Tourists wandering around the historic streets while munching on their favorite Italian treats has become such a problem that one Italian city has laid down an ordinance – accompanied with hefty fines – to stop the practice.
The city of Florence has had enough. Approximately 10.2 million tourists visit the city every year to see the many incredible sights steeped in centuries of history. And while the tourists are more than welcome, their litter is not.
According to CNN, the city has placed a ban on eating on the four most famous and busiest tourist streets in the city, Via de’ Neri, Piazzale degli Uffizi, Piazza del Grano, and Via della Ninna, during the peak foodie times of noon to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Being found eating on sidewalks, in doorways, and on the doorsteps of houses could land you with a 500 Euro fine (approximately $581).
The ban came into effect on September 4.
Italy is known for its incredible foods, from starters to main courses to desserts, and many of these have been optimized for eating on the go (think Gelato). As a result, many tourists across the country grab high-caloric snacks in between sights and munch them on their way to the next stop.
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Aside from the litter problem created as thousands of people carelessly throw their wrappers and napkins on the ground, it also creates a congestion problem as people amble slowly through the streets so as not to devastatingly toss their Gelato accidentally on the ground.
The Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, issued a statement about the ordinance.
“Sometimes we are faced with tourists who lack education towards our city […]. And that’s not good at all. Tourists, if they behave like they do at home, are and will always be our welcome guests, especially if they want to enjoy our gastronomic specialties […]. Only those who love Florence deserve Florence.”
Nardella has historically had a dim view of people eating on the streets of his city. In the summer of 2017, he ordered that the steps of all the churches be “hosed down” in an effort to deter tourists from trying to have picnics on them.
While some residents of the famous city agree that the ordinance will “restore a little decorum on our street,” others feel the blame for the mess lies more with city officials than with the tourists. As some pointed out, the city could easily make garbage cans more accessible, thus eliminating the need for people to throw their trash on the ground.