Tourists in Florence are being warned they could face fines of up to €500 ($881) for eating in the street.

New laws, which went into force on Tuesday, ban snacking in four streets in the Italian city's historic centre.

Local businesses in the affected sites have been asked to put up signs warning visitors about the ban in prominent places. They read: "Respect residents, traders and workers of this street."

According to The Local, the restrictions will be in place from 12 to 3pm and between 6 and 10pm. They will remain in place for four months.

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The affected areas are Via de' Neri, Piazzale degli Uffizi, Piazza del Grano and Via della Ninna.

Florence is known for its fine cuisine and reviews on Tripadvisor have rated the city as having the world's best sandwiches.

But the Telegraph reports that local businesses were fed up with tourists loitering outside their premises or sitting on kerbs and sating their hunger pangs.

Mayor Dario Nardella said: "It's not a punitive measure but a deterrent.

"If tourists behave in Florence as they would at home then they will always be welcome, especially if they want to try our gastronomic specialities."

However, it is not the first time Mr Nardella has brought in controversial rules affecting tourists.

Last year, he announced that the city would be fighting back against a rise in messy tourists who leave iconic churches strewn with rubbish by hosing down the steps at lunch time.

He said the the measure was aimed at people who "camp out" at historic sites during the middle of the day, then leave them strewn with greasy packaging and beer bottles.

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New laws, which went into force yesterday, ban snacking in four streets in the Italian city's historic centre close to Florence Cathedral, picture. Photo / Getty Images
New laws, which went into force yesterday, ban snacking in four streets in the Italian city's historic centre close to Florence Cathedral, picture. Photo / Getty Images

Elsewhere in Italy, in the capital Rome, there has also been a crackdown on unruly tourists and authorities have even considered fencing off the celebrated Spanish Steps to protect them from "barbarian" hordes of sightseers.

Last year, the city considered barring tourists from stopping next to the Trevi Fountain to crack down on illegal swimming there.

In Venice, stewards patrol the city looking for signs of uncouth behaviour such as sitting down on church steps and eating. And in Milan earlier this year, visitors were banned from taking pictures with selfie sticks.