A US tour operator has filed a formal legal complaint with the Attorney of the Court of Auditors of Tuscany protesting the deterioration of buildings and monuments in the city following years of abuse at the hands of locals and tourists alike.

Smith complains that there is a loss of control in the restoration of the city which is destroying the image of Florence and some of its most iconic landmarks.

In his legal filing, Smith has requested that the Attorney of the Court of Auditors of Tuscany determines the financial liability of the Italian prime minister and former Mayor of Florence, Matthew Renzi. The legal complaint also requests that the current Mayor, Dario Nardella, certain municipal leaders and key figures in the Italian Ministry of Culture also be held to account.

Smith is an American citizen and owner of Private Italy Tour Ltd, a tour operator based in Asheville, North Carolina (USA). The firm has specialized in trips to Tuscany for several years and is leading a campaign in the United States to save Florence.

The legal complains was addressed to the Regional Prosecutor of the Court of Auditors of the Tuscany Region. It wants to see municipal leaders responsible for the safeguarding and restoration of the Florence’s cultural heritage and property to be held to account. The complaint cites the disappointing state of conservation at a number of cultural buildings and historical landmarks in Florence due to a lack of diligence, protection and security by city officials.

Smith, who has for many years personally accompanied his clients in Florence, has seen a continuing degradation of a large number of buildings. He said, “For many years, nothing has been done to repair the exterior appearance of many of the most famous buildings in Florence.”

A UNESCO study of the condition of the city of Florence made international headlines last year when it was announced by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Paris. The investigation was opened in accordance with art.174 of Regulation Unesco, after a petition signed by more than 1,100 signatories. The petition, study and its outcome could mean that Florence loses its UNESCO World Heritage status.  

“When I read about Ottaviano de Medici’s leadership in identifying the critical status of the world’s city of art, I had to get involved,” Smith said. He contacted de Medici and became a leader in the long range plan to save Florence.

Prince Ottaviano de 'Medici of Tuscany, the current representative of the famous dynasty that ruled Florence for almost 300 years from 1430 to 1737 has handed Smith several documents which act as evidence showing a lack of municipal support for the restoration of the city. 

For a copy of the legal filing or further information please contact Mark Gordon Smith. Email: private_italy@hotmail.com or Tel: +39.340.23.70.886