Anyone caught snacking in tourist areas could be fined up to €500
Having a quick snack in the heart of a historic city of Florence will no longer be possible as the local government has implemented new restrictive measures in order to reduce waste and stop bottlenecks from forming.
On 4 September, the city introduced a ban for eating in the historic areas of Via de’ Neri, Piazzale degli Uffizi, Piazza del Grano and Via della Ninna during peak lunch and dinner times, from 12-3 pm and 6-10 pm.
Anyone caught snacking in the area during the restricted time periods faces a fine of between €150 and €500.
The city has informed its visitors via a bilingual poster stating that tourists should respect residents, traders and workers.
“It is forbidden to eat any kind of food just stopping and staying on sidewalks, on doorsteps and houses and on roadways,” the poster says.
“It’s not a punitive measure but a concrete deterrent,” said mayor Dario Nardella in a Facebook post announcing the ordinance. “If tourists behave themselves as they would at home they’ll always be our welcome guests, especially if they want to sample our gastronomic specialities.”
The new restrictions aim not only at keeping the streets cleaner from waste, but also at keeping pavements in the narrow streets clear from the crowds formed by people stopping by and eating.
Via de’ Neri, one of the famous streets in the heart of Florence, has plenty of food shops offering quick refreshments for tourists. However, the kiosks lack the space to seat high numbers of tourists which can lead to them sitting in the street.
It is not the first time the Italian city has introduced restrictive measures towards snacks eating tourists. Last year Nardella suggested city workers keep church steps wet so that tourists would avoid sitting on them.
Italian cities are facing a huge influx of tourists in general and many have been implementing their own rules. While Rome is discouraging people from having picnics around fountains and other monuments, Venice has installed turnstiles in the city centre to limit crowds of visitors.