Historic Sites

Florence's mayor has clever plan for dealing with loitering tourists

The mayor of Florence says some tourists have no "decorum" these days — something he hopes to fix with a water hose.

Mayor Dario Nardella says a small number of the Italian city's 12 million annual tourists — particularly day-trippers from cruise ships — have taken to "camping out" on church steps at lunchtime.

They "sit down on church steps, eat their food, and leave rubbish strewn on them" with no respect for "our cultural heritage," Nardella tells The Guardian.

He says city officials thought about handing out fines to such tourists, but they decided instead to get creative.

The plan: Use water hoses to soak church steps. That way, if tourists sit down, "they'll get wet," Nardella said in announcing the strategy Wednesday.

Shortly after the announcement, the steps of both the Basilica of Santa Croce and the Chiesa di Santo Spirito were doused.

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In the future, this will be a daily occurrence, reports The Telegraph. "Instead of imposing fines, we thought this measure was more elegant," Nardella tells The Guardian, adding that other areas might eventually get a wash as well.

While some social media users joked that a free shower might be nice in the heat of summer, others have accused city officials of being "elitist" in targeting tourists who choose not to eat in Florence's restaurants, per The Local.

Nardella counters that the city has plenty of outdoor seating for tourists. Churches, however, are no place for a picnic, he says.

(In related news, Barcelona has an issue with its tourists, too.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: "Florence Brainstorms 'Elegant' Solution for Rude Tourists."