In a video posted on the Facebook page of Padua's mayor Massimo Bitonci, local councillor Fabrizio Boron and council president Roberto Marcato hold up a price list seized from the salon.
It includes a variety of services which are priced differently according to whether the customer is “black” or “white”.
While a haircut costs €10 for a white person, a black person pays just €6. Other treatments were also priced differently.
“This is racism. We in Padua are against racism. Whoever defends this is racist,” says Boron in the video.
“Padova, no apartheid,” adds Marcato.
The hairdresser, who is from a country in Sub-Saharan Africa, said she was surprised by the complaint, saying the difference in price reflected the time she spent on each customer.
“It's not racism. I make black people pay less because with them I'm finished in ten minutes. White people ask for more, wash, cut, gel. They need 40 [minutes],” she told local paper Il Mattino di Padova.
She has been accused of violating the anti-discrimination Mancino law.
The racism claims in Padua come days after the Senagalese father of a 14-year-old pupil at a school in Pisa complained to police after his daughter allegedly received a series of anonymous racist letters.
The girl, described as a model student who hopes one day to become a lawyer, received six letters in which she was insulted because of her academic ability and the colour of her skin.