The bell tower in this Italian town has been silenced by tourists

The chiming will now be paused overnight after numerous complaints from holidaymakers – and locals aren’t happy about it

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Pienza, Tuscany, Italy
Photograph: Shutterstock

We all have our bedtime quirks. Some of us have a 12-step skincare routine to wind down, maybe with some candles burning and a ban on using anything with a screen, others of us doze off in front of the TV until 2 am and then lazily traipse up to bed. 

The residents of Pienza, Italy, however, have recently been deprived of something which was important to their wind-down. 

This Tuscan town is home to a Renaissance-era bell tower, which used to chime every thirty minutes throughout the day. However, since receiving numerous complaints from tourists visiting the town, the Mayor of Pienza, Manolo Garosi, has announced it will no longer ring between 10pm and 7am. 

Garosi explained many of the complaints came from American tourists staying in B&Bs local to the main piazza, where the bell tower resides. It’s true that they’re more likely to be recovering from jet lag, but the issue has also been made more prevalent during the summer months as people sleep with their windows open. 

Pienza’s glorious rustic architecture and stunning location in the Tuscan hills feature in Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, which makes Pienza a hotspot for tourism. However, the surge in visitor numbers since the pandemic has meant many holiday destinations are busier than ever — and in Pienza, the special treatment given to tourists has clearly ruffled some feathers.  

Many of the 2,000 permanent inhabitants of this quaint Tuscan town feel as though they have been robbed of part of Pienza’s fabric. The bell has been chiming for over 560 years, after all. 

Despite qualms over this decision from the locals, Garosi explained that other instances like this mean it is hardly unprecedented. To the Telegraph, he said ‘We are not the only ones to do this. Other towns that have bell towers have done just the same thing.’

No matter whose side you’re on, it doesn’t look like the decision is going to be reversed any time soon. Alexa, play some whale music. 

Did you see Italy is launching a series of vintage trains for tourists?

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