Drinking Age in Italy: Everything about Italy Alcohol Law
It's time for the tough topic – The legal drinking age in Italy!
A trip to Italy is – for many – all about the food and the drink! And whilst you don't really need to worry about whether pizza or carbonara is legal to consume, you will need to be aware of the drinking legislation.
So just what is the legal age for drinking alcohol in Italy? Don’t get caught out and make sure you understand not only the minimum drinking age in Italy, but also the other rules and regulations regarding alcohol.
We’ll keep you on the right side of the law with this guide.
- 1 What’s The Drinking Age in Italy?
- 2 Legal Drinking Age for US (United States) Citizens in Italy
- 3 Explore Rome with This Free Guide on Your Mobile
- 4 Drinking & Clubbing Age in Italy
- 5 Drinking Age for Wine in Italy
- 6 What Is the Legal Age for Drinking Alcohol in Italy – Italian Cities Alcohol Law
- 7 Best Places for Clubbing in Italy
- 8 8 Most Popular Italian Drinks You Must Try
- 9 3 Italian Non-Alcoholic Alternatives
- 10 Frequently Asked Questions about the Legal Drinking Age in Italy
- 11 Conclusion
What’s The Drinking Age in Italy?
The alcohol age limit in Italy is 18 years old. That means, it is illegal to sell alcohol to minors in either shops, restaurants or bars.
That’s a little bit more generous than the legal age limit in the USA. In general, ID should be requested in any establishment selling alcohol if there is any doubt over your age.
In practice, however, you may find that this is not strictly enforced. Still, don’t take the risk – bring your ID, and if you are under eighteen avoid alcohol for the duration of your trip to keep yourself out of trouble.
Legal Drinking Age for US (United States) Citizens in Italy
Good news for our American friends! If you are aged 18-21 years old you will be able to try alcohol in Italy! It does not matter what your citizenship is – the laws pertain to anyone on Italian soil.
So, you may want to use your trip as a chance to try a beer or glass of wine. Just make sure you don’t overdo it – being drunk and disorderly for example in public can lead to fines or trouble with the authorities.
Explore Rome with This Free Guide on Your Mobile
Drinking & Clubbing Age in Italy
You may have asked the question “what age can you drink in Italy” but did you ask about access to bars and clubs?
Well, in general, if you are 16 or over you will be allowed into the club, but you must show ID and you won’t be able to buy alcohol.
Some establishments however may enforce their own restrictions, such as Over 18s or even Over 21s. As with the drinking age restrictions, you may find that enforcement is sporadic depending on the staff.
Drinking Age for Wine in Italy
There is no distinction in the Italy alcohol law between wine and beer or spirits. The legislation states that one must be over 18 to purchase any alcohol, no matter what sort.
But there is no restriction on enjoying it in the home. It is also customary in some families to let their kids have a little sip or two of wine with a meal from a younger age – around 14 seems to be the norm, since there is no limitation to drinking in private.
Those that do are attempting to show that alcohol is an accompaniment to a meal and should be enjoyed in moderation rather than binge drinking.
What Is the Legal Age for Drinking Alcohol in Italy – Italian Cities Alcohol Law
Drinking Age In Florence Italy
The drinking age in Florence is 18 years – this means that bars, restaurants and shops are not permitted legally to serve alcohol to under 18s.
There is however no restriction on minors drinking alcohol, especially in the home.
Drinking Age in Rome
The minimum age to purchase alcohol in Rome is 18 years, as in the rest of Italy.
Drinking Age In Venice
You need to be 18 to legally purchase alcohol in Venice, Italy.
Drinking Age in Sicily
In Sicily, the law states that establishments can only sell alcohol to those over 18.
Best Places for Clubbing in Italy
Most holiday destinations have areas or cities that are renowned for clubbing and partying.
In Spain, some of the coastal cities such as Benidorm or the Magaluf area of Majorca are well known for being a mad place to party!
The same can be found on some Greek islands, Cyprus and in areas of Valletta in Malta.
But where are the best places for clubbing in Italy?
Best for Upscale Nightclubs – Milan
Milan’s reputation as an upscale fashion city also extends to its nightclubs. Here you’ll be looking to dress up and go to lounge bars or clubs.
There is also a great relaxed segment too – try the Monkey Cocktail Bar for an amazing selection of liquor and a street-art vibe.
Best for Easy Diversity – Rome’s Testaccio Area
Party all night in a wide range of bars and clubs – piano bars, karaoke, salsa – the list is endless and you’ll be sure to find something you like.
For a touch of style, visit the BeBop Jazz Club where you can not only enjoy great music but also dinner before heading to one of the nearby clubs to dance the night away.
Best for Beach Clubs – Tuscany’s Coastal Bars
If you want to escape the cities in the height of summer and are a beach bunny at heart, then one of these awesome beach clubs may tickle your fancy.
Try one of our favourites – La Capannina di Franceschi – for an amazing old school discotheque.
Best Nightlife on Sicily
If you’ve ever been to Sicily you will know the nightlife goes on and on!
Noisy streets, mopeds, and people spilling out of bars creates the ultimate party vibe. One of our favourites is Boheme – Mixology Bar which boasts a brilliant interior and AMAZING cocktails.
8 Most Popular Italian Drinks You Must Try
You are probably quite familiar with several Italian drinks!
If you have never had the pleasure, here are 8 of the best and most popular Italian drinks for visitors (if you have reached the legal drinking age in Italy 😉
A time honoured and much loved tradition, the Italian aperitivo is part of the culture!
Consisting of a drink – traditionally alcoholic – and perhaps a little snack such as nuts, it's the perfect pre-dinner activity.
The aperitivo is particularly popular amongst visitors to Rome and other Italian cities – even if they don’t partake at the tradition at home.
Here are some of our favourite Italian Aperitivos:
- An Aperol Spritz: I nearly deleted the above sentence with the word “favourite” when it came to the Aperol Spritz. That’s because the orange Aperol is either a love it or hate it drink! You will however have to try this bright orange trademark drink just once.
- Bellini: This pink coloured prosecco spritz is served in a champagne glass. It originated in the 1940s in Venice and has become popular throughout the land!
- Negroni: This gin and campari based stirred drink is served with an orange slice and is rumoured to have originated in Florence in 1919.
Must Try Italian Wines
- Chianti: This dry Italian red is known throughout the world. Originating in Tuscany, it's the perfect accompaniment to meat based dishes.
- Soave: A Veneto based wine, the soave can have many different tastes, from fruity to more aromatic and rich bases.
- Prosecco: A must have when in Italy, this fizzy white wine comes from the Veneto region and can be enjoyed pretty much all day long. Fun fact – there is also a still version.
- Lambrusco: This fizzy red wine is made from the Lambrusco grape – which has been cultivated since the time of the ancient Etruscans.
The After Dinner Finisher
- Limoncello: Even if you have never been to Italy, you’ve probably been offered a glass of Limoncello in an Italian restaurant. This lemon based high alcohol content shot is usually enjoyed as a digestif.
3 Italian Non-Alcoholic Alternatives
Even if you are not a big drinker you can still partake in the aperitif tradition or enjoy a good cocktail in a bar.
Here are 3 of the best non-alcoholic alternatives for Italian drinks:
- San Pellegrino: There is nothing like a glass of fresh San Pellegrino on a hot summer’s day, accompanied with a slice of lime.
- Peroni Libera 0%: A non-alcoholic Italian beer, light and refreshing, will mean you can still enjoy an evening drinking vibe.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Legal Drinking Age in Italy
Can You Drink At 16 In Italy?
The legal age for selling alcohol in Italy is 18, although there is no restriction on drinking alcohol in private.
Can a 15-year-old drink wine in Italy?
The legal drinking age in Italy is undefined - although it is illegal to purchase alcohol under the age of 18. This means that a 15 year old can drink wine in Italy if their parents agree.
Which country in Europe has the youngest drinking age?
Many European countries differentiate between drinking in private and in public. Some countries have no minimum drinking age in private. The youngest age to purchase alcohol in Europe is 16 in countries like Germany and Portugal.
Don’t get in trouble with the law when in Italy and enjoy alcohol responsibly.
Fanny is a music and travel lover who has been visiting Rome since 2012. She is the founder and main editor of the Roma Pass blog and she like to share the best things to do in Rome.