Can You Carry a Knife in Italy?


Pocket Knife in a table

Many people wonder if it is legal to carry a knife in Italy. It is always useful to have one with you, but you could get into trouble if you don’t know all the laws. So, I did some research to clarify all your doubts about this topic.

So, can you carry a knife in Italy? According to Art. 4 of Law No.110 of 1975, you need a justified reason to carry a knife in Italy. The reason must be related to its normal use and your current location. Also, it is strictly forbidden to carry knives with double-edged blades.

There is a lot more you should know to carry a knife legally in Italy. Also, there are some rules and precautions you need to follow before you take one with you in the streets.

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Carrying a Knife in Public

If you want to take a knife in public, you need a good reason why you are carrying it. This is because any knife could become a weapon in the wrong hands. So, the Italian laws are very strict when it comes to having arms.

But don’t be afraid, it is unlikely you will have any issue with the police. You should be fine as long as you are not caught in any illegal activity. If you understand all the rules, you will be able to carry your knife without any fear.   

Justified Reasons To Carry a Knife: What Does That Mean?

With “justified reason,” the law means that must have a credible reason to carry the knife. It needs to be related to a specific need depending on the blade itself. For instance, you can’t just say, “I have this machete to peel an apple.” Your reason must be credible.

Another thing you should have in mind is the place and the situation. You can’t justify having a huge nine-inch blade in the train station, even if you take all safety rules. It is all about where you will use it and why you need it. 

And what if you practice any sort of sports like fishing, hiking or camping? Can you still carry a knife? The answer is YES! You can carry your knife perfectly fine as long as you show that you will do these activities. I recommend that you don’t give a generic answer, but be clear on how you will use it.

Can I Carry a Knife for Self-Defense?

No, self-defense isn’t a valid reason to carry a knife. You will need a reason to apply for a license to do so, but I wouldn’t go for it. You are unlikely to face safety issues in Italy. 

Should You Carry or Transport a Knife?

There is a difference between carrying and transporting a knife. In the first case, you are bringing it with you in your body. The knife is easily accessible, and you could use it in any given moment.

Transporting, on the other hand, means moving a knife inside a baggage or car trunk to another place. In this instance, you don’t have immediate availability to the “weapon.” So, you don’t need a justified reason to transport your knife as long as it is legal.

It is always better to put the knife in a carrying case instead of in your pocket. But remember that you need a valid reason if you want to put it inside your pocket.

I’m not saying to avoid carrying a knife in your pocket completely, but be careful when you do so. Also, try not to display it too much, especially in crowded areas.

Where You Can’t Carry a Knife in Italy

There are some places that you can’t bring any model of knife for whatever reason you have. If you do, you will probably have a bad time, stress, and many fines to pay. It isn’t worth the risk, just leave it at home.

Even if the knife is legal, don’t carry it in places like:

  • Football Stadiums
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Schools
  • Church
  • Shopping Centers
  • Courts 
  • Inside any area where you can’t justify a knife

Italian Knife Laws: Which One You Can Carry

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to which knife you can carry in Italy. Some people say it can’t be larger than four fingers, and others say otherwise. But what is the truth? What exactly does the law say? 

Firstly, you need to understand the difference between Armi Proprie and Armi Improprie. You can find every detail of these two concepts in Art. 585-704 of the Italian Penal Code and in the Art. 42 Par. 3 of the TULPS. But now I’m going to explain to you the essential ideas of both.

  1. Armi Proprie. These are weapons made to offend and harm other people. The knives in this category have double-edge blades or a sharp tip. You can never carry or transport them in any situation, except when you to go to the armory.
  2. Armi Improprie. These are cutting tools suitable to offend and harm other people. Unlike Armi Proprie, these knives have a single edge blade. You can always carry them if you have a justified reason.
Legal Knives to Carry in Italy comparation

Does the Length of the Knife Matters?

Despite what other people say, the length of the knife doesn’t matter when carrying it. A big mistake is to think that all small knives are legal to carry. If your two inches knife has the characteristics of Armi Proprie, you can’t bring it. 

But if your small knife is an Arma Impropria (single edge blade), you can carry it if you have a valid reason. So, what makes the difference is not the length of the blade, but the characteristics.

Legal Knives to Carry (With a Valid Reason)

These are some examples of knives that you can carry with a justified reason in Italy (Armi Improprie):

  • Pocket knife
  • Kitchen knives
  • Butterfly knives (with a single edge blade)
  • Machetes
  • Smatchet knife 
  • Yakutian knife
  • Bushcraft knives
  • Multi-Tool knives
  • Leatherman knives
  • Opinel knives
  • Other knives with a unique edge blade

Remember that it all depends on where you are. You can’t justify a machete in the center of the city, but you can do it in a rural area for farming or camping purposes.

Illegal Knives to Carry

As I said before, there are some knives that you can never carry for any reason in Italy. It is not totally forbidden to buy them, but you need a special license. Some examples of illegal knives to bring in public are:

  • Daggers
  • Switchblades
  • Butterfly knives (with a double-edge blade)
  • Shuriken
  • Gravity knives
  • Military knives
  • Sharp swords
  • Kusarigama
  • Spring knives
  • Bayonets
  • Other knives with double-edge blades or a pointed tip

Risks of Carrying a Knife in Italy

You could get into trouble if you don’t give a good reason why you are carrying a knife. The fines start from 1.000 to 10.000 euros and an arrest warrant from six months to two years. The only way to avoid it is by offering a justified reason to the police at that exact moment.

However, it is unlikely you will have any problem with the police and cops. If you are respectful and humble, they are likely to turn a blind eye. Just do what they tell you and use your common sense. If you don’t have any reason to carry a knife, why should you do it? Don’t risk your time and money unnecessarily, simply leave it at home if you don’t need it.

Risks of Carrying Illegal Knives

If you carry any illegal knife as I mentioned before, you will face a criminal trial and a sentence of eighteen months to three years in prison. There is never a valid reason to take them, even if you go fishing or hunting. Leave these at home all the time.

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