Italy has voted last week to phase out all animal acts in circuses and traveling shows.
Following a vote in the Assembly of the Parliament, rules for implementation of the new legislation will be set out next year by a Ministerial decree.
The ban - which will see an estimated 100 circuses that exploit 2,000 animals shut down - has been hailed by animal rights organizations Animal Defenders International [ADI] and Lega Anti Vivisezione.
The groups organized a workshop at the Senate educating Italian legislators about the inherent cruelty that occurs in animal circuses, followed by a screening of award-winning movie Lion Ark - which showcases the ADI's rescue of every circus animal in Bolivia after a ban.
Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International said: "Traveling from place to place, week after week, using temporary collapsible cages and pens, circuses simply cannot provide for the needs of the animals.
"Through ADI’s undercover investigations we have shown the violence and abuse that is used to force these animals to obey and perform tricks.
"We applaud Italy and urge countries like the UK and the USA to follow this example and end this cruelty."
The British Veterinary Association added: "The welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within a travelling circus - in terms of housing or being able to express normal behavior."
Italy is the 41st country to pass a legislation that bans circus animals, with India being the latest.
Wales and Scotland are also in talks to ban animals in circuses.