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Up to which age is one regarded as a child and young person respectively?


There are no rules which define the specific ages for children, adolescents and teenagers. In general, these age ranges tend to be associated with the school career, as well as the process of maturation until the age of majority is reached, which is defined by law as the age of 18 years. In line with the school career, the following stages have been identified: childhood (Bambini/bambine), which typically goes from birth to the age of 10 (early or "first" childhood from 0-6; "second" childhood from 6 to 10), pre-adolescence (ragazzi/ragazze), which goes from the age of 11 to the age of 13, and adolescence (in Italian, the same term, ragazzi/ragazze), which goes from the age of 14 through the age of 17. However, this scheme conforms only partially to a definition of overall psychological development.

The Italian Civil Code does not contain a definition of minors, but the terms legal capacity and capacity to act are defined in § 1 and § 2 of the Civil Code. The first term, legal capacity, is acquired at the moment of birth, while the second, capacity to act, is acquired once the age of majority (18 years of age) is reached, along with the ability to take all actions for which no other age limit is prescribed.

Although an express definition of minors does not exist, by ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 through Act No. 176/1999, Italy automatically accepted the definition of child (fanciullo) as a synonym for minor, as contained in Article 1 of the Convention.

It should also be pointed out that Article 1 of Act No. 977/67, "Occupational Safety for Children and Adolescents," as amended by Ordinance No. 345/99, makes a distinction between child (bambino) and adolescent (adolescente), clarifying that, for the purposes of the Act, a child is to be understood as a minor who is less than 15 years of age or who is still subject to compulsory education, while an adolescent is understood as a minor between 15 and 18 years of age who is no longer subject to compulsory education.

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Are children/teens allowed to stay in public places?


Yes, this is allowed, but their ability to do so is of course subject to the control of their adult relatives, utilizing common sense, based on the age of the child and the assessment which the relevant adults have made as to the degree of independence exhibited by the child or adolescent, and furthermore with due regard for their estimation of the areas frequented by the children with a view towards the dangers existing in those places. The Civil Code states that minors are constantly subject to the responsibility of their adult relatives (see Article 30 of the Constitution and Articles 147, 316 and 333 of the Civil Code. While this principle does not expressly prohibit minors from moving around freely and independently, it imposes a duty upon their adult relatives to protect the minors and to ensure that no circumstances exist which may cause harm to the minors in the event of their own absence.

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Are children/teens allowed to stay in restaurants or dance halls / ballrooms?



In general, public establishments to which minors have no entry make this prohibition clearly visible at the entrance, indicating the age limit as well. There is no specific law defining an age limit for entering establishments in the restaurant industry (restaurants, pizzerias, fast food restaurants, coffee shops, pubs), whether alone or in the company of adults. In general, minors tend to visit fast food restaurants, pizzerias, pubs and coffee shops unaccompanied.


When speaking of dance halls and places were dancing lessons are given, common sense requires a certain minimum entry age for the latter. Certainly, the principle applies here as well under which public establishments where entry is prohibited to minors must make this prohibition clearly visible at the entrance, indicating the relevant age limit as well.

As far as discos are concerned, the law prohibits entry for unaccompanied children under the age of 16. In fact, however, even 14-year-olds are allowed in. The precise law is unavailable to us, however.

In general, public establishments to which minors have no entry make this prohibition clearly visible at the entrance, indicating the age limit as well. Patronizing night clubs and bars is prohibited for children under the age of 16. On the weekends especially, young people frequent movie theaters, pubs, pizzerias and theaters in the early evening hours (5 PM- 8 PM) or later evening (9 PM- 11 PM).

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Are children/teens allowed to stay in night clubs, bars, casinos, places for gambling etc.?


Bars, Clubs:

In general, public establishments to which minors have no entry make this prohibition clearly visible at the entrance, indicating the age limit as well. Patronizing night clubs and bars is prohibited for children under the age of 16. On the weekends especially, young people frequent movie theaters, pubs, pizzerias and theaters in the early evening hours (5 PM- 8 PM) or later evening (9 PM- 11 PM).

Harmful Places:

It is assumed that the reference is to outdoor public places, such as parks, which are frequented by shady dealers, prostitutes, etc. The term "morally harmful" leaves a lot of room for interpretation, and allows for a variety of definitions. Indeed, the list of "places" which are viewed as morally harmful to youth is long. At the same time, however, it would be inadequate to limit this list to places where prostitution, theft and drug dealing are practiced and similar environments, when in fact many other circumstances should also be included, such as presence in the immediate vicinity of a railway line or road, visits to websites and being in the company of "false" friends.

Common sense dictates that the principle of "heeding dangers" applies, i.e. that adults should alert the minors under their responsibility, based on their individual type of authority (as parents, educators, hosts, travel guides, coaches, etc.), when they believe they have identified factors in the situation which could pose a risk or cause harm to the minor's health, physical integrity or education or which could promote conduct inconsistent with the values and cultural background of the minor's family. This criterion is also connected to the adult's assessment as to the degree of independence assigned to the child or adolescent. In general, the tendency is to allow more freedom of movement and to rely more on the minor's judgment as the minor increases in age.

Places for gambling:

Italian law prohibits all forms of games of chance in accordance with Article 718 of the Criminal Code, and gambling casinos are not accessible for persons under the age of 18.

Pursuant to Article 110 Paragraph 8 of Royal Ordinance No. 773 of 18 June 1931, Approval of the Unified Text of the Public Safety Laws, use of machines and equipment in accordance with Paragraph 6(1) is prohibited to minors under the age of 18. Gambling casinos are not accessible to persons under the age of 18. There are public gaming halls with video games for teenagers, to which entry is allowed for those aged 14 and up, but enforcement is the responsibility of the gaming hall manager.

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Is it allowed to sell spirits to children/teens?


In accordance with Article 689 of the Civil Code, the consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited for minors under the age of 16 in all public establishments and establishments accessible to the public, as well as in schools, cafeterias and all educational institutions and hostels in accordance with Article 24 of Royal Ordinance No. 2316 of 24 December 1934.

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Which restrictions are there for children/teens to visit public film screenings?


In accordance with Decree No. 2029 of the President of the Republic of 11 November 1963, an implementing ordinance for Act No. 161 of 21 April 1962 on the review of films and theatrical performances, films and theatrical works are to be deemed prohibited for minors even if they do not represent violations of bonos mores (in accordance with Article 6 of the Act) if they contain vulgar remarks or gestures, indulge in immoral behavior, show erotic or violent scenes featuring people or animals or scenes showing surgical procedures or hypnotic and mediumistic phenomena, if the latter are presented in particularly vivid form, as well as films and theatrical performances which incite hatred or feelings of revenge, which present criminal acts in such a way as to encourage imitation or which present suicide in a suggestive manner. There are access restrictions for the projection and viewing of films and theatrical works for children under the age of 14 and 18 years based on Act No. 161 of 21 April 1962, Review of Films and Theatrical Performances, as well as subsequent amendments (Decree No. 3 of 8 January 1998). These restrictions are determined from time to time by an ad-hoc commission which exercises "censorial" authority.

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Are children/teens allowed to smoke in public?


Since the Anti-Smoking Act (Act No. 3 of 16 January 2003) took effect, and upon approval of the implementing ordinance for that law, which provides definitions for public corporations, places of work, premises used for leisure activities and premises assigned to private groups, smoking is now prohibited in all public buildings, with the sole exception of private rooms which are not accessible to the public, as well as public areas which are expressly reserved for smokers.

Of course, Act 3/1002 applies to minors. Additionally, in accordance with Royal Ordinance No. 2316 of 24 December 1934, youths under the age of 16 are prohibited from smoking in public under threat of an administrative penalty, so that the latter group is prohibited from smoking even in areas of public buildings which are specifically designated for smokers (Act 3/2003).

The Ordinance prohibits the sale and dissemination of tobacco products to persons under the age of 14 pursuant to Article 730(2) of the Criminal Code.

There have recently been spirited debates in this context with respect to cigarette vending machines, which remain accessible to persons of all ages. In order to protect the health of minors, the Director General of the Special State Monopolies Administration (AAMS) ordered as follows in Circular No. 2003/25137, that: "as of 1 January 2004, cigarette vending machines are to be deactivated between the hours of 7 AM and 11 PM using a timer provided for this purpose so as to allow them to function only during hours when minors have difficulty accessing these machines." The order in question is meant to protect the health of minors by preventing them from buying cigarettes in violation of the prohibition in accordance with Royal Decree No. 2316 of 24 December 1934. However, it encountered displeasure and dismay from the associations of the affected economic sector, who expressed their opposition and even demanded that the aforementioned Circular be annulled, holding that the time limit for operation of the vending machines is unacceptable and viewing the measure as a whole to be unsuitable for the purpose of preventing the spread of smoking among the youth, a phenomenon with much deeper social and familial roots.

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Is it allowed for children/teens to go to internet café?


no information yet.

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Which restrictions are there about carrying knifes, martial arts equipment, weapons?


In accordance with Italian law, the following are viewed as weapons: firearms and all other weapons whose natural purpose is violent assault upon another person, as well as all instruments with the potential for causing injury, explosives, tear gas, poisonous gases, bombs and any device or container filled with explosive materials, poisonous gas or tear gas (see Articles 585 and 704 of the Criminal Code). In accordance with Royal Ordinance No. 773 of 18 June 1931 approving the unified text of the Public Safety Laws, Article 44, a weapon permit may not be issued to a minor still in the custody of his parents. However, prefects are authorized to issue weapon permits for long firearms, for hunting purposes only, to minors above the age of 16 who present the written consent of their parent or legal guardian and who furnish evidence that they are experienced in the handling of the weapon.

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Which regulations are there concerning sexual relations with children/teens?


Sexual relations and contact between adults and minors under the age of 14 or 16 are prohibited. Sexual relations between minors are permitted, provided the difference in age between the two persons is less than 3 years and provided neither of the two is less than 13 years of age (see Article 609 quarter of the Criminal Code).

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Which restrictions are there if foreign young people want to work temporarily?


The minimum age for employment is 15 years, coinciding with the end of compulsory education. This minimum is raised to 16 years in special cases, as provided for in Article 3 of Act No. 977 of 17 October 1967, Occupational Safety for Children and Teenagers.

The same principle applies for foreign teenagers, except for the need to regulate their stay in Italian territory in accordance with the laws in effect. There is an option available to collect experience in unpaid "work camps," which are organized by associations of the volunteer services.

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To which institutions can children/teens turn to if they need help?


If youth safety laws are violated, a complaint can be filed with the police authorities, such as the Carabinieri, the state police, which maintains a separate office for youth affairs at the provincial level, and the municipal police.

For problems in connection with relationship difficulties and problems of a social or psychological nature, people can turn to the social services which exist in every municipality or to the local health care facilities maintained by the government of each socio-sanitary district.

In order to help find a contact person for such matters, there is also a national public hotline which people call to report family problems in connection with maltreatment and sexual abuse (the call number is 114). There are also hotlines run by associations, including Telefono Azzurro.

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Useful internet sites about youth protection


no information.

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More information


Ambasciata Germania Berlino Sociale, Ufficio Sociale, 2012

For the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of the information we can not guarantee.