Italy ministry tells town to take down ‘Christians only’ signs

Italy’s Ministry of Infrastructure has told the authorities of a town in Lombardy to remove road signs advising those entering to respect Christian values.

Italy ministry tells town to take down 'Christians only' signs
The signs went up before Christmas. Photo: Comune di Pontoglio

The signs, put up before Christmas, inform drivers approaching Pontoglio, a town of almost 7,000 residents in Brescia province, about its “profound Christian traditions”, warning anyone caught disrespecting those would be asked to leave.

Needless to say, the signs sparked controversy and after months of wrangling the final word has come from the Ministry of Infrastructure, which said they must be taken down within the next two weeks as they “do not respect the Highway Code”, Giornale di Brescia reported.

Mayor Alessandro Seghezzi had been granted permission from the local council to erect the signs at entrances to the town, explaining in a letter in December that the move was 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 added that the town’s culture is “based on mutual respect: from women and music to dress, customs and traditions”.

Meanwhile, 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.”



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