Late-Night Gelato Under Threat: Milan Considers Take-Away Food Ban

The aroma of freshly churned gelato and the vibrant energy of late-night dining are hallmarks of Milan's nightlife. However, a proposed law threatens to change this cultural landscape. The city is considering a ban on all take-away food, including the beloved gelato, after midnight.


This proposal, aimed at "protecting the tranquility" of residents and "guaranteeing the use of public spaces," would see a complete halt to take-away food sales after 12:00 am. Additionally, outdoor dining would be restricted, ending at 12:30 am in residential areas and 1:30 am on weekends and holidays.

Marco Granelli, Milan's deputy mayor for security, emphasizes finding a balance. He acknowledges the city's lively spirit and the importance of social spaces for all ages. However, the new rules target noise complaints originating from late-night gatherings around food vendors.

The potential implementation in mid-May would encompass 12 districts, including popular nightlife hubs like Brera and Navigli. This prospect has sparked controversy, with many questioning its practicality.

"This goes against common sense," argues Marco Barbieri, representing Milan's retailers' association. He highlights the disruption to families who enjoy a late dinner followed by a cherished gelato tradition. Furthermore, Barbieri criticizes the midnight deadline, considering the typical late-night dining habits, especially during summer months.

This is not Milan's first attempt at such a curfew. In 2013, a similar proposal met with fierce public opposition, leading to a movement aptly named "Occupy Gelato." The success of this protest underscores the deep-rooted significance of late-night food culture in Milan.

The debate raises questions about balancing resident well-being with the city's vibrant nightlife. Will Milan find a solution that preserves tranquility without sacrificing its cultural identity? Only time will tell if the city embraces a compromise or faces another "Occupy Gelato" movement.