Hostile treatment in Italy

Old Aug 25th, 2004, 10:53 AM
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Hostile treatment in Italy

A few moments ago a colleague of mine told me about her sister's trip to Italy a few months ago. She was traveling with a tour group and they were accosted by a group of Italians angry at the US for Iraq. Not sure what part of Italy she was in. Apparently it was a pretty intense situation and her sister was very scared for her safety. Every one in the group starting insisting that they were against the war, whether they were or not, and this seemed to calm things down until they could get away.

Has anyone else who has traveled recently to Italy (or any where else in Europe) run into this? Any advice to to avoid or handle such confrontations, in addition to the way my friend's sister handled it? I guess, try not to look like an American tourist?
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 10:58 AM
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I have never heard of or experienced such treatment. In fact, the last time we were in Italy, we had great discussions with Italians about the world situation. I can't imagine the situation your colleague's sister found herself in - rare but unfortunate. Of course you will look like an American tourist but as long as you are friendly and respectful, you will get the same friendly response from most, if not all, Italian people.
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 11:00 AM
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I visited Italy in March 2004, and while there were "Pace" flags all over the place (Pace meaning peace), we were not targeted in any manner. Whenever we spoke to Italians and the subject came up, they expressed disapproval with the American government, not individuals, and then they went on to descibe how crazy there government is.

I would think this incident you describe is pretty isolated.
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 11:03 AM
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There are jerks everywhere. Just unfortunate that your colleague's sister ran into some.
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 11:04 AM
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Thank you, mamc & Momma Love. I am headed to Italy in about 6 weeks and it is comforting to know that this sort of thing is unusual.
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 11:06 AM
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Although I am sure that the report is true and accurate, has anyone else noticed how these things always happen to someone else?
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 11:10 AM
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You sure they were Italians?

They might have been some of Saddam's relatives who were left mansionless and with only a few million francs after the foul tyrant's long overdue demise.
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 11:30 AM
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The only time I experienced any anti-Americanism in Italy was when that jerk of a cab driver in Rome asked if I were American then proceded to try and dump me right in the middle of the PACE demonstration in March 2004 too. The trouble was it wasn't exactly a peaceful spot he drove up to, someone was stomping on the American flag and the group was shouting anti-USA chants. I was alone and refused to get out of the cab, the crowd in that area didn't seem the type to talk calmly to me about political ideals or "pace" for that matter. I could just see myself getting hit on the head or impaled with a pace flag's pole, ironically.

That was an isolated incident of crowd mentality but you can run into jerks as Rufus said anywhere in the world.

Don't worry.
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 11:31 AM
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I was in Italy April/May when the prisoner abuse was all over CNN and never heard a negative word about Americans or the situation in Iraq.
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 11:43 AM
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This "story" has an aroma to it.
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 11:45 AM
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We were also there in May, during the prisoner abuse scandal, and we were treated with warmth and respect everywhere we went. We even had a fun conversation with a young waiter who gushed about how much he loves America.

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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 12:04 PM
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We experienced nothing but gracious hospitality while we were in Italy last fall. I've expeerienced a lot of anger directed at me for being an American while I was in Spain (and that was pre-war!), but never Italy. It just seems un-Italian somehow.
And I wouldn't think twice about looking like an American tourist in Italy. We chatted and had dinner with all makes and models of tourists and we all have the same thing in common - we love Italy.
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 12:13 PM
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The story sounds fishy to me. An entire group of angry Italians "accosts" a group of American tourists, which sounds like assault or something.

The thing that sounds fishy is the part about her traveling with a tour group when this happened, and being frightened for her safety and everybody in the group having to say that were antiBush or whatever. This is not believable because if you are in a group, there are one or two group leaders who basically shepherd the group around, no angry mob could attack the group and crack them under pressue to admit to things that weren't true. Were the tour group leaders captured and tied up or something?

I just find this story very hard to believe. I've been in tour groups in Egypt, etc, and one nice thing about them is they do protect you from some unsavory events. It just isn't very believable that local Italians are capturing tour groups.

well, if this is true, I would think it would have made the papers.
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 12:16 PM
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ditto - this story is too bogus!
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 12:20 PM
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In 1969, I was attending summer school in Europe through a program run by Cal Berkeley. One Saturday our bus was driving through Munich when we came upon a huge anti-Vietnam War demostration.

Something about us screamed "Americans" to these demostrators and some very angry ones stormed our bus, jumping inside and shouting. Being 16 and 17 years old from liberal Northern California, we were all against the war, too. After a few of us shouted "Right On" and flashed the peace sign, the demonstrators completely calmed down and left us to go on our way - it was quite an experience!

I was in Europe last fall and didn't run into any obvious anit-Americanism. In fact, the French were nicer and more friendly than in all my previous trips. A cab driver in Prague toldus that his hero was Thomas Jefferson.

I saw one anti-Bush poster in Lisbon and that was the extent of it. Several people wanted to talk about American politics - they genuinely wanted to understand what it was about from an American point of view.

I do agree that people in other countries tend to separate the government from the people which I think is kind of sad. Maybe I am naive, but as long as I can vote and get invovled, I am part of my government. Though I may not agree with the current administration, I have the chance to vote on it every four years and make my voice heard in other ways as well.

I love talking politics with people in other countries - to me, that's one of the great things about travel.
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 12:21 PM
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Perhaps if the "Italians" had asked the Americans how many days they were spending in Rome and if they thought that was the right amount of time it would seem less "bogus."
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 12:24 PM
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I know 3 families who went to Italy (separately) in June. They all had a great time. We were in Madrid and London in APril, also, no negative attitude that I could detect.

This story may be a bit blown out of proportion perhaps...
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 12:54 PM
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I would like to know what type of place did this happen. I could totally see it happening in a local bar where younger generations hang out. The younger generations of italains seem very hateful to america( and sometimes Americans). Last year in trastevere I felt very unformfortable in few bars with and under 30 crowd (I was 29). No one said anything but it was clear by the looks and service we got we were not welcome. Our inkeeper (in his 20's) made it very clear that he was very upset with the US gov and said many other italians were as well. He was cordial and we told he we agreed with him, but he never totally warmed up to us. Even though he learned english in evanston IL, a stones throw from where we live in chicago. The nicest thing he said to us was " At least your not from Texas!".

It is funny because I also found that the french we much frendlier than the italians, last visit.

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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 01:03 PM
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I think "rare but unfortunate" is the best way to look at this situation. I visited Spain, Italy and England in July and saw no such situations.

In Spain, I spent most of the 4 days I was there with friends native to the area and in all "local" type places. Not one person treated us badly even in a little bar at 4am, the patrons encouraged the barkeep to play his collection of Bruce Springsteen, and all sang along with "Born in the USA"! It was great fun but just a little humiliating as an American in a Spanish bar. I think you will be just fine.
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Old Aug 25th, 2004, 01:11 PM
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The last I knew Italy was part of the coalition of the willing - and a very willing one. Berlosconi is Bush's best supporter in europe even as much a t blair. So who are Italians to talk? I vehemently oppose the war and if any Italian accosted me I'd say tell Berlosconi - I'm proudly wearing my anti-war buttons when I go to Europe next month. I've been in Italy many times and this incident must be an exception - i've never seen anything like this. Second-hand stories, even from relatives or friends, may leave something out. I don't know but I'm not worried one iota about going anywhere in Europe, especially Italy.
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