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No sandcastles please, you're in Italy

ROME (Reuters) - When in Capri, don't wander off the beach in a bikini. If you go to the sea in Eraclea, near Venice, remember that building sandcastles is forbidden. And don't even think about mowing your lawn at the weekend in Forte dei Marmi.

Emboldened by a nationwide crackdown on crime and a government decree giving them extra law-and-order powers, Italian mayors have issued a string of often bizarre by-laws to enhance "public decorum."

Public displays of affection in a car can earn you a fine of up to 500 euros ($745) in Eboli, feeding pigeons is off-limits in the centre of Lucca while in Novara groups of more than two people are forbidden from lounging around in parks at night.

Italian newspapers have dubbed this year's holiday season "the summer of bans." But this week one town hall was forced to acknowledge things may have gone too far.

Rodrigo Piccoli, 33, called national radio to protest after he was fined 50 euros for lying down in a park in the northern city of Vicenza to read a book. The mayor has since promised to drop the ban.

(Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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