Coronavirus in Italy: Some of the most surprising excuses people have used to leave home

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Despite tough restrictions imposed by the government in an effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged Italy, some people there have been finding ways to venture outside.

Under Italy's quarantine rules, anyone who wants to leave their home must fill out a form stating the reason for being outside and must submit it to law enforcement when asked. Under a government decree, people many leave home to buy groceries, work and walk their dog, among a limited set of activities.

The virus has sickened an estimated 101,739 people in Italy, including 11,591 deaths, the most of any country, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Attempts to evade the law have resulted in some clever excuses. Below is a small list of some excuses presented to police.


One man from Acilia, just south of Rome, said he was trying to win back an ex-fiancee who broke off their relationship a few hours earlier. He wrote just "love" on his form, Roma Today reported.


A man in his 20s wrote on his form that he was going to a friend's home to have dinner, a clear violation of the government's policy on gatherings. Meanwhile, two women lied and said they were visiting an elderly and sick aunt. After some digging by police, the aunt turned out to be a healthy 40-year-old woman.

Smoking habits

One man traveling from Formello to Rome, a 30-mile drive south, said he was going to buy cigarettes.


Two men declared they were going shopping, only for police to find that they were selling drugs instead.


In Northern Italy's Padua, a man whom police stopped said he was under the impression that wine was considered a necessity and was looking to purchase a bottle.

Dog walking

English-language Italian news site The Local it reported that some people were exhausting their pets during walks in efforts to stay outside. The site reported some people walking their four-legged friends up to five times a day.

Some local mayors have had it with people violating orders to stay inside. Some have complained of people walking their cats, while one man claimed on his form that he was out feeding pigeons.

One mayor said he stopped a jogger with a visibly worn-out dog.

"I stopped him and said, 'Look, this isn't a movie. You are not Will Smith in 'I Am Legend.' Go home."


Another said he heard rumors that people wanted to throw graduation parties.

"We will send the police over," he said. "With flamethrowers."