Rome

Italy's supreme court rules in favour of foreign tour guides

Case could set important precedent for tourism industry

Italy's supreme court rules in favour of foreign tour guides

(ANSA) - Rome, July 31 - Foreign tour guides are welcome in the public squares of Italy, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a decision that overturns regional laws that protect local guides. The case involved a German tour guide, dubbed Georg E.K., who was fined more than 1,000 euros by the City of Florence for acting as a tour guide without a proper license. The penalty was imposed in 2004 after the guide was heard explaining the significance of Florence's historic Piazza della Signoria to tourists who were part of his German bus group. According to city administration, Georg "had not demonstrated the professional competence necessary for the proper conduct of a tour guide in Florence and, more specifically, in Piazza della Signoria, a veritable open air museum". The Supreme Court, however, ruled that bylaw contravenes the freedom to provide services - particularly in a case involving a single trip organized outside the country. Local guides may still exercise "exclusive jurisdiction" inside museums and monuments, said the court, but the squares and streets of the city centre are open to "outsiders".

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