Topless in tuscany not tolerated

Zero tolerance for topless tourists and those who buy from beach vendors

Editorial Staff
July 7, 2005

In an attempt to maintain a minimum of decorum at beachside resorts, several local mayors in Tuscany have decided to ban tourists from walking through their city streets without shirts on or just in bikinis. The ban went into effect last weekend and police were out in full force. So far, several culprits were fined last Saturday in the seaside town of Viareggio.


Police, however, are not just patrolling city streets.  They have now moved on to the beaches as well to stop the waterfront selling of illegal wares that many consider a degradation of beachside communities.


At any beach along the coast, vendors will stroll by bathers, offering a variety of merchandise, from false brand-name bags and sunglasses, to fake tattoos, jewellery, massages, and all kinds of electrical gadgets. At some beaches near Pisa, the flow of vendors is particularly continuous due to the nearby outlets at which vendors acquire the goods they sell.


In a move that is surprising to many vacationing tourists, police have now also begun to fine those who are caught purchasing items from these beach vendors.


The enforcement of these new laws has been met with protest. Vendors with regular licenses to sell their goods are outraged at this affront to their already meagre livelihood. The majority of vendors are immigrants struggling to earn a living. As a result, several groups have accused the cities participating in these new bans of creating racist laws. The town of Massa actually declined to participate in the crackdown precisely because it did not want to be even minimally accused of instating racist laws.


But most beach towns are participating in these initiatives, and an increased police presence will be in place throughout the summer. The beachside police has even been issued a new uniform for hot-weather surveillance. Beach officers now wear a light blue Polo shirt, white belt, dark Bermuda shorts, and white running shoes. Due to lack of funds, the desired number of patrolling officers cannot be reached, and towns like Forte dei Marmi will be putting some retired officers back on duty for the summer.

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