What is the Legal Drinking Age in Italy?
The legal drinking age in Italy is the age of 18 years old. There is a fine of 250 to 1000 euros for anyone who sells alcohol to teenagers under 18 years old. And if someone sells alcoholic beverages to teenagers under 16 years old, he faces a criminal offense, punished with prison up to one year.
Having said that, we have seen a lot of cases where teenagers who are 16-17 years old get their drinks without having to show an id, especially in the southern parts of Italy.
Most Italians are even unaware of the legal age for drinking in the country. If you happen to be in a party of Italians and you make the question, you will see that each one has different answers. The main reason is that there isn’t a heavy drinking problem with teenagers in Italy. Although most teenagers engage into drinking a couple of beers or a cocktail when going out, you will not see many drunk teenagers, as it happens for example in the UK or in Denmark. Drinking is considered to be a means to get into a little bit better mood in Italy, and teenagers don’t go out “just to drink”, but rather to meet friends, to flirt and to have fun.
Being drunk is not considered a “cool thing” to do among Italian teenagers. In practice, most bars in Italy serve alcohol to teenagers above 16 years old but they will not serve to younger children. There is a limited amount of bars that ask for an ID when serving alcohol.
In practice, although the legal drinking age in Italy is the 18, most bars serve alcohol to teenagers above 16 years old but they will not serve alcoholic beverages to younger children. There is a limited amount of bars that ask for an ID when serving alcohol.