Italy: Florence

[Above: Florence tourist crowds. Photo: Franco Ubaldo]

Recent stewardship news on this destination:

GRADE: B- Why this grade? Representative panelist comments from the National Geographic stewardship surveys:

“A visit to Florence should be a required part of everyone’s education. The museums and churches are exceptionally well done, and in general the flow of people is orderly and well-organized. My only complaint was that it was hard to find any Italians—the city was very full of U.S. citizens.”

“Tourism feels out of control in Florence. Tourists have absolutely no sense of their proper role in the locale. Efforts to curb crowds at the Uffizi and other museums are successful in terms of preserving the artworks therein; but the effect on the street is nerve-wracking. A general decline in the quality of food, gelato, and other aspects of culture within the historic center, but there is still plenty of local character just outside of the area. Florence is a mixed bag.”

“There are still some magical nooks and crannies with charming restaurants where you feel like a local, and a welcomed guest. Environmentally it’s a little dirty, but this didn’t take away from its spirit, energy, and sense of itself.”

“There has been a visible improvement in the management and restoration of the city during the last 20 years, despite the increasing number of visitors. The shops in the historic center have been taken by the same international brands you find everywhere, which alters the originality of the city. There is a dangerous decline of local products, Italian shops, and of the quality of food (industrial-made pizza and ice cream). The volunteer local guides you meet in some churches (Santa Maria Maggiore) are of great help.”

Your Rating
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About Jonathan Tourtellot

CEO, Destination Stewardship Center; Editor, Destination Stewardship Report; Principal, Focus on Places LLC; founding Director, former Nat Geo Center for Sustainable Destinations

2 thoughts on “Italy: Florence

  1. This is 2015! Why are we looking at stats from 2006??? Grade ‘B’ is totally unfair. Overrun by Americans~ well all of Europe is overrun in the summer months. Florence is gorgeous and it’s not its fault that scores of people throng its narrow lanes to get a glimpse of art and their fair share of gastronomic indulgences. It commands the most stunning views from Piazzale Micheangelo and is a wonderful walking city. Love Florence for its mix of old & new!

    • Right! We need to update that B- grade. Given that tourist crowds have grown since 2006 and maintenance declined, how would you grade Florence today?

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