Thursday, 10 May 2012

Tourist tax in Florence - Tassa di Soggiorno a Firenze

A tourist tax in Florence was introduced on 1 July 2011. This is a tax on any tourist - in fact, any non-resident visitor - sleeping overnight in commercial premises within Florence, including camping grounds. The amount of the tourist tax ranges from 1 euro to 5 euros per person per night, depending on the star rating of the accommodation in the case of hotels, and will range from 1 to 3 euros for other forms of accommodation. The Florence tourist tax maximum is 5 euros per person per night, for five nights maximum. It will be the accommodation that is responsible for collecting the tax. Some hotels are listing the tourist tax as a separate item and adding it to their charges while others are silently swallowing it. A similar tassa di soggiorno was introduced in Venice, and many municipalities throughout Tuscany have followed suit, so that we can now basically think of a tourist tax in Tuscany. The details of the tourism tax for Greve in Chianti can be seen here.

Tourist tax in Tuscany

This is an unfortunate consequence of the widespread tax evasion practised by individuals and small businesses in Italy. The municipal tax take is simply too small to finance the upkeep of the attractions and facilities on which tourist cities such as Florence depend for a significant part of their business. It could also be that Florence and, especially, Venice are less interested in budget tourists. Unjust but understandable.

One of the complaints levelled at this tourist tax by the hotel owners of Florence is that it gave even further advantage to the agriturismi, B&Bs and farmhouse apartments in the countryside that are already able to offer prices with which city hotels have no possibility to compete. This complaint is justified and many if not all rural municipalities have now introduced a similar tax for agriturismi and other rural accommodations. Nevertheless, country accommodations remain one of the great tourist deals in Italy.

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