Schmidt blames oil from take-away sandwiches, pizza and kebabs for stains on Florence streets and monuments.
The head of Italy's Uffizi Gallery, Eike Schmidt, has suggested taxing street food vendors in Italy's art cities - including Florence - and using the funds to pay for cleaning up streets stained by ketchup and oil.
Schmidt said the oily stains cause particular harm to the grey 'pietra serena' or Macigno sandstone used extensively in Renaissance Florence for architectural details.
The remarks by the German-born Schmidt, expressed during an interview with the daily QN, were reported by Italian news agency ANSA.
"It would be fair to introduce an additional taxation for street food establishments, or those that do not offer their customers space and tables but force them to eat on the street," said Schmidt, highlighting the constant cleaning undertaken by both the Uffizi and the city of Florence.
However Schmidt's proposal was rubbished by the Florence branch of Confartigianato Imprese, which represents artisans and small business owners in the Tuscan capital, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
The group's president Paolo Gori described it as an "absurd" and "senseless" idea, stating: "We are absolutely opposed to this additional burden on the city's businesses" which are already under heavy financial strain due to the covid-19
Gori suggested that the only way to counter the "uncivil behaviour" of those who dirty the city is to increase checks and hand out fines to whoever "does not respect the rules."
In 2019 Rome banned sitting and eating on the Spanish Steps
, a rule that is still enforced by police today.
Cover image: Tourists eating near the Pantheon in Rome. Photo credit: Roman Babakin / Shutterstock.com.