I was going to say, many of the top “restaurants” in the TA restaurant reviews of Italian cities are those panini places with minimal seating.
Could there be an ulterior motive to dissuade people from taking food to go from these places?
Maybe restaurants don’t like being underpriced by these places which serve people who want a quick meal, not have to deal with getting seated during rush hour times, etc.
"Could there be an ulterior motive to dissuade people from taking food to go from these places?"
Maybe. But I am more concerned with the garbage that is generated and a lot of them ends up on the streets and sidewalks. This is a garbage problem in Venice as well. And it is irritating when people block the calli and bridges. Maybe there should be some sort of garbage tax on take-aways.
A garbage tax on top of the city tax they charge at hotels?
That city tax is creeping up too, so what do they do with that money? They can't increase garbage collection or add more cans in public spaces?
It's not that they want to limit tourism, which they can probably do by limiting the number of hotels and B&Bs they license. They're happy to maximize those and city stay taxes collected.
But maybe they're satisfied that the tourists from whom they make money are not spending enough for more expensive meals.
As we all know, many bars and cafes charge a hefty coperto or higher prices if you sit down even for an espresso or drink at a popular piazza or thoroughfare as opposed to standing at the counter or sitting down at a place which isn't as scenic.
That's why I'm suspicious that this ban only applies to certain areas. They either want you to sit down at those places in popular areas and pay those higher prices or want you to go elsewhere.
For instance, if you want to sit down at one of those high-priced cafes on the Piazza Signoria, that's fine. But heaven help you if you want to walk into that Piazza with a panini from a nearby place.
I'm going to Florence in July, returning after several years. Will have to see what it's like then.
I must admit I have issues with
- Fast food packaging designed to throw away (albeit heavily branded so something thrown in the street still continues as an advert).
- Ignorant people who throw such packaging into the street
I do get the argument that sit-down restaurants in touristy areas are typically phenomenally bad / bad value, but it's easy to plan ahead and identify somewhere a few minutes walk away from the tourist site that has to rely on more than just a steady stream of tourists visiting the famous sites.
We tourists are often a blight on the places we visit, with the more famous the location, the worse the effect. I am genuinely embarrassed on the relatively rare occasions I venture into mainstream tourist areas.
I’ve just returned from two weeks in Florence. People are still eating in the streets around the sandwich places. They just walk a bit away from the actual take out place.
And, returning to Florence after four years was somewhat of a shock regarding the number of tourists. The numbers have grown noticeably in the last four years. Trying to simply walk close to the Duomo is a challenge. It is still lovely as long as one stays a bit away from the main tourist areas.
Last summer in Florence, when walking past Piazza Pitti very early on Sunday morning, I could not help notice more than a dozen beer bottles and cardboard pizza containers abandoned at the base of several trash cans directly in front of the Pitti Palace! On the retaining walls of the Santa Trinita Bridge nearby, there were scores of small gelato cups (with plastic spoons) lined up (in danger of being blown into the Arno).
Trash collection is the biggest growing industry in Florence!
This law has its grounds but it is the kind of awkward law that throws the baby out with the bathwater.
First of all it simply cannot be enforced, or can only be enforced selectively.
And Italy itself has great street food. Naples is street food heaven, up there with Bangkok. The law is not against fast food. It is against some issues related fast food.
Perhaps the cities' policymakers can rethink the law and target it better. For example, some cities in Europe (forgot which) require that fastfood establishments pick up the trashwithin a number of blocks (or kilometers) around their location. This is stipulated in the lease.
The crowd in Florence is a real problem. Perhaps it is time to regulate day trippers into Florence. All the major museums have this kind of crowd control: There cannot be more than a given number of visitors at one time in the museum. Florence IS a gigantic museum. Every day there is a huge number of vistors who pour in at around the same time and pour out at around the same time. Perhaps visitors who are staying elsewhere can pre-register for a time-slot, so that the crowd won't get to the point that it strangles what it has come to admire.