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Florence Loses Its Mind Over Tourists Eating Sandwiches

Italians may be Europe’s greatest gastronomic hardliners, but this time they’ve gone too far.  
Drop the panini, tourists: Florence's Duomo is a sandwich-free zone.
Drop the panini, tourists: Florence's Duomo is a sandwich-free zone. Tony Gentile/Reuters

Eat a sandwich on the steps of our cathedral and we’ll turn a hose on you. That’s the warning from Florence this week, where Mayor Dario Nardella is sick of visitors picnicking on the steps the Cathedral of Santa Maria Dei Fiore.

Tuscany’s capital gets packed with tourists in high season, and, especially during busy lunchtimes, the cathedral square can become carpeted with munching visitors. Nardella’s response to this congestion—and visitors distinctly un-Italian casualness about eating—is to hose down the cathedral steps and sidewalks just before lunchtime so that they’re too wet to sit on. If anyone has already sat down to eat when the hoses arrive, they’ll get sprayed.