Fact Check

Does Pic Show Italian Police Ticketing Woman for Wearing Bikini in 1950s?

The swimsuit caused a stir when it first emerged in 1946 and was banned from beaches in Italy during the 1950s.

Published Sep 7, 2021

 (Ullstein Bild via Reddit)
Image Via Ullstein Bild via Reddit
A black-and-white photograph, shared widely in September 2021, shows an Italian police officer issuing a ticket to a woman wearing a bikini in the 1950s.

In September 2021, an old photograph re-emerged online, showing what appeared to be a police officer issuing a ticket to a woman wearing a bikini on a beach. On Reddit, one popular post described the picture as follows:

A police officer ticketing a woman for wearing a bikini on a beach, which was illegal at the time in Italy, 1950s.

The picture has been posted online many times in recent years, with similar or identical descriptions of the scene. Those descriptions were accurate, so we are issuing a rating of "True."

The photograph was taken on a beach in Rimini, in northern Italy, in September 1957. It is held in the Ullstein photograph archive, owned by the German company Axel Springer Syndicate. Ullstein told Snopes details were not available about the photographer who captured the scene. 

Although we were not able to find the exact dates in question, bikinis were indeed banned from beaches in Italy during the 1950s, after the Vatican expressed its disapproval of the swimsuit, which was first marketed in 1946

In the collection of the German agency AKG Images, the photo carries the following caption:

On the beach of Rimini (Adriatic coast, Italy): A carabinieri issues a penalty ticket to a young woman wearing a bikini.



6 Mar 1955, 40 - The Boston Globe at Newspapers.Com. Newspapers.Com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/433338318/. Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.
Akg-Images -. https://www.akg-images.co.uk/archive/-2UMDHUU70MDQ.html. Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.
GmbH, Axel Springer Syndication. "Ullstein Bild." Axel Springer Syndication GmbH, https://www.ullsteinbild.de/?42247603551501367106&42247603551501367106=&MEDIANUMBER=00813150&LCID=2. Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.
RPBot. "A Police Officer Ticketing a Woman for Wearing a Bikini on a Beach in Italy, 1948." R/HistoryFans, 18 July 2017,
The History of the Bikini. https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/history-of-the-bikini-fashion-evolution/. Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.

Dan Mac Guill is a former writer for Snopes.