Italian priest fined €2,000 for excessive bell-ringing

A priest in Florence whom neighbours claim has been ringing his parish bells more than 200 times a day has been fined and ordered to go easy on the chimes.

Don Leonardo Guerri from the Santa Maria a Coverciano church in the east of Florence has been feuding for four years with locals in what newspaper Corriere Fiorentino called “the war of the bells”.

Residents living nearby say the chimes rung every day between 8am and 9pm for years prevent them from working, relaxing or sleeping.

The worst comes on holidays, they say, when the bells peal every half hour.

After four years of petitions, legal proceedings and tests of noise pollution levels, the regional agency for environmental protection (ARPAT) in Tuscany decided to crack down, fining Guerri 2,000 euros ($2,225), the paper reported. 

The priest will still be able to ring the bells, but only for the call to Mass and the last service of the day at 6pm.

Contacted by AFP, the priest declined comment.

Faced with the growing number of bell tower disputes throughout Tuscany, the Archbishop of Florence, Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, sent a directive in 2014 to his diocese aimed at controlling noise levels.

He asked priests to “avoid straining the sense of Christian devotion” of local residents living close to bell towers with excessive ringing.

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British man found dead in Florence hotel named as ex-rugby league player

A man found dead in a hotel room in Florence was named by Italian media on Sunday as British former rugby league player Ricky Bibey.

British man found dead in Florence hotel named as ex-rugby league player

A man was found dead on Saturday in the Hotel Continentale after a woman he was with cried out for help, according to unconfirmed media reports.

Italian news outlets have identified the victim as Ricky Bibey, a two-time Challenge Cup winner with Wigan Warriors and St Helens. Police have yet to confirm the dead man’s identity.

Super League tweeted it was “saddened to hear of the passing of Ricky Bibey”.

“We thank Ricky for his contributions to the game and send our condolences to Ricky’s family and friends during this time”.

A maid rushed in to find the 43-year old woman bleeding heavily from serious injuries, and she was rushed to hospital, La Nazione daily newspaper said.

Bibey, 40, appeared to have died of a heart attack, it said.

Other guests at the Continentale, just next to the Tuscan city’s famous Ponte Vecchio bridge, reportedly heard shouts coming from the room.

Police seized objects including items possibly used in an erotic game, La Nazione said.