Milan Proposes Midnight Takeaway Food Ban, Sparking Controversy Over Ice Cream Tradition

Milan proposes banning late-night takeaway food and ice cream sales to curb noise and disturbances, sparking debate over preserving cultural traditions vs addressing residents' concerns.

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Quadri Adejumo
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Milan Proposes Midnight Takeaway Food Ban, Sparking Controversy Over Ice Cream Tradition

Milan Proposes Midnight Takeaway Food Ban, Sparking Controversy Over Ice Cream Tradition

The city of Milan, Italy has proposed a ban on the sale of takeaway food after midnight in popular nightlife areas from June to November 2024. The proposed restrictions, aimed at combating noise and disturbances, would also require bars and restaurants to close outdoor areas earlier. However, the inclusion of a prohibition on late-night ice cream vendors in the proposal has sparked controversy, with critics arguing it would interfere with the cherished Italian tradition of enjoying gelato during evening strolls.

Deputy Mayor Marco Granelli, who is responsible for security, stated that the city is seeking to strike a balance between social activities, entertainment, the peace and health of residents, and the economic interests of businesses. The proposed rules would affect 12 of Milan's lively nightlife districts, including the Navigli canals and Arco della Pace areas, which are popular with both locals and tourists.

The potential impact on Milan's ice cream shops and the cultural habit of savoring a late-night gelato has drawn strong opposition. The Italian retailers' association, Confcommercio, argues that the ban would be an unacceptable attack on consumers and businesses. "Going for a stroll and eating an ice cream is a social tradition. It's not the ice-cream makers who are noisy," said Marco Barbieri, a Confcommercio representative in Milan.

Why this matters: The proposed ban highlights the ongoing tension between preserving cultural traditions and addressing quality-of-life concerns in popular urban areas. As cities confront the challenge of balancing the needs of residents, businesses, and tourists, the outcome of Milan's debate could set a precedent for other destinations facing similar challenges.

Mayor Giuseppe Sala acknowledged the need to address residents' complaints about lack of sleep due to noisy nightlife, but expressed openness to discussing the specific issue of ice cream sales. A similar proposal to ban late-night gelato in Milan was abandoned in 2013 after public backlash. Meanwhile, city officials in Rome are also considering measures to restrict alcohol and takeaway food sales to manage late-night disturbances and litter in inner-city districts.

Key Takeaways

  • Milan proposes ban on late-night takeaway food, including ice cream, to curb noise.
  • Proposed rules would affect 12 nightlife districts, sparking controversy over cultural traditions.
  • Retailers argue ban would be an unacceptable attack on consumers and businesses.
  • Mayor open to discussing ice cream sales, as similar 2013 proposal was abandoned.
  • Rome also considering measures to restrict late-night alcohol and takeaway food sales.