The celebrity circus is headed to Florence, where US hip hop star Kanye West and his fiancee Kim Kardashian host a private party that might or might not be their wedding.
Locals and visitors were divided on the eve of the party, with teens thrilled by the celebrity arrivals while older generations turned their noses up at the “invasion”.
“Seeing Florence turned into Hollywood is not something you see every day!” said Sara, a teenager out for a stroll near the picturesque 16th century Forte Belvedere overlooking the Boboli Gardens where the festivities will take place.
But her friend Ilaria said Florence’s precious Renaissance monuments should not be “sold off” amid controversy in the city over a municipal policy of renting out picturesque locations to high-paying customers like Kim and Kanye.
City spokesman Marco Agnoletti has said the couple will pay 360,000 euros ($A531,00) for the privilege and most of that money will go towards restoring the fortress for the public.
That is not enough to assuage Jean-Jacques and Diego, two friends who own a house nearby and divide their time between the Italian cultural jewel, France and Switzerland.
“It’s an annoyance for the population, for neighbours. It’s a Hollywood invasion that brings to the little streets of Florence a style that is really not in tune with the nature of Florentines,” middle-aged Diego said.
West, 36, and Kardashian, 33, were expected to fly to Florence from France on Saturday, where they will be joined by celebrity guests.
The pair on Friday lunched in a French chateau west of Paris owned by iconic designer Valentino and visited the famous Chateau of Versailles, France’s best known palace.