Italian town puts up ‘Christians only’ signs

If you’re planning a trip to the northern town of Pontoglio, be warned: you’ll be thrown out if you don’t respect Christian values.

Italian town puts up 'Christians only' signs
The 'welcome' sign of Pontoglio. Photo: Comune di Pontoglio.

A controversial sign has been put up by a roadside, telling drivers approaching Pontoglio that the Lombardy town of almost 7,000 inhabitants is one of “western culture and profound Christian traditions”.

The sign goes on to say that anyone caught disrespecting the town’s deep-rooted culture and local traditions would be asked to leave.

Mayor Alessandro Seghezzi was granted permission from the local council to erect the sign at entrances to the town, explaining in a letter that the move is intended to preserve the area’s values and culture, as well as keep citizens safe.

“Today we’re living in a transitory period,” he wrote.

“It’s our job to ensure that all comply with rules that govern civil life.”

Seghezzi told Corriere that the town’s culture is “based on mutual respect: from women and music to dress, customs and traditions”.

Local councillor Paolo Bocchi backed the move, insisting that there was “nothing racist about it”.

“These are just the interpretations being made…this is purely information about our history, our tradition. I challenge anyone to say that Pontoglio’s story is any different.”

But others lambasted the move, with Laura Castellletti, the deputy mayor of Brescia, saying: “I thought I lived in a secular state. I was also convinced that there was no state religion in Italy.”

In fact, Roman Catholicism ceased to be the state religion in 1984.

Many people took to Twitter to criticize the sign, with one saying: “What a beautiful Christian welcome?”

Although the sign was not obviously directed at Muslims, areas of the north have been strongly opposed to accommodating refugees from Syria and other conflict zone. There have also been several indications of rising anti-Muslim angst in the wake of the Paris attacks.

But this isn't the first time Brescia towns have used public sign posts to express their message.

Authorities in Capriolo and Prevalle recently spread their views against “gender ideology” via official town hall outdoor digital signs.


IN PHOTOS: Snowfall turns central Milan white

Wintry weather has arrived in many parts of northern Italy on Monday, with snow in Milan, Turin, Genoa and other areas.

IN PHOTOS: Snowfall turns central Milan white
Snow in central Milan on Monday morning. All photos: Migual Medina/AFP
While the Alps are already blanketed, areas at lower altitude got a covering of snow on Monday as the weather turned colder.
All photos: Migual Medina/AFP
Residents of central Milan woke up to find the city had turned white, after the first flakes fell overnight. Around 20 centimetres (8 inches) of snow fell in the city on Monday.
The cold weather didn't stop people from getting out into the fresh air, perhaps for the first time in days, with some loosening of coronavirus restrictions on Monday.
Falling trees disrupted traffic, with local authorities deploying dozens of snowploughs to clear main thoroughfares.
The storms caused tailbacks on several motorways, notably the A26 bound for Italy's largest commercial port of Genoa, capital of the Liguria region.
Main roads around Milan had been cleared on Monday morning, local media reports, but many others are still covered with snow.
Bad weather has caused disruption to train servces in Lombardy, Piedmont, Liguria, Veneto and other parts of the north.
The Great St Bernard Tunnel on the border with Switzerland was closed to heavy goods vehicles
With a typically humid climate, Milan rarely sees snow on a large scale but January 1985 notably saw 90 centimetres, with smaller falls in 2006 and 2009.
Rome was hit by heavy rain as well as strong winds and storms. The wintry weather was expected to move further south overnight

Unfortunately for snow tourists, Italy's ski resorts remain closed until at least January under the country's strict coronavirus rules.
All photos: Migual Medina/AFP
Winter weather words in Italian

la neve – snow

la nevicata – snowfall

i fiocchi – flakes

innevato – snow-covered

imbiancato – turned white

il gelo – ice

l'inverno – winter