The City Council in Florence has threatened tourists with draconian penalties – up to 500 euros – if they are eating in the street in the city center.

Mayor Dario Nardella was banned on Tuesday after residents and trade owners complained of this alleged problem at the famed Via de ‘Neri in Florence, known for their restaurants and delicatessen stores, according to the British Daily Express.

The prohibition applies only to this street and its immediate vicinity, including the street leading to the Uffizi Gallery. Likewise, the ban is valid only at lunch time and in the evening. Calendar, the ban is in effect until January 6th.

“It is forbidden to consume food by staying on the sidewalk, the storefronts and the houses and on the street,” the text of this decree adds to the fact that residents urged that “the police intervene to keep the area alive for life.”

Prohibition for “uneducated visitors camping on the street with their lunch”

“The new rule is not directed at tourism in general, but on uneducated visitors who are camping on the street with their lunch, which is not a criminal measure but a means of deterrence. taste our culinary specialties, “explained Nardella this rather strange decision and added that” the current inhabitants can not enter your house because of tourists who sit on their doorstep. ”

The local restaurant with Italian panini, the self-proclaimed “street food and takeaway temple” All’Antico Vinaio and one of the best rated gastrolokals on Trip Advisor all over the world, has become so popular that nearby shops have begun to quell because people are making a crowd on the street while eating near stairs, entrances and sidewalks. Last month there was even a fight between the owners of the nearby grocery store and the Spanish family who had eaten at his doorstep. The owner pulled a thicker end in that conflict.

Somewhat unexpected, even the owner of Antico Vinaia Tomasso Mazzanti welcomed the ban. However, he regretted that there are not enough benches in the area that tourists can sit when they pick up popular sandwiches in his store. He said that customers will share cards in the future to see where they can go to eat without the risk of being fined by city authorities.

Alternative solutions: multiple benches, more cleaners

Florence is one of the world’s cities that has a steady growth in the number of visitors – an average of 1.9% per year in the last 17 years. It only last year recorded ten million overnight stays, even two million more than 2012. This is just one of the measures that the mayor and city council have taken to mitigate the negative impact of tourism on this Tuscan town.

Other Italian cities have also brought similar measures, so Venice has forbidden the opening of new fast food stores to reduce the amount of waste.

But this problem could be solved by a large number of cleaners, as the problem of space shortage could be solved by more than one bench. As Tony Naylor remembers for The Guardian, it seems that the real problem is the snobbery of people eating on the street. But street food is a cheaper and more democratic, and often more satisfying alternative to restaurants.