Just back from Florence and horrified to see how beggars and illegal traders (mainly the bag sellers) have multiplied since we were there at the same time two years ago. Most do not seem to be Italian native speakers.
PLEASE visitors, don't support them. The legal traders have stalls with permits. Those selling guide books and handbags around the Duomo area are illegals. We saw the police doing circuits and watched them whisking away their wares as soon as their look-outs spotted them. As for the beggars, ignore them.
I'd be interested to know from any locals what is being done, particularly about the beggars who can be very persistent.