Experiences involving food in Florence
This page is here to help give you a starting point to find out about some of the obligations that may apply to you if you decide to host Trips or Experiences on Airbnb. It’s for your information only and includes summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to official resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the law has not changed recently.*
What are the most important principles to think about?
Your guests’ health and safety should always come first. For example, here is what Massimiliano recommends: "I always make sure that my kitchen is spic and span, that I only use fresh ingredients, that I tell my guests about the ingredients I use (and that I share my secret recipes. I also ask my guests in advance about any food allergies they may have and religious or philosophical codes that I need to keep in mind when I prepare a meal to share with them. It’s also a good idea to make sure guests are aware of the food they are going to eat so they can inform you in case of any specific issue of any sort."
My experience will involve serving food to guests (outside of a traditional restaurant, cafe, or food business). Are there any specific rules I need to follow?
Yes. The rules that apply to you will depend on whether you are considered to be running a food business or if you are a non-professional.
What rules apply to me if I am a non-professional?
If you are a non-professional - that means, if you are occasionally serving food to family and friends only and not for profit - it is good practice to meet high food safety and hygiene standards. In its Five Key Points for Safer Food Manual, the World Health Organisation provides guidance about how to handle, cook, clean and store food. The Health Ministry has also issued a guide for cooking a safe meal at home.
When would I be considered to be operating a “food business"?
If your experience involves cooking, handling or serving food to the general public for profit, it is likely that you will considered a “food business operator" (OSA) running a “food business" (somministrazione di alimenti e bevande, catering, banqueting, sale of packaged food).
The Ministry of Economic Development has provided its view on home cooking. At the moment most forms of home cooking trigger legal requirements that you’ll need to comply with, with few exceptions.
The Ministry’s view is that if there is any element of profit involved or if the people you serve at home are not friends or family, you will be considered to be a “food business" triggering certain legal obligations.
There are a couple of limited exceptions to this:
If you just cook a meal at someone else’s place or equipped kitchen, without providing the whole dining setting, service, equipment and cutlery, you may be considered an autonomous professional, rather than a food business operator. In that case, you will not need to provide prior-notification for your activity (but you’ll still need to make sure you meet personal hygiene standards, to issue a proper receipt for your services and pay taxes on your income).
(This exception does not apply if you organize the full dining experience and provide the equipment (such as cooking tools, cutlery, linens etc.). In that case, even if you are using someone else’s place to cook and serve the meal, you will need to comply with these legal requirements).
If you just occasionally invite a group of friends or family home and cook a meal for them, and your charge only covers your actual costs, then you would likely not be considered to be a “food business".
Here are some examples of activities for which a SCIA is likely to be required:
- I cook and serve meals at my home to my guests that don't come from within my own circle of friends, and I am paid for that.
- I cook at home and bring food to a public space where I sell it.
Here are some examples of activities for which you may not need to obtain a SCIA:
- I plan to host guests at my local favourite restaurant.
- I’d like to take guests along to a festival where food is served by the festival organisers.
- I am invited to a private party where I cook using tools and equipment provided by the owner.
I am not sure about whether I am a non-professional or a food business - where can I find out more?
The SUAP office and the Food Business desk in Florence should be able to advise you if you need to be registered as a food business operator (O.S.A.). They may also refer you to other resources where you can find out about your obligations.
What are the requirements and obligations I need to follow if I run a food business?
If you are considered to be running a food business, you will need to submit a prior-notification about your activity (see the section on business requirements for more information), and you will also need to comply with food and beverage legal requirements, particularly hygiene rules for food business.Hygiene rules for food businesses
In order to protect your guests, it is important to meet the health and safety standards that apply to both food businesses and non-professionals (see What rules apply to me if I am a non-professional? section).
When offering your experience in Florence, you will need to comply with Florence Food and Beverages Hygiene Regulation (Regolamento Comunale di Igiene in Materia di Alimenti e Bevande) and apply for an authorization before the Florence ASL (Azienda Sanitaria Locale) pursuant to art. 6 of the EU Regulation no. 852/2004. Also, you will need to create an HACCP manual and adhere to its rules.
Please be aware that failing to obtain the authorization or to comply with hygiene, safety and other applicable rules could potentially expose you to financial and possibly, criminal consequences: please find here a list of recently issued penalties.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).