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Sweeping in Italy

Italian Sweeping

Sweeping in Italy: An Overview

by Giovanni Fossa' with Ranger Kidwell-Ross

Editor's Note: We thank our Italian sweeping industry correspondent, Giovanni Fossa, for providing us with information about how street sweeping is conducted in Italy. Giovanni works for a municipality in Vicenza, Italy. Although he doesn't work specifically in the area of sweeping, Giovanni is, as he describes himself, "an enthusiast of trucks." Giovanni first became interested in the sweeping industry when looking for more information about a 1974 Mobil he and others were looking to restore for a proposed municipal equipment museum. WorldSweeper put Fossa in touch with Tri-State Equipment Rebuilding in the U.S., who were experts at restoring Mobil sweepers.

The restoration was successful and the museum project became a reality in 2014, at which time we wrote an article for the WorldSweeper website to describe how well the project turned out for the municipality after a little help from the city's new U.S.-based friends. Below, Giovanni describes how the power sweeping industry works in Italy.

In Italy about 20% of street sweeping is done directly by the municipalities and 80% by contractors. "Municipality" includes Town Councils, Town Halls or Commune (in Italian: "Comune"). A "contractor" is a company the Communes provide with a quota of actions (in Italian: "Municipalizzata").

Over the years, the Communes that make use of contractors have increased in number. There are no cases in which the contractor uses the sweepers of the Commune because the sweepers are fragile and there can be confrontations / objections in case of damage.

The maintenance of the sweepers is done by the contractor. because sweepers are so prone to breaking down there is not a rental market in Italy for sweepers. Frequently, there are small amounts of damage done to sweepers during use so whoever is using a sweeper must purchase their own units.

In Italy, the objectives of the cleaning are, in order of importance:

  1. Remove dirt/dust
  2. Remove little gravel scattered on the road with iceed surface during winter to stop cars from
  3. Keep people from slipping
  4. Remove cut grass from the edges of the roads
  5. To facilitate water running off along the edges of the road toward the gutters
  6. To remove pollutants from the air
In Italy there are currently no laws that are imposed with the intent of removing pollutants from streets. The frequency of the cleaning is arranged between the Commune and the contractor via contract; typically, downtown and residential neighbourhoods are more frequently cleaned. The principal roads, for example highways and government roads, are not cleaned by either the Communes or by their contractors. That is because these roads are owned by either the government or a corporation, for example "the motorway society" which will have its own sweepers and operate them with their own employees. Alternatively, they might hire a contractor to do the job.

The type of sweepers mostly used for street sweeping are vacuum-type sweepers, which are the most popular in Italy. Although regenerative air sweepers were used in past, they now are only used for sweeping in downtown areas or in pedestrian zones. The main brands of sweepers in use in Italy are:

Pedestrian zone and cycle paths are swept using small sweepers like Dulevos. These sweep about one meter of width at a time. In the pedestrian zones and when parking are swept there is also always a man with an air blower that is employed to push the dirt toward the sweeper. The law doesn't require any obligatory courses for the people before letting them operate a sweeper. However, contractors and the other organizations that do sweeping typically have a training course for their sweeper operators.

Giovanni Fossa Works for an Italian municipality and became interested in power sweepers when his organization was developing a Museum of municipal equipment. In 2011 he contacted's editor to get contacts in the US that could help them in refurbishing a 1974 Mobil sweeper. since then, he has provided such a large amount of information concerning the Italian sweeping industry that in 2017 Fossa was designated as someone 'Noteworthy in Sweeping' by the editorial staff of You may reach Giovanni Fossa via email sent to
Photo of Ceremony

The "Historical Garage of the Municipal Warehouses Montecchio Maggiore" (Vicenza – Italy), which we initially published an article about in April 2014, now has a website and a YouTube channel.

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