A man hired to work as a waiter at a hotel in Italy had his job offer taken back because his employer told him they couldn't "put coloured guys in the dining area".

Paolo Grottanelli, 29, was hired at a hotel in the town of Cervia, north eastern Italy.

Grottanelli had applied for the summer job with his CV, which outlined his experience. However, he had his job offer retracted when he sent in his ID card, which contained a headshot of his face.

The employer at the hotel texted Grottanelli: "I'm sorry Paolo, but I can't put coloured guys in the dining area.

"In Romagna, many people have a backward mindset. Sorry, but I can't make you travel down. Bye."

Grotanelli was born in Brazil but was adopted at the age of three by a couple in Milan.

He told the Corriere della Sera newspaper he couldn't believe what the message said. "I wanted to call the hotelier and tell him what I thought about this violation of human rights," he said.

Grotanelli is seeking legal action via Filcams Cgil, an Italian union which represents people working in the tourism industry.