A Muslim tourist wearing a niqab – a traditional garment worn by women in public, which leaves only their eyes on show – was stopped from entering an Italian museum by police on Wednesday.
When she refused the request and demanded to know why she was not being permitted access to the museum, staff called the police, who eventually convinced the woman to show her face so they could check her identity.
After she was identified, the woman and her husband were granted access to the museums, but they chose not to enter.
Although Italian law does not forbid the wearing of the burka or niqab, since 1975 it has been forbidden to walk around public spaces with your face covered – for example, by a scarf or motorbike helmet ‘without a valid reason’.
In a controversial move last December, Veneto’s neighbouring province of Lombardy amended these laws making it illegal to walk around in public wearing the either the niqab or burka.