The Italian Almanac

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is that art?

Italian News - December 15

Italians under the age of 18 must get their parents' permission if they want even a small tattoo, the country's highest appeals court ruled on Wednesday. A tattoo artist who satisfies a youngster's request without seeing written authorisation from mum or dad can be charged with causing "voluntary lesions" and hauled before judges, the Cassation Court said. The court issued its ruling at the end of a trial involving a Turin school girl who, as the beach season approached, had a four-centimetre tattoo etched into her skin without telling her parents.

The parents of the girl, identified only as Giulia D.R., appear to have been so outraged that they forced their daughter to have the image removed by laser and took the tattoo parlour involved to court. Cassation judges dismissed the parlour owner's claim that the tattoo was "very light and localised" and noted that any "bruises, scratches and abrasions" were illegal if carried out on a minor without parental consent.

There has been mounting concern in recent years over the health threats posed by unqualified people who carry out tattoos and body piercing on trusting youths. According to a study by social research institute Eurispes, one in five Italians between the ages of 12 and 18 have had a part of their body pierced (not their ears), while 6% have a tattoo.