The “anti-gathering” ordinance, in place from June 25th, means new limits on the sale and consumption of takeaway alcoholic drinks in the historic centre of Florence and a ban on parking in six areas considered at risk of attracting large crowds on weekends.
The municipality stated that the rules were put in place to prevent coronavirus infections from spreading in crowded areas.
Many Italian cities have introduced bans on drinking and even eating in the streets, among other rules intended to protect “public decorum” – often in a bid to curb the unruly behaviour of tourists.
At first glance, the new ordinance appears to simply be an extension of previous limits on eating and drinking in certain public areas within the historic centre.
But on closer inspection, the new rules also mean that entering certain parts of the city is banned altogether on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights between 6pm and 11pm, unless you’re a local resident or a customer of bars and restaurants in the area.
The ordinance restricts access to large parts of the city, including the popular areas of Piazza Santo Spirito, Piazza Strozzi, Santa Croce, and Piazza S.S. Annunziata.
This means that taking an evening walk, or passeggiata – an important feature of everyday life in Italy – will not be allowed unless you’re also buying food or drink in the area.
Florentine newspaper L’Arno reported that municipal police would be asking people to show receipts to prove they had been eating or drinking in the restricted areas.
The rules are backed up with potential fines of between €400 and €1,000.
Italian food and drink blog Dissappore wrote: “Bar and restaurant receipts have become the new pass needed to get around the centre.”
It added: “Do we really want eating and drinking to become the only key to accessing the cities of art, to the world, to life?”
Florence councilor Benedetta Albanese stated that the rules were put in place “for the livability of our streets and squares”.
The local rule will stay in place until the state of emergency ends in Italy.
This is currently set to be July 31st, though it is widely expected to be extended once again.
Most of the nationwide coronavirus measures have been dropped in Italy as of June 28th, as every region was declared a low-risk ‘white’ zone.
The nationwide midnight curfew, also intended to prevent gatherings, was scrapped on June 21st.
However, regional and municipal authorities are free to enforce their own rules in addition to those imposed by the national government.