On Saturday night, we went to a place called La Toscana to celebrate a friend's birthday. It was pouring with rain, but even so, we were able to sit outside in the bar behind the restaurant. I'm pretty sure that the reason that you can do this in Italy is the smoking ban. Italy was one of the first countries to ban smoking in indoor public places but the combination of millions of smokers and the Italian penchant for disregarding the rules means that bar owners have just put up tents in their beer gardens where, technically, you are outside and therefore allowed to smoke. The ban doesn't seem to have had any effect on the number of smokers in the country so all that happens is that you end up either being roasted by a patio heater or shivering from the draughts as well as breathing in clouds of second-hand smoke.
The cynical part of me suspects that this is what happens every time the Italian tries to solve a problem by imposing its will on an unwilling people. It creates new problems without solving the old one.