Over the last ten years, Florence has availed itself of an unstoppable growth in tourism: In the year 2019 tourist presences in the city reached 11 million, as claimed by the CTS (Center for the Study of Tourism of Florence) most of them flocking to the city centre. Hotels always booked, endless queues for the museums, tourists screaming through the narrow streets of the city. From €22 million in 2014 the city grossed nearly €50 million in 2018, from the city tax alone. With this amount, together with revenues from other sources (bus, hotel, museum tickets and restaurants) the city had an income of nearly € 3.4 billion, in the year 2018. Airbnb and apartment rental agencies have taken the place of the locals who have moved out to the outskirts of the city, due to the increasingly high price of apartments. Many old shops and historical “Botteghe artigiane” (crafts shops) have closed, replaced by tourists shops and low quality restaurants.
In order to face the increasing demand of tourists, over the years the historic city centre has been completely changed, slowly losing its identity and making the life for the few locals remained so unbearable that they have started to refer to their city as “Disneyland”.
Over the past two years, local authorities haven’t been able to take advantage of the situation that the pandemic had offered, and have started re-evaluating their activities in tourism. In few words they have overlooked the need for a tourism system that embraces new perspectives for better organization, developing a more structured, slower and better quality tourism and re-thinking the way in which what the city offers is being consumed, avoiding mindless mass exploitation by visitors.
As expected, today the situation in Florence has returned to “normality” – , with 7.4 million presence in the year 2022 just in the city of Florence. Mass tourism is back, stronger than before.