Florence is located in a basin surrounded by hills and bisected by the Arno River. The historical centre contained in medieval walls gathers the most important cultural heritage of the city. The historical center it was declared a Word Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982 for these reasons:
“The urban complex of Florence is in itself a unique artistic realization, an absolute chef-d’œuvre, the fruit of continuous creation over more than six centuries. In addition to its museums (the Archaeological Museum, Uffizi, Bargello, Pitti, Galleria dell’Accademia), the greatest concentration of universally renowned works of art in the world is found here – the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Baptistery and the Campanile of Giotto, Piazza della Signoria dominated by Palazzo Vecchio and the Palazzo Uffizi, San Lorenzo, Santa Maria Novella, Santa Croce and the Pazzi chapel, Santo Spirito, San Miniato, and the Convent of San Marco which houses paintings of Fra Angelico. Since the Quattrocento, Florence has exerted a predominant influence on the development of architecture and the monumental arts – first in Italy, and throughout Europe: the artistic principles of the Renaissance were defined there from the beginning of the 15th century by Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio. It was in the Florentine milieu that two universal geniuses of the arts – Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo – were formed and asserted.”
Reflection on the tourism in the pilot
Tourism is an important resource for Florence, both for economy and employment. The resident population is about 381,000 inhabitants although in 2015 Florence was visited by 9 millions of tourist of which 76% were foreigners. The largest number of tourists come from the United States of America, followed by those from the United kingdom. However the flow of Chinese tourists is in constant growth. The type of tourism is mainly cultural: museums, churches and works of art are the main attractions of the city. Just the Uffizi museum has welcomed almost 2 million visitors in 2015. The period of greatest influx of tourist is from April to October, but there are many tourist also in other months. There are different types of tourists who visit the city of Florence: family, individual or organized tour. The residence time is varied too: there are weekend tourists, transit tourist and visitors staying one week or more. The residence time is on average 2.5 days.
Current waste management practices
In 2015 the Waste production in Florence municipality amounted to 239.290 tonnes: separate collection was more than 50%. A remarkable achievement for a city that has such a high tourist flow. The Waste Management System in the municipality of Florence is an integrated model which provides different solutions depending on the context, such as underground bins in the historical center, street bins with volumetric access control in the urbanized area, door to door or proximity collection in urban areas with a low density.
The types of waste that is collected separately with this solutions are: paper, organic, multi-material and unsorted waste. Also are collected separately bulky and green waste in collection centers and through service on demand;WEEE, expired drugs and batteries in collection centers and Eco-van (an equipped vehicle).
Impact of tourism on waste management
The impact on waste management of such a high tourist flow in Florence is relevant: the average per capita waste generation in the city centre reaches values above 1.000 kg per inhabitant per year. The local infrastructure is well structured and guarantees a waste collection service adequate to cope with the relevant amount of waste generated, but the quality of the separate collected waste fractions (paper, organic, multi-material packaging) is low. This is mainly because it’s difficult to adequately inform tourists on the waste collection system in place, or to raise their awareness on the importance to pay attention to waste prevention and separate collection during their stay. That’s why an effort to improve the communication strategies, as well as the waste management services, targeting specifically tourists is a key issue for the city of Florence.