Discover Italy’s Drinking Age In 2023

Thinking about taking the whole family on a vacation to Italy, but wonder what’s Italy’s legal drinking age? Italy’s wine culture goes back to Roman times. Along with France and …

Thinking about taking the whole family on a vacation to Italy, but wonder what’s Italy’s legal drinking age?

Italy’s wine culture goes back to Roman times. Along with France and Spain, Italy is one of the big-3 wine-producing countries. Not only that, Italy is one of the few places where wine is made in all of the 20 regions. Not to mention, wine-making and selling are huge contributors to the local economy.

If you’re preparing for a trip to Italy, you’ll likely already have a good idea about the culture and cuisine. Wine and cheese have always been center stage; as a result, they traditionally go together.

Discover Italy's Drinking Age In 2023

As a result, tourists often make drinking wine part of their itineraries. For example, those touring Tuscany will find many opportunities to visit wineries.

So, what exactly is Italy’s legal drinking age?

Let’s dive in and find out!

Italy Drinking Age

If you are taking your kids or grandkids on your trip to Italy, you might wonder if the older ones can drink wine, beer, or spirits. Indeed, up until 2017, Italy’s drinking age was 16. But, since then, the rules have gotten a little stricter. Today, Italy’s legal drinking age is 18.

Now hold on. Like all things Italian, there’s very little black and white. Yes, the drinking age is 18, but, the law says nothing about drinking alcohol at home. And it gets even more interesting.

Discover Italy's Drinking Age In 2023

No one will have an issue if you’re a parent and agree to allow your child or teenager to ask for a glass of wine or beer when dining with you at the restaurant. So, I’d say it’s a grey area that will go unnoticed.

Also, it should be noted that, unlike in North America, serving alcohol to minors is not a criminal offense in Italy. If the minor is older than 16, it’s an administrative infraction punishable with a fine.

an italian bartender makes a drink

As mentioned previously, the legal drinking age in Italy is 18. And unlike many places in North America, Italy doesn’t care where you drink. Inside, outside, wherever – it doesn’t matter. But there are some caveats to consider.

While you technically have to be 18 years of age to drink, there’s nothing in the law that prevents you from drinking with your parents. In Italy, we drink moderately, and as long as you do, no one will have any issues. In fact, it’s very (VERY) rare that you’ll find someone drunk in Italy.

It’s no surprise that one of the reasons America loves Italy is that it’s wine culture is so much more relaxed than back home in the states. And that means you can drink up to 3 years before you can in the states.

But, as I mentioned earlier – if you’re going to drink, do so responsibly. You’ll rarely find a drunk person in Italy – so don’t be that guy (or girl) becuase the local police will likely find out, and you’ll likely get in trouble. And spending a night in jail probably isn’t the best memory you’ll have in the land of the Dolce Vita!

Can You Publicly Drink Alcohol in Italy?

Discover Italy's Drinking Age In 2023

Italy has no rules that discuss where you can drink. Outside the Colosseum? No problem. By the Duomo in Florence? Ok! But, the key is drinking responsibly.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Rome had some serious rules about public drinking. People were forbidden to drink publicly from glass containers after 6 p.m. Other than those few exceptions, drinking on the streets, in parks, or at the beach in Italy is perfectly legal.

So, familiarize yourself with the local laws and respect them anytime you travel to a different city.

Are There Any Non-Alcoholic Alternatives?

Now, if you’re not into drinking “Under The Tuscan Sun”, Italy has non-alcoholic alternatives for you – that you can consume to your hearts content!

Non-alcoholic options are perfect for those who don’t drink a lot, but still like to take part in the “aperitivo” culture by ordering a cocktail, “analcholico” (or a no-alcohol drink as it’s known in Italy). Here are some of my favorite non-alcoholic alternatives:

Peroni Libera

The Peroni Libera is an Italian beer with 0% alcohol and is very popular with all ages. By ordering it, you can enjoy it at a soccer game, for an aperitivo, or even at the beach without making your head spin!

The beer is light and refreshing and pairs well with all the typical aperitivo snacks such as prosciutto, pizza, cheese, etc.

San Pellegrino

San Pellegrino is the local sparkling water that’s been around for over a century. Pair that with lemon, or maybe a “crodino” and you’ll partake without anyone knowing it’s an alcohol-free drink. And it’s delicious!

Shakerato

Shakerato is a coffee cocktail that can trace its roots back to Italy. The shakerato is made with coffee (usually espresso) and icecubes and served in a martini glass. I think it’s the perfect afternoon drink under the hot sun, perhaps after lunch.

Conclusion

Hopefully, after reading the article, you are familiar with Italy’s drinking age. Anyone who is 18 and above can enjoy alcohol in Italy.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article and you’re now comfortable understanding Italy’s (relaxed) drinking rules.

It is all about “When In Rome,” right?

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