ROME — A mother of two boys aged 12 and 14 reported a topless bather to police because the way she applied suntan lotion was "troubling" her sons.
The 26-year-old sunbather, identified only as Luisa under Italian privacy laws, was questioned by officers, who have opened an obscenity investigation.
The mother had initially asked the woman, an assistant in a fashion store, to cover herself up as her "ample" breasts and the act of rubbing suncream on her body had disturbed the boys, she said.
The sunbather, who was on a public beach at Anzio south of Rome, refused. When police arrived, she remonstrated with them, still unclothed, to the amusement of other holidaymakers.
The case has triggered a wider debate in Italy about topless bathing.
On Wednesday, Gianluca Arrighi, the sunbather's lawyer, said: "Something like this happening in 2010 is absurd.
"My client was approached and asked to cover up by the woman and she simply asked her what her problem was.