Dear Government, dear Minister of Tourism… Thus begins the letter / decalogue that the mayor of Florence Dario Nardella and Venice Luigi Brugnaro they sent Mario Draghi to the prime minister with ten proposals to restart the cities of art. Live from Palazzo Vecchio in Florence and from Ca 'Farsetti in Venice this part joint initiative, conceived by Nardella and Brugnaro but open to all Italian cities of art that will recognize themselves in the problems and proposals made by the mayors of these two tourism capitals. Quick accounts, in the last year, due to the pandemic, Venice and Florence have lost hundreds of millions of euros, to the detriment of the many sectors linked to tourism: from public and private transport to cultural institutions. From guides to tourist agencies. From accommodation facilities to those dealing with catering. To the many commercial activities that in many cases have been forced to close.

Decalogue Venice Florence

Tourism is a sector of the economy that mainly employs young people and women, precisely the two categories that have been most affected by the pandemic from an employment point of view. And if you think that last summer there was a small recovery, this affected the seaside and mountain resorts, not the cities of art. Which are the ones who have suffered and suffer the most, because they are the favorite destination for European and intercontinental foreign tourism. Precisely those tourists who in this last year have completely disappeared. Their absence led to the tourism turnover of the cities of art less than 80 percent compared to the pre-pandemic period.

Cities of art, the most affected by the pandemic. Without tourists for over a year

The ten-point proposal for the neo Minister of Tourism Massimo Garavaglia concerns the tourism of the cities of art at 360 degrees. What do you ask? Tax relief for the purchase of packages, rentals and tourist services in Italy to revive the sector and balance the decrease in Italian income. A rule that provides for the specialist qualification for tourism professions in the historic centers of the metropolitan capitals, Unesco heritage. An increase in the National Fund for public transport because, in normal times, the expenses for public transport in the cities of art are mainly covered by tickets from foreign tourists. The transport system of cities such as Florence and Venice is based not so much on the users of the two cities, but rather on the demand from tourists which exceeds the local demand by two / three times.

Dario Nardella and Luigi Brugnaro in video conference
Dario Nardella (from behind) and Luigi Brugnaro in a video conference for the presentation of the Decalogue

Another sector to be reformed is that of short tourist rentals that the mayors are asking to be able to govern at the local level, also to avoid the exodus of residents from the historic centers. Commercial activities deserve a separate chapter. Enough with the invasion of souvernirs shops, Asia markets and internet points, a commercial and artisan identity linked to the city and its traditions must be restored. Special rules are also needed to ensure the dignity and urban safety of cities where the number of those present is much higher than the citizens who reside there. One figure is enough: in a year Florence and Venice normally have a tourist flow 20/30 times higher than the residents.

For the mayors of Florence and Venice it is essential to restart at the same time as the rest of Europe

They are all proposals, say Dario Nardella and Luigi Brugnaro, to be thought and elaborated immediately through pragmatic and operational work. Because the country will have to be ready as soon as the borders reopen and air flights resume. The intercontinental airport Marco Polo of Venice is the third in Italy for air traffic. And it will start again as soon as possible. Once the emergency is over, it will be essential that Italy can move at the same time as the rest of Europe.

Venice Florence

In the meantime, the accounts of the cities of art are all with a minus sign. In the last year, Florence has collected 40 million euros less deriving from the tourist tax. The Florentine Chamber of Commerce has estimated a damage, for last year, of more than one billion euros for the metropolitan area of ​​Florence. Venice lacks 80 million euros for urban transport, those that brought tourists by buying vaporetto tickets. And again this year the Easter holidays will be skipped, one of the most important for cities of art.

The Boat Show confirmed in Venice, Pitti Uomo in Florence

But Venice and Florence are optimistic and despite everything they plan for the future. In the lagoon, the appointment with the Boat Show, which will be held from 29 May to 6 June, has been confirmed. The Architecture Biennale will be held. In Florence it is hoped that Pitti Uomo will be confirmed, the largest men's fashion event in the world, albeit in mixed mode. The system must resume from the cities of art, the mayors of Venice and Florence say aloud, as indicated by the Prime Minister Draghi on the need to relaunch these realities. In the name of "Art City? DO NOT put them aside " Venice and Florence can't wait to leave. United by important historical ties and the awareness of being the visiting card of Italy in the world.

Florence and Venice, ten proposals for the relaunch of the cities of art last edit: 2021-03-19T09:06:47+01:00 da Cristina Campolonghi

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