Last February,[1] the Italian Supreme Court ruled that punitive damages are unenforceable because they are against public policy.   The Italian high court has had this stance for several years. 
Punitive damages are traditionally an American practice.  Italians, however, do not believe in punitive damages.  Some courts find them “offensive.”  In the Italian system, the sole goal of tort lawsuits is to compensate the victims for their losses.  Punitive damages, however, are designed to punish the wrongdoer, reward the plaintiff for enforcing the law, thus improving society.


Italian courts, however, will enforce judgments that have punitive damages, so long as the compensatory damages can be clearly separated from those of the punitive damages.  


While some scholars still maintain that other courts would be more accepting of punitive damage awards, the Italian high court remains firmly reliant on its precedent, rejecting the idea. 


[1] Cassazione 8 February 2012, n. 1781/2012 Soc. Ruffinatti v. Oyola-Rosado.