According to Dr Karl:
And in 16th century Naples, in Italy, kissing was an offence that carried the death penalty.
Is that true?
Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
That exact phrase is repeated numerous times on what appears to be thousands of web sites. However, in the 50 that I took a look at, none of them sourced it. The best I have found is reference to a law passed on March 9th, 1562. Apparently an anti-obscenity law. As to how strictly it was enforced, I again am only getting references to the law itself (without any actual text of the law).
Given this pattern, I would suspect that perhaps an anti-obscenity law was passed on that date in Naples, but it was not strictly aimed at kissing, but other behaviour deemed immoral by the local magistrates/clergy/rulers. Kissing was just one thing mentioned.
I will continue to search for the original text of this law, but History is not my greatest subject, so I am leaving this as a wiki for the community.
The book The Kiss and Its History, translated into English in 1901, says:
The question of kissing by main force can be treated not only from an ethical, but also from a juristic point of view. Holberg relates that in Naples the individual who kissed in the street a woman against her will was punished by not being allowed to approach within thirty miles distance of the spot where the outrage had taken place