Eike Schmidt, a German art historian who formerly served as director of the Uffizi Galleries, has officially launched his campaign to become mayor of Florence. But a smooth road to office has been impeded by left-wing politicians in the city, who have accused him of denigrating a southern Italian region.

Within Italy, Schmidt is being viewed as a potential asset to Giorgia Meloni, the right-wing Prime Minister of the country. Florence has historically been a left-wing city; if Schmidt, who calls himself a moderate, takes the helm, he could flip it in Meloni’s favor.

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Schmidt has promised to return “splendor” to Florence, which is home to some of the Italian Renaissance’s greatest masterpieces and has been, in recent years, beset by mass tourism. Despite concerns about the influx of travelers, Schmidt has said he won’t limit visits, instead saying that he would “schedule” them—which is similar to the method he used to clamp down on foot traffic at the Uffizi. And he has seemed to embrace big business within the city, saying, “What is important . . . is to run the municipality according to corporate criteria, without ideology.”

His campaign slogan is “Firenze Magnifica,” or “Magnificent Florence,” which the New York Times compared to Donald Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again.”

The vote for mayor will take place this week, and according to the Financial Times, Schmidt is still trailing the Democrat Sara Funaro by a few points. With the election drawing to a close, his campaign has heated up in the past few days as left-wing politicians accused Schmidt of prejudice.

In one pamphlet for Schmidt’s campaign, he wrote that “Florence is not Torre del Greco,” an allusion to a city near Naples that, as the Art Newspaper points out, is most commonly associated with crime and the mafia. The city’s mayor, Luigi Mennella, called the comparison “sleazy propaganda.”

Dario Nardella, the outgoing Florence mayor, was among the left-wing detractors, saying in a video posted to social media that Schmidt had gone against Florence’s reputation as “an open city that has always welcomed everyone.”

Schmidt, for his part, said that he would not be brought down by “reckless attacks and slander,” writing on X, “If they have no other arguments and are in a panic, it’s their problem. We move forward, there is a city to save.”