A POPULAR Italian restaurant has suddenly shut its doors after more than 40 years of serving customers in Bournemouth.

La Piccola Italia, on Holdenhurst Road, has announced its permanent closure after “43 incredible years.”

Co-owner, Graziano Piovan shared on social media to thank their customers who have supported the family business over the years.

The announcement on June 12 said: “Hello everyone, it’s with much sadness that I have to announce the permanent closure of La Piccola Italia after 43 incredible years.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and my family over the years, it’s been a pleasure to bring a little bit of Italy to Bournemouth.

“I hope you have all enjoyed your time at La Piccola as much as I have .

“Goodbye everyone, Graziano.”

The Italian restaurant first faced closure in December 2017 after plans were submitted by Graziano Piovan to demolish the site to make way for a nine-storey hotel.

The scheme would have seen a 57-room hotel with a new restaurant in its ground floor however, planning officers rejected the scheme under delegated powers.

Concern was expressed over the “excessive scale, height and site coverage” of the development as well as the lack of parking in the area.