- 1 What is the legal drinking age in Italy?
- 2 What is the legal age for purchasing alcohol in Italy?
- 3 Do they ID in Italy?
- 4 Can you drink alcohol in public in Italy?
- 5 What is drinking culture like in Italy?
- 6 Where can you buy alcohol in Italy?
- 7 Famous Italian Alcoholic Drinks
- 8 Drinking Laws in Italy: Wrap-Up
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For many people, a visit to Italy includes enjoying a few drinks of the country’s diverse selection of delicious wines and spirits.
With more than 500 different varieties of wine throughout the country and a myriad of beers, spirits, and liqueurs, you’ll naturally want to try everything you can while you’re visiting.
If you’re planning a trip with minors in tow or are simply interested in the drinking laws in Italy for your favorite traveler and tourist, you may want to know about the country’s legal drinking age and other related restrictions.
What is the legal drinking age in Italy?
According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Italy does not have any requirements within its laws prohibiting the consumption of alcohol at any age.
That’s right. Technically, there are no drinking laws in Italy guarding a legal minimum age!
However, despite no legal drinking age limits, there are parameters. Minors over 16 years old may be allowed to drink in certain circumstances, such as when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
And minors can consume alcohol privately, with their parents’ or legal guardians’ permission and presence.
This is lower than the legal drinking age in many countries, such as the United States, where the legal drinking age is 21.
What is the legal age for purchasing alcohol in Italy?
According to European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, you must be 18 years old to purchase alcohol in Italy. Children are not allowed to buy alcohol.
If a business is caught selling alcohol to minors under 18, they can face fines between €250 and €1,000.
It is also important to note that it is illegal to purchase alcohol for minors in Italy.
If you’re caught buying alcohol specifically for someone underage, you may face fines or other legal consequences.
Do they ID in Italy?
In Italy, businesses absolutely have the right to ask for identification when serving alcohol to ensure that the individual is of legal drinking age.
The Supreme Court of Cassation ruled that sellers must always verify the age of their customers, regardless of how old they appear.
Although the enforcement of the legal drinking age in Italy is generally lax, any establishment caught selling alcohol to minors may face significant penalties.
So, if you’re heading out and are worried about being carded, make sure to bring identification with you.
Can you drink alcohol in public in Italy?
Yes, you can drink alcohol in public in Italy; but be sure to check local laws for any restrictions or regulations on public intoxication.
For example, there are areas where it’s illegal to consume alcohol in public spaces like parks, near schools, and other places where minors may be present.
And even though drinking in public is legal, drunkenness is not.
Article 688 of Italy’s Criminal Code states that being found in a drunken state in public is a punishable offense that carries a fine.
What is drinking culture like in Italy?
The drinking culture in Italy is unique, with wine being the most commonly produced and consumed alcoholic beverage.
It makes sense–Italy produces more wine than any other country.
From Prosecco’s light, crisp taste to a full-bodied Super Tuscan, you must experience at least one wine tasting when visiting Italy.
And if a glass of wine isn’t your beverage of choice, you can find many other kinds of local spirits, liqueurs, and mixed drinks.
Drinking usually occurs at home, often paired with meals, and binge drinking is not common.
For the most part, I’ve noticed that Italians sip and savor their drinks; they don’t overindulge regularly.
Despite efforts to reduce alcohol consumption in Italy, the combination of a rich historical tradition with the heavy marketing of alcohol by the industry makes it difficult to make any significant changes.
Where can you buy alcohol in Italy?
In Italy, alcohol is widely available. You can find a variety of drinks like wine, craft beer, cocktails, and liqueurs at groceries stores and liquor stores.
Italian restaurants, called trattorie or osterie, all offer different types of wines that pair well with their food. They also often offer specialty cocktails that are made with local ingredients.
My favorite place to buy excellent Italian alcohol is on a tour!
When you take a guided tour of a winery, distillery, or other facilities where spirits are produced, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase bottles.
It’s a great opportunity to taste incredible wines while supporting local businesses.
If visiting Venice is on your itinerary, I have a whole guide on the best prosecco tours from Venice.
Famous Italian Alcoholic Drinks
If you’re celebrating, Prosecco is a light, crisp Italian sparkling wine that’s the perfect Italian alternative to Champagne.
It’s made from Glera grapes grown in the Veneto region of Italy. It has a delicate flavor profile with notes of citrus, green apple, and white flowers.
Chianti is one of the most famous Italian wines. This red wine is produced in the Chianti hills of the Tuscany region.
Made from a blend of Sangiovese and other grape varieties, it has a deep ruby color with aromas of cherries, plums, and herbs.
Chianti is an incredibly versatile wine that pairs well with many Italian dishes such as pasta, pizza, and assorted meats.
It is also an excellent choice for sipping on its own or with a cheese plate.
Also heralding from the Chianti hills, Super Tuscan is a robust red wine made from a blend of Sangiovese and other non-traditional grapes.
It has a bold, full-bodied flavor with hints of dark fruit and tobacco.
Each blend of Super Tuscan is unique; every winemaker that produces this wine has the leniency to make it in their own style.
Limoncello is a famous Italian liqueur made from lemons.
Otherwise known as limoncino around Cinque Terre, it has a bright, citrusy flavor and is usually served as an after-dinner digestivo.
Spritz is one of the country’s most popular cocktails!
Originally from the Veneto region, it’s made with either Aperol, Campari, or Select liqueur, plus Prosecco and soda water.
Depending on which mixer you choose, the drink ranges from bright orange to a beautiful red hue and has a refreshingly sweet-bitter taste.
Named after its namesake town, Bassano del Grappa, grappa is a traditional Italian brandy made from the pomace of grapes, the skins, seeds, and stems left over after winemaking.
It has a strong flavor with notes of fruit and spices and can be enjoyed on its own as a digestivo or as an ingredient in cocktails.
Amaro is an herbal liqueur that has a bitter, sweet flavor.
It’s made from various herbs and spices, such as gentian root, orange peel, and licorice root.
Amaro is my go-to choice after dinner as a digestivo to aid digestion.
Named after the Latin word for elderberry, “sambucus,” sambuca is a liqueur made from anise, elderflower, and other herbs.
Sambuca is often served with three floating coffee beans on top, representing health, wealth, and happiness. It can also be added to coffee to make a caffè corretto.
Amaretto is another sweet liqueur made from almonds, apricot kernels, and other ingredients, with a nutty almond.
Amaretto can be enjoyed on its own as a digestivo or used in cocktails like the famous Amaretto Sour.
Have you ever tried fizzy red wine? Lambrusco is a sparkling red wine made from the Lambrusco grape in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.
Its light, fruity flavor with notes of cherry and raspberry is one of my favorite Italian wines!
Vin Santo is a dessert wine made from Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes. This sweet wine has a nutty flavor with hints of honey and dried fruit.
My favorite way to enjoy Vin Santo is with cantucci. You’ll dip your almond cookies into a small glass of this sweet wine to enjoy the typical Tuscan dessert.
Drinking Laws in Italy: Wrap-Up
From the robust Super Tuscan wine to the sweet and herbal liqueurs like Amaretto and Sambuca, Italy is home to a variety of delicious alcoholic beverages that are sure to please any palate.
Just remember, as with anywhere you travel, it’s crucial to be aware of the drinking laws in Italy.
Despite a lower legal drinking age than what you might be used to, it’s important to practice responsible drinking and stay aware of the cultural customs and expectations when consuming alcohol in Italy.
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