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Tuscan city bans fast food, sex shops, and non-Italian shop signs

Pistoia, a charming Tuscan city, has banned new fast-food restaurants and sex shops from opening in the historic centre. In addition, they have ordered that all store signs must be written only using the Latin alphabet.

Tough new rules

Earlier this year these tough new rules were set out by the city council and these rules apply to the entire historic centre of the medieval city.
Neon cannot be used in any new shop signs or window decals. Signage must all be composed of the Latin alphabet’s own characters, except for texts translated for communication with tourists. In addition to signage, the aesthetic impact of new businesses in the historical sense will be considered and new businesses will have to submit applications of their proposed impact to the city hall.

Quality standards

Quality standards for furnishings must also be adhered to. This includes a minimum of two metres of space between food preparation and the street.
The intention is to safeguard and protect the historical centre. Mini markets, money transfers and foreign shops are not allowed. Neither are sex shops, large venues which hold over 200 people or vending machines.

Authentically Tuscan

Tourists that are coming to Pistoia are not coming to eat fast food such as kebabs and burgers but to see an authentically Tuscan city.
The opening of any new night clubs, betting shops, money transfer services, sex shops (known as ‘sexy shop’ in Italian), vending machines, or fast food stores in the protected area has been banned by local council. Alcohol sales have also been reviewed and glass bottles of alcohol will not be sold for outdoor consumption at night time.

Many of the Italy’s most loved areas struggle to deal with mass tourism and the need to protect their own heritage and the city’s liveability. Pistoia is not the first Italian city to take a hard look at and clamp down on fast food businesses in its city centre.

In 2017 tourist hotspot Venice introduced a similar ban on new fast food shops. This was one of several measures taken in an effort to combat the negative effects of tourism on local businesses in the lagoon city.

In Florence, the locals and authorities were also successful campaigning against the planned opening of a McDonalds restaurant in the city’s historic centre, which is a Unesco World Heritage site.

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