ROME (Reuters) - Florence wants to ban residential properties in its historic centre from being used for short-term rentals by platforms such as Airbnb in order to free up more homes for local people in the Tuscan city.
Dario Nardella, the mayor of one of Italy's most popular tourist destinations, said his city would pursue new rules at a local level because he regarded draft nationwide plans to regulate the sector as disappointing.
Under Nardella's proposal, dubbed 'save historic centres', the mayor plans to block new short-term rental contracts and offer tax breaks to encourage more permanent forms of residence.
Nardella is a member of the centre-left PD party, which is part of the opposition at national level.
As in other European countries, a mixture of low salaries, a property shortage, short-term holiday rentals and high inflation have driven a housing crisis, with low-wage earners and students hit hard in Italy.
The central government is working on a bill, which according to Italian media reports, would require each residential property rented to tourists to have a national identification code to help track and regulate lettings. Those failing to comply would risk a penalty of up to 5,000 euros ($5,500).
Additionally, authorities in the most visited cities would have the right to impose a minimum stay of two nights in the context of short rentals in their city centres.
Florence is home to the Uffizi art gallery and its city centre was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1982.
Student protests against the rising cost of living in big cities spread across Italy since last month.
Airbnb did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. ($1 = 0.9084 euros)
(Reporting by Federico Maccioni, Federica Urso; Editing by Keith Weir)