Foreign tourists in Pienza, an Italian town, are being blamed for silencing a historic clock tower that locals say they cannot sleep without, Telegraph reported. Notably, the locals argued that the tolls of the Renaissance clock tower, which chimed every 30 minutes, helped them sleep.
However, tourists staying in nearby hotels and bed and breakfast properties complained about the noise. As a result, bells will now be silenced between 10 pm and 7 am.
“We received complaints from several owners of B&Bs. They were mostly from the properties that are close to the main piazza and so near to the bell tower,” Manolo Garosi, the mayor of Pienza, told The Telegraph.
He added, ”We are not the only ones to do this. Other towns that have bell towers have done just the same thing.”
According to the Independent, grievances mostly came from foreign guests staying in B&Bs, particularly in the summer, when they were more likely to leave windows open overnight to keep rooms cool.
Locals are left dismayed with the decision, with some arguing that the bells are part of the fabric of the town. Others claimed that they are struggling to sleep without the regular tolling that they have been accustomed to hearing all their lives.
Pienza has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996 and attracts many tourists.
Recently, the United Nations cultural agency warned that Venice should be added to a list of heritage sites in danger. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said in a report that the Italian city is at risk of “irreversible damage” from overwhelming tourism, overdevelopment, and rising sea levels due to climate change.
Venice, known for its canals and cultural sites, has been struggling with mass tourism for years.