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.”