Drinking age in Italy
The legal drinking age in Italy is 16. That is somewhat younger than most countries in the region. However, South Tyrol is a little different. They prohibit getting served or buying for anyone under the age of 18 years old. Everyone is forbidden from being in a state of intoxication. There is no legal minimum age when you can start drinking alcohol though, and 16 is just the age for when you can purchase and drink alcohol in public. With all the great, delicious pizza and pasta in Italy, you’re definitely going to want to start enjoying alcohol as soon as possible, so you can have it with your meal.
It is legal to drink alcohol as long as its provided by your parents at an early age. The Italian Codice Penale specifically says that a bartender or restaurant owner can be prosecuted for giving alcohol to any minor that is under the age of 16 years old, as well as a person that has a mental infirmity. Some restaurants and establishments won’t serve the minor even if they’re with their parents. The law, however, is not enforced all that often. Italy is a very liberal country when it comes to minors’ alcohol consumption. There are a lot of minors in Italy that regularly enjoy alcohol with their parents and friends because it is a part of the Italian cultural tradition, and it is absolutely normal, and it is not seen as weird at all.
This would not be the case in the United States that minors would be given such a leeway in consuming alcohol. There is not much of a cultural tradition, at least in recent centuries, of minors consuming alcohol for the sake of enjoyment, as a socially appropriate thing. In Italy, in the Old World, it is far different. There are laws for the protection of very young minors, but otherwise it is seen as a normal thing to drink alcohol at a young age.
Drinking wine with dinner every night in Italy is very common, and you shouldn’t be surprised to see children there that are drinking wine with their parents at dinner. Don’t act surprised or angry if you see something like this at a restaurant or inn because it is standard in the Italian cultural tradition. The laws are much more liberal all over Europe in general, and they’re not as strictly enforced.
Drinking wine with meals is an ancient customary practice that has been alive and well in Italy for hundreds of years and continues to this day. As in most of the rest of the European continent, this tradition is quickly taught to the younger members of the family, and they’re allowed to drink at the dinner table with meals. A glass of wine at the table is nothing to be concerned about by most members of the Italian citizenry. The same liberal laws apply to the tourists and guests that are visiting there. Younger children that go on trips with their parents there should enjoy the wine.