Author Topic: Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps  (Read 2790 times)

Hula Hoop

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Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps
« on: September 09, 2018, 02:31:55 PM »
The mayor of Florence, Italy has banned eating on the street or picnicking on church steps to try to cut down on congestion and littering in the historical center.  https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/florence-street-eating-ban/index.html 

There has been a lot of criticism of this in the press here - many people say, rather than banning eating on the street or steps, why not just install benches and trash cans in the historical center?  or fine people for littering?  I agree with them.  This seems like a blatant attempt to force tourists to eat lunch at pricey sit down restaurants rather than eating take out sandwiches or bringing food with them.  Also, here in Italy it usually costs more to sit down and eat than to get a take out sandwich so this is just another way to try to fleece tourists.



FireHiker

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Re: Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2018, 12:11:51 PM »
I've been reading about this and I was curious to see the local perspective; thanks for sharing your thoughts. I was in Florence about a year and a half ago; I didn't realize it was such a big issue there. What if you're eating gelato while you're standing in line waiting to get into the Uffizi (we did), is that a grey area or would you get fined?

I looked on the map and it seems you could easily go just a block away from any of these areas (and they were super congested areas when we were there) without getting a fine. It doesn't even include the Piazza del Duomo, which surprised me. I tend towards the "less government" position so I'm not keen on the idea, but I think it should be pretty easy to get around it without it being a huge imposition. And, yes, we sat down to eat lunch in Florence and it was expensive.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2018, 12:18:57 PM »
Based on the article, only four particular streets are affected, and only during high-traffic times of the day. This could have the effect of spreading out the foot traffic to the major sites.

I have to hand it to the Mayor, though: it's far cheaper to pay one police officer to roam around handing out tickets that contribute to the city's bottom line than to install benches and garbage cans and then pay someone to maintain and empty them, with no added revenue. Also, in some parts of the world people use public garbage cans and mailboxes as impromptu urinals. This may not be the custom in Florence, however tourists do come there from all over the world, and no matter how often you empty the trash there will still be a major stench if someone uses a trash can that way. It's not something people will necessarily want in a historical part of the city. People who wish to be overwhelmed with stench can always go to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana.

PoutineLover

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Re: Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2018, 12:31:07 PM »
When I travel I love finding a scenic spot to sit and eat a picnic of local foods, so on the surface this seems like a terrible rule. But given that it's only in a small area and only at limited times, I guess it's not that bad. I've also seen tons of disrespectful people litter all over the place, so maybe this will deter them. I always throw out my trash, but not everyone will, and in places with huge volumes of people every day, it piles up quickly. Does seem like a hassle to enforce though, like can you eat while walking in those areas? Does it apply to ice cream? What about children? Curious to see whether it actually solves any problems or just generates income for the city.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2018, 02:30:16 AM »
Poutine - apparently it also applies to ice cream and the local gelato places are up in arms.  Not sure about walking - I think it was sitting down that gets you a fine.  If people sit on church steps in piazzas to eat their gelato or a snack  - bingo - fine!

I guess it just annoys me as it strikes me as kind of snobby.  There is a certain snobbishness about eating in public here - and people blame all the garbage on tourists who eat al fresco.  But I see tourists putting stuff in garbage bins all the time - Italians just don't want to take a long hard look at themselves as far as all the littering that they themselves do.

I don't know Florence well though so I guess if this is only a few streets and it's well signposted it's kind of ok.

gooki

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Re: Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2018, 04:11:55 AM »
FWIW Paris has a boatload of tourists sitting and eating on the lawns surrounding the Eiffel Tower. I donít recall them having a litter problem. Iím surprised Florence has an issue, then again maybe not. A lot of the streets in Florence smelled of human urine, so thereís obviously other issues around respecting public spaces going on.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2018, 04:21:35 AM by gooki »

Just Joe

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Re: Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2018, 08:49:28 AM »
Maybe Florence needs to hire Disney or similar to manage their historical centers...

I wonder how this works for the myriad of tiny food shops that have no place for people to sit and eat what they purchase from those tiny food shops.

I lived in Italy for several years and just adored the place. Preferred to stay away from the crush of tourists though. Off hours, off days or off season was the best way to visit the heavy tourist destinations.

jinga nation

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Re: Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2018, 11:52:18 AM »
Look at Napoli (Naples) and their litter/garbage situation. How many tourists there vs in Florence?

Tourists are the easy scapegoat. What would Florence be without them, empty and broke?

dcheesi

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Re: Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2018, 12:16:45 PM »
Can't wait for their new tourism PR slogan "I was fined in Florence!" /s

wevan

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Re: Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2018, 01:36:28 PM »
From the title, I thought you were talking about the hurricane.  That'd be a more sensible rule - "don't picnic outside when there's a hurricane coming!"

As it is, I don't like it.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2018, 01:22:13 AM »
Look at Napoli (Naples) and their litter/garbage situation. How many tourists there vs in Florence?

Tourists are the easy scapegoat. What would Florence be without them, empty and broke?

Yep - Naples is amazing and beautiful (with gritty edges though of course) and has amazing food (and PIZZA and COFFEE) but almost NO tourists.  Yet the place is awash in garbage.  Florence, on the other hand, is flooded with tourists and has a lot less garbage.

JoJo

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Re: Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2018, 10:37:16 AM »
I think we're going to see a lot more of this and higher taxes on accommodation, etc.  The European cities are being overrun by tourists.  In places like Barcelona, the locals hate it so the mayor putting restrictions would gain favor.

I'm going to the Balkans, and we've found a few random cities where the tax on accommodation is more than the price of the accommodation itself.  Crazy.

gooki

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Re: Florence bans eating in street or picnicing on steps
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2018, 12:38:57 AM »
This is why I dislike tourist hot spots. Iíd much rather visit a place where the locals do not resent you being there.