BACKGROUND: Novel tools are needed to reduce the nuisance and risk of exotic arbovirus transmission associated with the colonization of temperate regions by Aedes albopictus. The incompatible insect technique (IIT) is a population suppression approach based on cytoplasmic incompatibility between males with manipulated endosymbionts and wild females. Here, we present the results of the first field experiment in Europe to assess the capacity of an Ae. albopictus line (ARwP) deprived of its natural endosymbiont Wolbachia and transinfected with a Wolbachia strain from the mosquito Culex pipiens, to sterilize wild females. RESULTS: We released ∼ 4500 ARwP males weekly for 6 weeks in a green area within urban Rome (Italy) and carried out egg (N = 13 442), female (N = 128) and male (N = 352) collections. Egg (N = 13 783) and female (N = 48) collections were also carried out at two untreated control sites. The percentage of viable eggs during release was, on average, significantly lower in treated sites than in control sites, with the greatest difference (16%) seen after the fourth release. The ARwP to wild male ratio in the release spots between day 3 after the first ARwP male release and day 7 after the last release was, on average, 7:10. Released males survived up to 2 weeks. Approximately 30% of females collected in the release spots showed 100% sterility and 20% showed strongly reduced fertility compared with control sites. CONCLUSIONS: Results support the potential of IIT as a tool contributing to Ae. albopictus control in the urban context, and stress the need for larger field trials to evaluate the cost-efficacy of the approach in suppressing wild populations. © 2019 Society of Chemical Industry.