LifestyleFlorence launches campaign to curb over-tourism and protect heritage

Florence launches campaign to curb over-tourism and protect heritage

Florence is one of the most visited cities in Italy
Florence is one of the most visited cities in Italy
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Vladimir Sazonov

4:57 PM EDT, May 31, 2024

A new campaign has been launched in Florence, inaugurated by the authorities ahead of the summer season when hundreds of thousands worldwide will arrive. The goal is to sensitize visitors before visiting the city, which has long struggled with excessive tourism, making life burdensome for residents.

The campaign, conducted, among other things, on social media, operates under the slogan: "Enjoy, respect Firenze." City authorities, who have been dealing with over-tourism for years, emphasize: "Florence is alive; treat it with care."

Florence has a problem with over-tourism

A statement issued on the occasion of the campaign's launch noted that the initiative represents a "hospitality pact" between residents and tourists. The statement also reminds visitors that the historic center of Florence, home to priceless art and architecture, is inscribed on the UNESCO heritage list and should be treated with respect.

Dante Alighieri and Leonardo da Vinci "virtually" support this cause.

Addressing overtourism is a central theme of the campaign. This issue is especially pertinent as residents prepare to elect a new mayor in June. Eike Schmidt, the former director of the Florence Uffizi Gallery, represents the center-right. Schmidt, a German-born art historian who obtained Italian citizenship last year, argues that it is necessary to restore order and peace.

In the fall of 2023, authorities in Florence limited the availability of apartments for short-term rentals to tourists. They argued that the influx of tourists into historic buildings causes chaos in the real estate market, and short-term rentals have become increasingly troublesome for residents and neighbors of the rented apartments.

The city council approved a regulation stipulating that no more apartments can be allocated for short-term rentals in the area inscribed on the UNESCO heritage list. This area includes the strict city center near famous landmarks such as Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery, and the majestic Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

Furthermore, under the adopted resolution, apartment owners who stop renting to tourists will be exempt from the municipal property tax for three years.

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