Sleepless nights

Bars and discos fined for noise pollution

Editorial Staff
June 16, 2011

Can't sleep because of the noise from the pub or bar near your home or apartment? Residents in Florence's historic city centre know all too well the effects of this kind of noise pollution. However, it is also a problem that afflicts many living in Italy's bigger urban centres.


In a precedent-setting ruling during a penal case, however, Italy's Court of Cassation recently determined that a resident and his family from Soleto, Lecce, who were subject to late-night noise from a nearby discopub, had the right to 5,000 euro in compensation from the pub's owner for ‘moral damages.' The pub's owner incurred an additional 300-euro fine for ‘disturbing the peace.'


Judges cited Article 659 from the Penal Code, which lists sanctions for those who disturb the peace. Although the legislation does not set a limit or standard on decibels, the law references ‘criteria based on normal sensibility and tolerability in a specific social-environmental context.' 


In its recent ruling, the court noted that ‘it is necessary that the noise pollution be a potential disturbance to the sleep and peace of a number of individuals, even if only one person officially complains of the disturbance.'



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