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November 26, 2004



Dear Alberto,
we love Italy and try to get there every year. Frequently, we dream about living there and then we wonder what it must be like to have constantly thousands of tourists congesting the streets, expecting the sales people and restaurant personel to speak 10 languages, etc. I don't think I would have half the patience most Italians display if I lived there. We have met so many kind and charming people in your country! Maybe instead of trying to change them we should have mandatory courses on how to behave when visiting a foreign country!



you certainly make a good point, and I can identify myself in your tourist-philosophy, if I may call it so. I don't think that the Italians should change that much, but I also think you've been quite lucky never to meet someone who just wants to get you to spend money and do as little as they can in exchange. I've heard many opinions similar to yours but also many of disappointed toruists, sometimes bitterly so, and with a very good reason to be so.

This is only a little part of the problem though. Italy has so many beautifull cities, villages and natural areas that it is a bit saddening to see how most tourist land always in the same places: Roma, Firenze, Venezia and the costiera Romagnola in summer. There's much more out there, but very little serious effort to change this. Curious tourist will find where to go, but most tourist don't want to make an effort and have to be get this information. They want to have an offer and that is why what Katia and Ronald are doing is important also as promotion of a particular area.


I think the contradition is like this: Places like Roma, Firenze and Milano is too packed with tourists that the locals don't pretty much give a damn to the foreigners any more (quoting my Germany friend's words). Whereas for a gem like Sicily, it is seldomly mentioned in a Italian travel guidebook. It's like you go to Sicily only if you're going for a trip to the south of Italy, not if you're going for a trip in Italy. I went to Sicily last year, stayed there for about 11 days and I really love to live there for the rest of my life. The government of Italy simply is not doing enough publication effort about these goodies overseas in place like where I'm living, Hong Kong. My friends always ask me if I was BORED during my 11 day stay in there. How can I? It is all because they've not heard much about this place so that their imagination can't stretch far.



perfectly put, you really got to the heart of the problem. My only doubt is: is the governmet the one that should make an effort? In part yes, certainly so. I mean we have a Ministry of tourism after all. On the other there's already a too relaxed mentality in Italy on this issue, with people always looking at institutions for change. I think that a little pressure from those directly interested in this issue, hotel owners, restaurateurs and the like, would push the institutions to do better.

And now let's all move to Sicily ;-).

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