culture is quite a different ball game. 

Many foreign nationals worldwide have spent many years in foreign prisons as they have violated the visiting country’s drinking and other laws. You don’t want to end up on that list now, do you? If you want to stay safe while visiting Italy, these are some of the safe drinking tips that you must follow. 

  • Drink casually: Do not just gulp down your glass of wine in one go, even if your guests have finished drinking before you. Doing so will make you look awkward and ill-mannered. Sipping your wine slowly while enjoying the taste of your wine is the right way to drink wine in Italy. 
  • Always have wine with your lunch or dinner: While drinking wine alone is permitted for adults at restaurants and pubs in Italy, people in Italy usually have wine along with their lunch or dinner. If you follow the same culture, you will be better received by the people of Italy. 
  • Kindly ensure that you remain hydrated: Drinking wine will lessen the water content in anyone’s body. So, kindly ensure that you drink adequate amounts of water after you’ve had wine. The last thing you would want is to end up in a hospital in a foreign country. It will seriously dent your travel budget. 
  • Know how much wine is too much and know how to say “no”: If you have drunk before, you will know exactly how much alcohol you can drink before losing consciousness. 

Keeping that in mind, only drink as much wine as you can handle. Even if your guests insist you have more wine, politely refuse the offer. Drinking too much wine and getting wasted on the streets in a foreign country will land you and your family in serious legal trouble.     

If the above-mentioned safe-drinking tips are followed in Italy, you can enjoy your visit to Italy while not landing yourself in any serious legal trouble.


Just because society worldwide has become more permissive, liberal, and accommodating now does not mean that you have to abuse your privilege/right to drink. No matter how modern the era that we’re living in, drinking excess alcohol is still injurious to health. So, kindly remember the responsible drinking tips mentioned in this article and apply them, especially when visiting a foreign country like Italy. 

If you drink too much and get wasted on the streets of a foreign country like Italy, it could land you in serious legal trouble. You may have to spend a few years in prison or pay a hefty fine for violating the laws of a foreign country which we’re sure would be the last thing you would want. If the responsible/safe drinking tips mentioned in this article are scrupulously followed, you can enjoy your trip to Italy or any other foreign country while staying out of legal trouble. 


  • How is the drinking culture in Italy?

Italy has one of the best/ideal drinking cultures in the world. Even adults in Italy drink wine in moderation. It is rare to see anyone in Italy drinking too much and getting wasted on the streets or getting killed in road accidents due to drunken driving. Most people in Italy usually have wine along with their meals. This is where Italy differs from the world when it comes to drinking wine. 

  • What is the maximum permitted alcohol concentration in a person’s body to be permitted to drink and drive in Italy?

The maximum permitted alcohol concentration in a person’s body to be permitted to drink and drive in Italy is 0.05% which translates to having not more than two glasses of wine before driving. To seriously understand the hazards of drunken driving, kindly watch this YouTube video

  • Which are the major cities in Italy?

The major cities in Italy are Venice, Turin, Rome, Florence, and Naples.

  • Can I bring alcohol to Italy from another country?

Yes, provided the concentration of distilled alcohol in the alcoholic beverage is not more than 2.4%. 

  • Is drinking a tradition in Italy?

Yes. Drinking wine has been a part of Italian families for centuries but the unique thing about Italy is that wine is mostly had along with meals in Italy. 

Ishwar Deep
Ishwar Deephttp://ishwardeep.com
Head of Content @ Whitedust (or, in plain English), I'm the guy responsible for ensuring that every blog post we publish is EPIC.

Most Popular

Recent Comments