San Lorenzo district to close at midnight

Garbage and unruly visitors cause residents to protest and authorities to take action

Editorial Staff
May 5, 2005

The inhabitants of the San Lorenzo neighbourhood recently decided they had had enough. Tensions created between residents and some market vendors who were littering streets, and, even worse, with raucous night time visitors, finally came to a head a few weeks ago when inhabitants took to the streets in protest of a situation they considered to be degrading their neighbourhood. City officials have now taken measures to accommodate resident complaints by mandating the closure of all late night activities in the area.

 

San Lorenzo has long been home to one of the city’s largest outdoor markets. Most days of the week hundreds of stands line the narrow streets surrounding the Church of San Lorenzo, the Medici Chapels, and the Central Market. When these stands close up and are moved to storage for the evening, the streets are littered with the remains of the market. Dumpsters are overflowing with garbage. This refuse was the first issue to cause anger among residents. But, it was the problem with late night visitors that caused the most contention.

 

The area has recently become a central location for late night food spots, mostly fast food style places, which residents claim attract crowds that often times get too loud and unruly. A series of confrontations among these crowds that have at times even ended in violence, have left many residents afraid to leave their homes in the evening.

 

In an attempt to quell the growing conflict and to limit the disruptive night-time occurrences, city officials have decided that all localities in the area must now close by midnight. While early closure might diminish the number of people congregating in the area, it will also decrease the already limited number of places in Florence that serve food later into the night.

 

The new mandate has proven to be somewhat controversial within city council as some of its members are concerned that it might be discriminatory.  Indeed, the majority of the localities the law affects, including various fast-food kebab restaurants, are owned by foreigners.

 

Most city officials, however, have decided this is the best way to control an increase in unruly late-night visitors to the city centre. In fact, San Lorenzo is not the only neighbourhood that will undergo new security measures this week. All central piazzas in Florence will now be patrolled by police during the later hours of the night. 

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