Street Snacking Banned in Popular Tourist Areas in Florence
According to an interesting article on CNN as of September 4th, you will have to wait until you finish your schiacciata or gelato before visiting some of the busiest streets in the region. The 4 streets affected are Via de’ Neri, Piazzale degli Uffizi, Piazza del Grano and Via della Ninna and the restrictions are in force during lunch and dinner times: 12-3 and 6-10.
Apparently the move is a response from the Mayor to reduce congestion at peak times since tourists tend to loiter and stop while sightseeing to enjoy their food. The Mayor cites a need to deal with “tourists who lack education” towards the city as the catalyst for the restriction. People who ignore the ban could face fines ranging from $150-$581. The same mayor ordered that church steps be hosed down to deter tourists from lunching on them.
Opponents of the ban cite a need for more trash cans and benches for people to sit while people eat.
Having lived in the number one city for tourism for the last 10 years and being a frequent tourist myself, I find this ban to be pretty annoying. It is however, important to note that the ban is limited to 4 streets and specific time frames. Cities benefit greatly from the money tourism brings in and telling someone the food they buy can only be consumed while they’re not also visiting some of the cities’ attractions seems kind of rude.
Many cities cater to tourists, I mean can you imagine how many mornings my mid-town commute was in some way disrupted by tourism? It’s a fact of life and we deal with it because we appreciate the patronage of our businesses and our landmarks. I’m guessing local businesses would be affected if tourists stopped purchasing food during those time periods.