Wednesday, December 23, 2009


This is an article of mine which was published in Italy Magazine yesterday. I thought you might enjoy it:


Poking your tongue out in order to insult someone became a crime in Italy on Friday when the Cassazione, Italy’s highest Court of Appeal, upheld a farmer’s conviction for doing so.

Last year the farmer, Carlo O…. from Fabriano [Marche] walked into a field belonging to a neighbour with whom he had often quarrelled and poked his tongue out at him. Unfortunately for Mr O his neighbour immortalised the moment with a camera phone and then took this evidence to a Justice of the Peace who ordered Mr O to pay compensation. At the appeal hearing Mr O said that the gesture was a “grimace” but the Court held that it was an insult. Now that his appeal has been turned down Mr O will have to pay his neighbour’s legal costs of 1,300 euros as well as damages. The amount will have to be decided in another, civil court process. Mr O’s criminal penalty has not been made public.

Italy has strict laws regarding “insult” which, under Article 594 of the Penal Code, is often seen as a slur on the victim’s dignity or honour. It is punishable by six months’ imprisonment plus a fine of up to 516 euros. In cases that amount to a slander committed in front of many people the penalties can be doubled. Under Friday’s ruling poking your tongue out or sneering at someone are regarded as offences to their honour.

Albert Einstein might have to be careful if he were in Italy at the moment.


Ellee Seymour said...

I never knew that, but I never stick my tongue out anyway, so i won't embarrass you when I visit Sicily.

Here's wishing you and Simi a very happy Christmas, and I look forward to reading all about it. x

RNSANE said...

Wow, we would be in big trouble here...and children would need to be taught early on ( as they should, anyway ) that sticking out their tongues is impolite and must not be done!

Good article!

Sean Jeating said...

Poking out my tongue at all who are meant.
Looking forward Mr Berlusconi and/or any other idiot (not only in the classical sense!) to sue me.
And now this agnostic is wishing a Merry Christmas!

Portlandier said...

Good to know when I visit someday!Good story!

Unknown said...

Italy has some strange laws. Have they ever passed one that requires drivers who are pissed off at other drives to keep at least one hand on their steering well while making obscene gestures? If not, they should.

I see that you have that neat header pic centered! Good for you.

If I don't get around tomorrow, Merry Christmas to you and to Simi!

Devonshire Dumpling said...

Happy Christmas to you and Simi with love from me and Raki

Gledwood said...

Have a merry one and a fantastic 2010!


James Higham said...

Buon Natale a voi e possono tutti i vostri sogni vengono allineare. Dia il mio amore a Simi.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Ellee. I don't either but you never know... Buon Natale xx Ciao, Carmen. Thanks & Merry Xmas! Hi, Sean. Buon Natale to you. Thanks, Miss B & Merry Xmas. Hi, Nick. Not that I know of but it's a good idea! Buon Natale to you & ALex from Simi & me. Merry Xmas to you both, DD. Ciao, James. Glielo dirò. Buon Natale da noi due. Buon Natale e Buon Anno, Gleds.


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