Florence residents unhappy with mass tourism

Florence residents unhappy with mass tourism

Source: Pexels

Calls from local residents for urgent action to protect the UNESCO-listed center of Florence from mass tourism have become more frequent after the shocking statement by Cecilia Hallberg, director of the prestigious city Galleria dell'Accademia.

"Once the city has turned into a prostitute, it is difficult to return its virginity," Hallberg told reporters. "Florence is very beautiful, and I would like it to return to its citizens and not be crushed by tourism."

In the summer months of 2023 alone, the world-famous pearl of art and architecture was visited by about 1.5 million tourists, which is 6.6% more than in the previous year.

Mass tourism is leading to an increasing number of traditional retail outlets and residential apartments being converted into fast food stores and rental premises.

One of the "victims" of excessive tourism is a hereditary Florentine jeweler named Tommaso. He was expelled from his workshop, on the site of which a luxury hotel will be built. "If you get rid of us and many others like us, you will take away a part of the soul of the city," the jeweler warns.

The average cost of renting a house in Venice jumped by 42% between 2016 and 2023, while the number of apartments presented on the Airbnb booking service increased from 6,000 to 15,000. 

In addition to experimenting with a ticket sales system in which one-day visitors must pay an entrance fee of five euros in high season, the Florence City Council has launched a campaign to attract tourists outside its center.

The municipality aims to promote other attractions of the city related to the environment and gastronomy.

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