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Understand The Drone Laws In Italy With This Guide

The drone laws in Italy are steeped in a wide range of very detailed regulations that you’ll need to know if you are planning on bringing your drone to Italy.

drone laws in Italy - Flying

Drones In Rome

Can I Fly Following The Drone Laws In Italy?

The quick answer to the question is: Yes, you can fly a drone in Italy in general but the specific regulations of where you want to fly it is regulated by the National Agency for Civil Aviation (Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile – ENAC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

There are limits to the altitude you can fly, depending on the type of drone. You must maintain visual contact, only during the day, and the distance can not be more than 500 meters. Although there are exceptions and dispensations, generally, you can not fly near residential areas, airports, heliports, military bases, public utilities and archaeological sites.

Do The Drone Laws In Italy Apply If I’m A Non-EU Resident?

If you are coming to Italy from the US, or any non-EU country, you will need to follow a couple of steps before you begin to operate your drone. First, you will need to be registered as a drone operator with ENAC. Once you register, you will receive an Operator Registration number that will need to be attached to every drone you intend on flying in Italy.

Do The Drone Laws In Italy Allow Me To Pilot in Rome?

When you consider even the short list of limitations for flying a drone in Italy that I detailed above, you can quickly see that flying a drone near anything interesting in Rome would not be allowed without special permission. You can’t fly over populated areas and over archaeological sites, so that is quite limiting.

From the ENAC website:

“When operating in an Open Category, operations must not be conducted near or over roads or railways as there will be uninvolved people in that area. The only exception is in the sub-category A1 but limited to drones weighing under 250 g or with C0 marking as, according to UAS.OPEN.020 (2), only these drones can fly over people not involved as long as there is no crowd. However, keep in mind that high-traffic roads (such as a motorway) can be considered equivalent to gatherings of people and therefore no Open category drone operation will be allowed on them.”

Can I Fly A Drone Over:

  • The Colosseum – Not unless you applied for and received a permit to fly ahead of time.
  • Vatican City – Drone use is banned in Vatican City, without special permission, which you can imagine would be hard to get for a random tourist.
  • Venice – Not without prior legal authorization. Venice is an ATZ (Aerodrome Traffic Zone) and an Urban Zone, and these two zones are almost no-fly zones without a special authorization by ENAC.
  • The Amalfi Coast – Assuming you are correctly registered as a drone operator, you will also need to register your flight to be able to fly over the coast.

Don’t Be These Guys Who Don’t Follow The Drone Laws In Italy:

I’ve written about being a bad tourist in Italy, and this included drone operators. For example:

“In 2022, a tourist was charged with flouting strict no-fly zone rules after crashing a drone into the roof of a prominent monument in central Rome in the latest drone-related tourist mishap in Italy.

The Argentinian man, 39, had been flying his drone in Piazza Venezia when he lost control of the device and sent it crashing into the roof of Palazzo Venezia, a 15th-century building from where the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini delivered some of his most famous speeches.

The drone was recovered by the building’s security staff before being seized by police, who reported the tourist for failing to comply with a no-fly drone zone over the city, according to reports in the Italian media.”

Not to be outdone:

“In 2020, a 40-year-old tourist from Poland crashed his drone inside the Colosseum despite having been warned that piloting the device inside the ancient amphitheater was banned.” 

And to help drive the point home:

“In July 2019, a 61-year-old man was charged with an “attack against transport security” after flying his drone above Rome at an altitude of 2,000 meters. The man, who was a member of a Facebook page for drone fanatics, was reported after his device was seen by a professional pilot. 

Luckily, in these incidents there were no reports of damage to monuments due to the impact of crashing drones. Penalties and fines for violating drone rules can be quite severe and can range from €516 to €64,000.

What If My Drone Is Stolen

In the event of the theft of your drone, in order that you (or the operator) aren’t held responsible for malicious use of the stolen drone, ENAC recommends that you make note of the serial number of your drone, or if you registered the serial number on the d-flight portal, and report it to the Police (Questura).

Who To Contact

If you see videos posted online that were made in potentially dangerous or illegal conditions, or if you suspect someone might have been injured, you should reach out to the provincial Police station (Questura) and let them know.

Other Related Posts For Drone Enthusiasts

The drone laws in Italy can be tricky for new pilots, but there are some other considerations that you should be aware of that are explained for you in these posts:

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