In the small walled off town of Lucca which is not far from Florence, one feels as if they have been thrown back in time. Lucca is noted for having a jaw-dropping piazza, a magnificently preserved medieval centers and mouth watering local cuisine. But ONLY local cuisine.
Now one must be clear, there are a dash of ethnic eateries tucked down some narrow streets behind the square, but not many. But don't look for any new ones to sprout up.
In January of 2009, Lucca passed a law banning new ethnic restaurants from opening up in its Old Town. "By ethnic cuisine we mean a different cuisine," city spokesman Massimo Di Grazia said Thursday, according to the Associated Press. "That means no new kebabs, Thai or Lebanese restaurants."
Is this being taken as gastronomic discrimination? Some local officials and restaurant owners definitely think so. They say it's indicative of a wider trend in Italy that foreshadows a slow but sure closing off of the country to outside cultures.
Those behind this ban claim its purpose it to protect local products, food and cuisine. Some nearby Tuscan towns have already passed similar ordinances. The ethnic restaurants that already exist are allowed to stay in business.
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