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On January 12, 2017, a new law on tourism went into effect. The article regulates the activity of professional room renters and has generated dissent in the Chianti towns where tourism is vital.

The particular law involves the following: “YThe obligation to stop serving food and beverages to the dwellers within 6 months of the start of the regional law; that is, by next July 12, 2017”.

The change is destabilizing for those who have been practicing this activity for decades and have been offering breakfast, lunch and dinner in addition to lodging.

What is more, the law gives very little warning about the change. As you continue to read, you can see the terms, including: “to acknowledge the strategic role of tourism”, “to lead the finalized politics towards the creation of sustainable tourism” and “to recognize, promote and give value to all forms of tourism”.

This seems to be a contradiction between words and actions, actions which grossly penalize professional “landlords”. This is also due to the fact that for other categories (hotels and campgrounds, for example), there is no lack of liberalization.

Spokespersons for the protest are Antonio Pescetti, owner of  “La Chiara di Prumiano”, and Gianni De Marchi, owner of “Il Paretaio”, both excellent vacation structures in the Barberino Val d’Elsa countryside.

They have two objectives: to inform colleagues and make understood to those who promoted the law how much it damages them. They, along with others, are thinking of closing.

“We were among the first to open and still maintain excellent standards,” begins Antonio. “We have been hosting seminars, workshops and courses for 30 years. Those who visit us come mainly for these activities, not for vacation. It is unheard of for them to have to move to get something to eat”.

“We have also reached our 30th year,” says Giani. “We have a horseback riding school at an international level. We organize lessons and tours for individuals and families who, while staying here, want to speak about horses from morning to night, meals included”.

“We found out about the new text regarding tourism on February 23,” they say, “thanks to a letter which the Township of Barberino kindly forwarded to us. There might be establishments who still don’t know anything”.

“Room renters do not belong to an association,” they explain. “We moved by ourselves and formed a group of approximately 15 local entities. The Town Union of Chianti Fiorentino has supported us.”
“Competition doesn’t exist,”they continue. “Our guests, often foreigners with small children and no auto, don’t feel like moving around the open countryside in search of lunch and dinner.” “Closing would mean un undesirable situation, not only for us,” they underline. “Our collabortors and suppliers would also suffer, as well as the local businesses. We buy our raw materials from them and the tourists buy newspapers, souvenirs and other various objects.” “We propose the repeal of the law, or at least, a modified version,” conclude Antonio and Gianni. “It is right to fight against abuses, but we who respect the rules and live off this type of work, suffer as well”.

Noemi Bartalesi