Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence
Credit: Getty Images

Florence’s mayor, Dario Nardella, is cracking down on lunch-time loiterers at two historic basilicas by decreeing that street cleaners hose down the steps to cut down on people sitting on them.

Visitors who like to settle on the steps of the Basilica of Santa Croce and the Chiesa di Santo Spirito will have to find another place to hang out at lunch time, because cleaners will now be ordering them to keep away as they diligently clean the steps during midday.

Mayor Nardella told The Guardian: “We have nothing against tourists. We know that they are a great resource for our city. But there is a problem with respecting decorum. The majority of visitors are respectful and elegant. But there has been an increase among those who don’t respect our cultural heritage, who sit down on church steps, eat their food and leave rubbish strewn on them.”

The city sees about 12 million visitors each year, and the mayor is also concerned about the growing amount of fast-food restaurants in the city. The city has been regulating the number of stores opening, especially in the city center, according to The Guardian.

“We want to put people off from camping out. If they sit down, they’ll get wet. Instead of imposing fines, we thought this measure was more elegant,” said the mayor.