Staff at Benventui al Sud in the village of Albisola, Liguria, broke strict licensing laws after they were caught bringing pizza slices to customers outside the shop, Il Secolo XIX newspaper reported.
The local law stipulates that outside dining is allowed only at a pizzeria and not a takeaway business.
Massimo Abategiovanni, who opened Benvenuti al Sud in April, admits breaking the rule but says the penalty is excessive.
“Our mistake was an act of kindness towards two customers that afternoon. But we never thought we would be met with a fine like this,” he told Il Secolo XIX.
But the mayor of Albisola, Franco Orsi, is standing firm on the matter and said that owners must stick to the rules of their licence as they come with certain benefits.
“They don’t pay for rubbish disposal and benefit from a more simple tax system,” Orsi told the newspaper. “But they cannot serve tables.”
Abategiovanni said he is unable to meet the €5,000 demand: “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.”