Florence is banning tourists from picnicking on the sidewalk and on shop doorsteps at mealtimes. Those who don’t comply with the ordinance, signed by mayor Dario Nardella, in effect from September 4 until January 6, 2019, face a fine of between €150-€500.
The ban applies to four streets in the city center that are especially popular with tourists: via de’ Neri, the Uffizi square, piazza del Grano and via della Ninna. Here, between 12 and 3 pm and between 6 and 10 pm, it is forbidden to consume food while lingering on sidewalks, and on shop, restaurant and home doorsteps, which tourists often resort to do as public benches are scarce in the city center.
The aim of the ordinance is to maintain “decorum and the livability of the area.” The ordinance describes how, especially during summer time - high season - tourists have taken the habit of stopping outside the numerous take away shops, invading the sidewalks, to eat their snacks. The situation is especially detrimental, says the ordinance, considering it takes place in a Unesco-inscribed area with high historic and artistic value.
Local businesses have long complained of the situation, which got to a steamy point in August, when a shopkeeper got into a scuffle with a Spanish family camped out on the shop’s front step.
Shopkeepers will have to put up the sign provided by the city, which explains the ordinance, in Italian and English, and display it so that it’s clearly visible.
This is just the latest in a series of measures aimed at controlling the effects of disorderly mass tourism. Last summer, the mayor proposed to hose the steps of churches at lunch time to discourage tourists from sitting on them.