Alfresco fiasco: Italians reject outside tables

Italians want to limit alfresco dining

Italians want to limit alfresco dining Photo: Pickpik CC

There is a move in Italy’s government towards making tables and terraces outside bars, restaurants and nightclubs permanent.

Having become the norm during the Covid pandemic, the law permitting outdoor tables and chairs for ‘alfresco’ dining was only supposed to be temporary. To the delight of customers and restaurateurs, but not without controversy, the summer season will open with the certainty of being able to continue drinking and eating outdoors, after confirmation of the law that allows restaurant and bar owners to use public land without paying a fee.

Carlo Rienzi, president of Codacons, is one of those voicing disagreement. The association has called the proliferation of outdoor dining and drinking, “a rape of historic centres and cities”.

Chaos in the streets

Rienzi said: “Despite the fact that the conditions of the Covid emergency that had allowed bars and restaurants to occupy public land no longer exist, the government wants to make permanent a measure that has caused only chaos”.

The greatest resistance to outdoor dining among Italians, according to data, is the excessive occupation of pavements, followed by chaos in the streets and the lack of parking spaces.

And the figures back up the unhappy residents as in the past three years alone the amount of space in Rome used for alfresco dining has more than quintupled, going from 21,000 sq m to 112,000 sq m. and Monica Lucarelli, Rome’s Councillor for commerce called the plans to extend temporary licences as, “absurd and unacceptable”

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.


    • Jeff A

      23 May 2024 • 13:04

      Maybe they got the idea from our mayor here in Spain. Since making our elegant and wide Main Street a traffic free zone it sometimes resembles a refugee’s feeding zone. With hundreds of usually empty tables stretching hundreds of meters and now also lots of closed businesses and empty shops.

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