Venice bans takeout joints to preserve heritage and beauty of the city

Venice bans takeout joints to preserve heritage and beauty of the city

Venetians are miffed with the fact that subpar food are being sold to tourists on the streets and it doesn't go well with the heritage feel of the city.

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The city attracts thousands of tourists every year. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Venice is hailed as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and not without a reason. Built on 100 small islands, the city does not have roads but only canals. It is no surprise then that it is a tourist’s delight, and a Venetian’s pride. But of late Venetians are unhappy with the huge influx of tourists in their city.

The residents are miffed with the fact that subpar food are being sold to tourists on the streets and it doesn’t go well with the heritage feel of Venice. According to a report in The Guardian, local authorities have banned new kebab shops and other fast-food outlets from opening. A law passed on May 11 also put a limit on shops from selling pizza by the slice. Shops selling artisanal ice cream will however remain outside the purview of this recent measure.

This move has made Venice the latest European city to fight back against the ill effects of tourism. Last year Verona had stopped the opening of new kebab shops, while Florence, in its attempt to suppress the growing business of “foreign food”, had passed a ruling that all new restaurants and food shops in the city’s historic centre must ensure at least 70 per cent of their produce is local.

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Speaking to CNNMoney, Venice’s chief of tourism, Paola del Mar said, “We are waging a fight against fast food to maintain and showcase our unique food.”

She also harped on the fact that all they want is to put brakes on those activities that do not go with the preservation and development of Venice’s cultural heritage.

“The problem is that with a tourist city like ours, there is a risk of it losing its identity. There are local products that we must try to promote, this would be better for the spirit of the city and, at an environmental level, would be more sustainable,” Mar said while speaking to The Guardian.

“The proliferation of sales and consumption of so-called ‘takeaway food’ has led to a decrease in the quality of the product and created a negative perception not only among residents, but also visitors,” the city council said in a statement.

The takeout restrictions were proposed by Francesca Da Villa, head of the city council’s commerce division. She maintained that the city is now working to implement the ban.

The rule also prohibits restaurants that do not have seating arrangements. For instance a new McDonald’s (MCD) location would be allowed only as long as it offers seats. “This is to safeguard culture, but also to safeguard tradition,” Da Villa said.  “There is more decorum at the table. It is a beautiful thing, to share at the table. Of course there is more we can do, but this is a start,” she added.

Venice has long dabbled with the problem of rising tourism and its repercussion on the city and its environment.  Last summer several local residents, angered by the continuous inflow of tourists had appeared with posters that read “Tourists go away!!! You are destroying this area!”