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Has Milan really banned ice cream?

After-hours takeaways might soon face restrictions as the city battles late-night noise complaints

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly

Just like loads of Italian cities, Milan has a great nightlife scene and a cracking roster of bars, after which plenty of people – tourists and locals alike – often fancy grabbing a late-night snack. 

But that could all be about to change. Noise complaints in Italy’s second city have been a problem for a while – in fact, we reported back in November that residents of the vibrant Pora Venezia area had threatened to sue City Hall

This led to a temporary ban on late-night takeaways in the area, but now it looks like that could spread to more of the city’s nightlife districts. 

Marco Granelli, deputy mayor for public security, told the Standard that ‘The goal is to seek a balance between socialising and entertainment, and the peace and tranquillity of residents.’

A legislative paper has been filed by the city’s local government, meaning all takeaway food could be banned after 12.30am on weekdays and 1.30am on weekends. While this ban isn’t specific to ice cream, there has been a particular uproar from people over the potential lack of gelato – and we don’t blame them. 

It’s typical for an Italian family to go for a post-dinner stroll and grab some ice cream, and many think interfering with something so integral to Italian culture isn’t going to be very popular. 

If passed, the law could remain in place from May until November. ‘A sizable segment of the population is complaining about excessive noise,’ said Mayor Giuseppe Sala, ‘I have to listen to all citizens, including those who have to work and those who want to do their business.’

There’s obviously a tricky balance to strike between what the local residents want and what local businesses need – a fair few vendors are worried about how the ban will affect their earnings. 

But the other question is whether a ban like this would actually be effective. ‘Do you think a 25-year-old is going to go home at the stroke of midnight simply because they can’t get a takeout?’ said Marco Barbieri, secretary general for the Milan unit of Confcommercio, the Italian retailers’ association, to the Observer

Citizens have until early next month to lodge an appeal or suggest amendments to the proposal. Justice for gelato. 

Here is our roundup of the best way to spend 48 hours in Milan, and our list of the city’s best restaurants

Did you see that Venice has officially launched its tourist tax?

Plus: Italy has implemented a one-way system for some hiking trails.

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