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Where wandering after 9pm could cost you more than $1,500

Anyone found wandering the streets of Florence’s most popular nightlife areas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9pm to 6am could be slapped with a fine between €400 and €1000 (approximately $630 - $1580).


Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella signed an ordinance banning people from accessing six areas of the historic city center (including Santo Spirito) unless they are patronising the bars and restaurant there, CNN reported. 


The move comes as a means to curb overcrowding during the pandemic, given that tourism has started up in the region.  


Other bans include the central areas Piazza Strozzi, Santa Croce and Piazza SS Annunziata. 


Eating or drinking on the steps of the basilica of Santo Spirito is banned 24/7


The bans will last until the end of the pandemic. 


Local B&B owner Veronica Grechi told CNN the decision is "not right."


"The squares are public — if people are behaving badly you need to make them go away, you don't say that you can only access these places with a receipt from a bar — it's saying you can only get access if you pay," she said.


"It's fine to say you can't bring a beer along and chuck it on the ground, but limiting access — no, it's not right."


Meanwhile, others are worried the return of tourists will cause damage to the very things that draw them to the region.


Eike Schmidt director of the Uffizi Galleries has called for a "sandwich tax" on the street food stalls, claiming that the food and drink served by the stalls is damaging the highly absorbent stonework that is a throwback to the Renaissance.


"Bans [on eating] and fines [for littering] have proved mostly inadequate at tackling the phenomenon," Schmidt told CNN. 


"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. 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.


"Having stallholders take responsibility through a small contribution could be a concrete way of tackling it."

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Published: 5 July 2021

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