Where a sandwich or ice-cream could cost you $900

Where a sandwich or ice-cream could cost you $900

One of Europe’s most beautiful – and visited – cities slaps hefty fines on tourists eating in the street.

Visitors to Florence’s historic city centre could face $900 fines for eating in the street.

The new bylaw is part of an effort to reduce congestion in the narrow streets of the beautiful medieval Italian city. 

Tourists tend to crowd around food stores and stalls in these areas.

The restrictions will remain in place for four months. They will apply from 12-3pm and from 6-10pm, peak eating times, and it’s hoped they will also reduce litter. 

A bilingual sign, directing visitors to “respect residents, traders and workers of this street”, has been circulated to local businesses, which have been advised to display it prominently.

Many residents are frustrated with the number of tourists who congregate in the tiny  streets, which house one of Florence’s most popular sandwich shops, All’Antico Vinaio, and the busy Gelateria dei Neri gelato cafe. Neither of the respected eateries has the space to accommodate the high volume of visitors. 

Mayor Dario Nardella described the measure as “not punitive, but a deterrent. If tourists behave in Florence as they would at home then they will always be welcome, especially if they want to try our gastronomic specialities.”

It’s not the first time the mayor has caused controversy. Last year he ordered church steps to be hosed down to prevent tourists from gathering to eat their food on them.

Florence is one of several European visitor hotspots, such as Venice and Barcelona, attempting to achieve a balance between the needs of tourists and residents. 


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