ARE THEY BEING SERIOUS: WE CAN’T EAT A PANINI IN FLORENCE?

Q – We are planning on spending a fair amount of money, staying at The Savoy, in Florence this coming summer. We’ll be there for six days and are looking forward to walking around on one big self-designed foodie tour. We love street food. 

But now I am hearing that you can’t eat food in Florence in the summer in public unless you are at an outdoor cafe. Is this actually true? Would they bite the hand that feeds them? Sounds crazy. 

A – There are new laws in place during the summer months in several Italian cities including Florence, Rome, and Venice. These new laws are designed at visitors who exhibit poor behavior, munching on food while they walk, or dribbling gelato while the sun beats down. There are specific laws geared toward “bad fountain behavior”. 

Florence, specifically, had over 10 Million visitors last summer. There are now heavy fines for tourists who eat food in the street. The laws are being strictly enforced on four primary streets, Via de’ Neri, Piazzale-degli Uffizi, Piazza del Grano and Via della Ninna. Do not dine on a panini while walking these streets. Try to enjoy your gelato among the other hundred or so tourists standing in the sidewalk line outside Vivoli. The fines range in the $550 USD range. The restrictions are in force during primary dining times (lunch and dinner) – of course, in Italy that could be anytime.