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smoking in Italy

What is the status of smoking in Italian restaurants, cafes, bars?

Posted by
32263 posts


Italy has very tough anti-smoking laws which most people seem to follow (at least in the north). Businesses violating the laws can be subject to severe fines, so they're very careful about this.

On one past visit, I witnessed a young (18 y.o.) naive traveller from North America being forcibly ejected from a Hostel in Rome after he "lit up" right under a No Smoking sign (which wasn't the brightest thing to do). He protested and said "who would have thought that you couldn't smoke in Italy". I was going to say "read the signs, you moron", but didn't bother.

I'm somewhat sensitive to smoke (it gives me a headache) and over the last several years I can't recall any times when I had a problem with this in Italy (Austria is another story however).

I believe smoking is allowed outside (sidewalk cafes), but I generally try to position myself at some distance from the smokers.

Happy travels!

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you! We are non-smokers, and enjoyed France after they banned smoking in restaurants, so were hoping it was the same in Italy!

Posted by
944 posts

Tourists don't seem to smoke much indoors.
Street side cafe's, I check the wind direction.
Up wind if I'm not smoking, down wind if I am.
Cigars are big over there.

Posted by
1317 posts

I like Francis's answer haha.

Italy has banned smoking indoors. Surprisingly, although the Italians seem to act sometimes as if laws are more suggestions than rules, they generally obey the smoking ban. It's still allowed outdoors though, so if you want to dine outside on the piazza and people-watch, your neighbors may very well light up.

Posted by
35 posts

We went to Italy in 2008. I could not believe all the cigarette butts when visiting the Coliseum, they were every where! I was shocked at the lack of respect. People did smoke at outside cafes as well.

Posted by
1890 posts

No smoking inside, allowed outside. If you are a non-smoker, you are better sitting inside (bummer) if you don't want smoke in your face.

When you go to sit down, take note of the table, if there is an ashtray...there is smoking!

We'd love to sit outside to enjoy people watching and the atmosphere, but end up inside due to my total intolerance of smoke in my lungs.