ALBISOLA, Italy, July 26 (UPI) -- The owner of an Italian pizzeria who was fined $6,634 for serving food to customers outside the shop says the penalty is excessive.
Massimo Abategiovanni, who opened the Benventui al Sud pizzeria in the village of Albisola in April, said he was fined after employees were caught violating licensing laws by bringing pizza slices to customers at an outdoor table, The Local.it reported Friday.
Abategiovanni concedes the restaurant broke the rules but he doubts the punishment fits the crime.
"Our mistake was an act of kindness toward two customers that afternoon. But we never thought we would be met with a fine like this," he told the Il Secolo XIX newspaper.
Albisola Mayor Franco Orsi said shop owners are expected to adhere strictly to the rules of their licenses.
"They don't pay for rubbish disposal and benefit from a more simple tax system," Orsi said of Abategiovanni's shop. "But they cannot serve tables."
Abategiovanni said he does not have enough money to pay the fine.
"We are not in the situation to pay, we risk ending up on our knees. We will talk to our lawyer to evaluate what we can do," he said.