New rules for Milan buskers

Milan city hall has approved new rules for buskers and street artists in the city. They may now perform in the designated squares and streets every day of the week from 09.00 to midnight. Those who do not charge for their show, but merely accept offers – buskers, jugglers, balloon sculptors “living statues” and mimes  – will no longer have to pay the hated tax for occupation of public ground.  Artists can now pre-book their space of at least two square metres and will have free access.  Those who charge for drawing or painting your portrait or reading the Tarot cards and similar “arts and crafts” stalls with fixed prices can also book their pitch, but will still need to pay the tax.

There will be limits on the length of the performances. The first category, the “street artists”, may perform for a maximum of three hours in any one of the designated places, and not more than four times a month. The second category, that of the arts and crafts, may “open shop” for a maximum of three months in any one place, and not more than twice a year. The concept is to encourage turnover and provide an incentive for the diffusion of street culture in different parts of Milan, the city hall announced.

Areas will also be set aside for the “extemporary expression of street arts”, where no bureaucratic rules need be observed.  And new areas will be selected in less central zones, on the advice of the local councils, and taking into account the category of the area – whether residential or business.

The city is preparing a website where street artists will be able to book their pitch on line, and where Milan residents can look up who will be playing, where and when.

“The history of culture was born on the streets,” stated councillor Filippo Barberis, announcing the initiative.  “Opening the streets to artists means bringing culture to the citizens.  We’re aiming to make Milan an open city, more attractive, more rich in culture, more alive and more European.”

The rules were drawn up with the collaboration of the Piccola Scuola del Circo (Little Circus School).

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