The minimum age for buying alcohol will rise from 16 to 18 years of age according to new government measures announced this week to protect minors and prevent accidents on Italian roads. There will also be a total ban on the sale of alcohol in motorway service stations throughout the country between the hours of 22.00-06.00.

According to the Istituto Superiore di Sanit (the supervisory and research institute of the national health service) out of the seven million Italians that consume excessive quantities of alcohol, 800,000 are minors under the age of 16.

The institute also found that while the European average age for the first few beers, glasses of wine or designer drinks is 14 years of age in Italy it is between 11-12 years of age.

According to the World Health Organisation 1 out of 4 men between the ages of 15-29 lose their lives on Italian roads while driving under the influence.