Metal Detecting in Italy


Jr. Member
Jun 5, 2008
Hello Everyone,

It looks like I maybe having a chance to travel to Italy soon. I'll be staying in Tuscany Italy near the beach. Can anyone tell me if it is legal to metal detect there? I'm sure that archological sites are a big no-no. And I'm sure that if I found an old relic on the beach i'd need to turn it in. But what about metal detecting on the beaches in general?



Gold Member
Mar 23, 2007
Salinas, CA
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Detector(s) used
Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
Many years ago, someone (from England I think) put together this compendium of the various laws of the various European countries:

Notice how nearly every single one of these, as dire sounding as it/they may be, continues to float words like "archaeological", "historical" and "antiquities". And with origination dates that pre-date detectors (at least for their origin). Thus to keep in compliance, seems to me that you/we are only looking for "modern change" and "modern loss tourist jewelry", etc... right? (I mean, is anyone really standing over your shoulder with a calculator doing the math on age of coins?)

Put it this way: As dire sounding as some of the cited laws on that website are, there seem to be no lack of md'rs in some, or most, of those countries. They are either hunting farmer's lands, with permission (thus outside the laws that apply to public lands), or hunting places where it's ignored (not meant to be applied).

For example: This came up for example, awhile back on a beach hunting forum, where someone who had just returned from Spain, proudly displayed their nice take of gold rings they'd found on a tourist beach there (to the tune of several gold rings per day!). Someone else on the thread "took exception" to their post, saying that detecting in Spain was illegal, and citing this link as their proof. But the hunter had not had any problems, and no one seemed to care :dontknow: In fact, if I'm not mistaken, there are even dealers in Spain & Italy, etc... (a check of the various manufacturer's websites would verify this). Logic dictates they're selling their machines to someone, who is ... presumably ..... using them?

So sometimes those "dire sounding" laws that were gathered for purposes of a website like that, apply to federal lands only (or sensitive archaeological sites). Or to things like exporting gold bars, shipwreck salvor stuff, raiding the pyramaids, etc... But for casual hobbyist beach stuff .......when antiquites is not in the issue, well ..... Afterall, you're looking for current losses, eh? Or the wedding ring your wife just lost yesterday, right? :-*

The same confusion has sometimes ensued when someone asks "Is metal detecting in Mexico allowed?" Even though detectors are a common site on tourist beaches in the carribean and mexico, yet someone can seem to find verbage that disallows it :dontknow:

We've all seen the "no one cares, till you ask" psychology on city levels (parks, schools, etc...) right? Well believe it or not, it can occur on the national level too.

U.K. Brian

Bronze Member
Oct 11, 2005
Detector(s) used
XLT, Whites D.F., Treasure Baron, Deepstar, Goldquest, Beachscan, T.D.I., Sovereign, 2x Nautilus, various Arado's, Ixcus Diver, Altek Quadtone, T2, Beach Hunter I.D, GS 5 pulse, Searchman 2 ,V3i
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Tom seems to have made a profession of suggesting you can detect anywhere, anytime. The fact is there are very few countries where you cannot detect subject to following a few rules ie sites of special scientific interest, archaelogical sites as you realised, graveyards and war graves (this can be a whole beach if say there was a troop landing in the war). There can then be local byelaws. These could mean a total ban or just as in Spain a restriction on detecting times.

People relaxing in the sun don't want someone digging right next to them and throwing sand all over their towel, camera etc. Thus you would be restricted to detecting early morning or evening. Detecting inland even with the landowners permission is at your own risk. If your not seen your O.K. A detectorist from Portugal said they have an arrangement with the police, if they don't see you they don't arrest you. Sums it up.

If you go to the Caribbean/Latin America etc most places let you detect on the beach but have strict rules that apply a few times a year where local wildlife (like turtle nests) would be disturbed.

To get back to your question you should be O.K. on most of the Italian beaches. There may be the odd sensitive site but they would be signposted. I've detected inland with the landowners permission though there is a "date" rule. As with some other countries with the possibility of ancient finds you can't detect for really old stuff, say pre 1500 or 1600, but can search for more modern finds and accidently locate older. You then come into a set of rules as how to act.
You should have no problems because you already know the restrictions. If the police do roll up and order you to leave you can argue the point and may well get arrested. Best to say your sorry and move on. If your certain you did have the right to detect there you can always go to the police station or town hall to check then if your in the right come back the next day.

Have a great time !


Jr. Member
Jun 5, 2008
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Thanks for the advice Guys. I'll check back occasionally to see if anyone reports any personal experiences. Thanks again. :headbang:


Jr. Member
Feb 22, 2005
Depending on where you plan on digging, be aware of UXO left over from WW2....

UXO = Unexploded Ordnance.

Have fun and make sure your camera batteries are charged so we get some great pics. :icon_thumright:


Jr. Member
Jun 23, 2017
Detector(s) used
Nokta Fors Relic
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Old thread but might add a few words..

You can both buy a metal detector and use it in Italy, but the law says it's not allowed to use it of archaeological interest. However, the law is very strict here in theory, but in practice it's not that strict. As long as you hunt on private land that doesn't have anything of archaeological interest, you should be good. And remember to ask the owner for permission. If you don't and the owner sees you, they will most likely call the police / carabinieri and when they arrive they will take your metal detector. You should try to avoid the carabinieri here, be sneaky. But don't be a nighthawk, that might end up badly.

OBS:exclamation: If you're an idiot and would dig in archaeological zones, you're in for some huge fines and you'll most likely spend some time behind bars. They have no mercy for tomb raiders.
And i like it that way.:icon_thumright:
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