Late-Night Ice Cream Runs Might Get Banned In One Italian City

Tourists and residents might have trouble satisfying late-night cravings very soon.

Pizza and gelato are two can't-miss food items to be had on a trip to Italy, but strolling in search of a midnight slice may soon become illegale for residents and tourists alike in Milan. CNN reports that officials in the city have announced plans to ban sales of takeaway food after midnight. Marco Granelli, Milan's deputy mayor of security, posted to social media explaining that the ban is meant to protect the "tranquility" of residents and maintain a "balance between sociability and entertainment and the peace and health of residents."

Following a travel pause during COVID, Italy and other European countries experienced a major uptick in tourism. By May 2023, Italy's tourism had grown by 15% over 2022, and Forbes reported the country was expecting 68 million visitors for the year. In Milan, tourist arrivals reached just above 6 million in 2022, according to Statista.

The ban would forbid the sale of food or drinks in outside areas between 12:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weekdays and 1:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weekends. Twelve of the city's districts would have to adhere to this new regulation, should it pass: Brera, Garibaldi, Nolo, Lazzaretto, Melzo, Isola, Sarpi, Cesariano, Arco della Pace, Corso Como-Gae Aulenti, Ticinese, and Darsena-Navigli. Pending approval, the law could go into effect next month and last until November, when the tourism season dies down.

Some are opposed to Milan’s late-night food ban

Late-night partying is not just an American pastime for 20-somethings; in many European countries, including Italy, most young people don't go out until late into the evening. For this reason and for the sake of businesses in these districts, many are hoping to modify the terms of this potential ban.

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Marco Barbieri, the secretary general of the Milan branch of the Italian retailers' association, told CNN that the potential ban is nonsensical and should be modified. Rather than preventing the sale of food and drink after midnight, Barbieri suggests keeping public spaces like parks open later to shift the night-owl party noise away from residential areas.

Milan is not the only city attempting to curb overtourism. Venice has recently begun charging day visitors a tourism tax to enter, and Como has similar plans. These measures are being taken in order to deal with the overwhelming influx of tourists arriving at these destinations in the spring and summer months.

Whether or not the new law in Milan will pass is still uncertain. CNN notes a similar ban was proposed back in 2013 but did not pass due to public backlash.

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