Florence Bans Evening Walks in Its Most Popular Neighborhoods

As cities around the world begin to welcome back tourists, one of the most popular tourism destinations of all is enacting crowd control limits to prevent another coronavirus surge.

Florence has enacted an ordinance that bans people from wandering around the Italian city’s most popular areas on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings until further notice, CNN reported.

Six areas of the city — including Santo Spirito, Santa Croce, Piazza Strozzi, and Piazza S.S. Annunziata — have limited access from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m., unless people are visiting the bars and restaurants there. All of the neighborhoods where the rule has been enacted are places that tend to attract evening congregations of people eating and drinking on the streets.

Those caught breaking the rule are subject to a fine from about $500 to $1,100 (€400 and €1,000).

The rule will remain in effect at least until Italy declares an end to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the director of the city’s famous Uffizi Galleries is petitioning the city to enact a “sandwich tax” on the street vendors who sell food to tourists in the area. Although there are fines for those caught eating on the street, it has done little to stop the litter around the museum.

“Even now, the benches and steps of the Uffizi and the Loggia dei Lanzi [which looks onto the main square] are full of people eating and drinking,” Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Galleries, told CNN. “The result is oil and sauce on the stone, bits of paper, food leftovers and stains from soft drinks everywhere. The stone absorbs it all and gets damaged over time, so to protect it we have to be cleaning it continuously.”

The proposal has caused some controversy in the city, with some people supporting the idea and others saying a tax would be disastrous to small vendors who are only just recovering from the halt in tourism caused by the pandemic.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.

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