Italy full - come back later.

Jun 26th, 2007, 04:19 AM
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Read in NY TImes a few weeks ago that the British are considered the worst tourists (guess they took a poll of people in the tourism business), as far as those bachelor weekends, I believe, and now the Chinese are coming in a close second! Seems the Chinese are just beginning to do the traveling to other countries thing, and in their own country they are used to pushing ahead in lines, etc. Thus, they're getting a bad reputation. I've noticed this on the subway in NY. Cultural thing, but not considered good manners here in NY either.
kenav is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 04:22 AM
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You are right, Ira, my bad. I was straying from the original point of this thread.

I still, however, get depressed when I see Budweiser banners and jello shot specials advertised outside Roman bars.
faredolce is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 04:44 AM
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This is a very interesting anthropological thread and reminds me of a conversation I once had with an Englishman who, when he found out I was from Canada, explained his dismay at finding a McDonalds up in Northern Quebec. My reply was: "yes, the Inuit like to eat burgers too". I was more amazed that he attempted to impose his own pre-conceived ideas when he travelled to such a place. It did not fit in with his cosy idea of how native people in Canada should behave for the tourists.

Surely the Romans are responsible for taking care of their city and not allowing it to turn into happy hour central? How can you blame tourists for this? If this is not offered to tourists, how can they take advantage? My father, husband and I certainly didn't demand this when we visited Rome this past weekend. I certainly don't take any responsibility for this - I just expect a fair exchange. I want to see their stuff and I'm nice to Italians when they come to see our stuff in London.

We are not comfortable with seeing these changes because they do not fit in with our idea of beautiful Rome. But do we complain when they happily speak English to us or print tourist signs in English, like they do in the Forum? Where do you draw the line at change?
endlessummer is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 05:52 AM
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I believe the article said that, indeed, Roman authorities had actively created "nightlife zones" with more bars, etc. A fellow with an Irish name (possibly from England or the US or Australia - it didn't say) was the organizer of "pub crawls". Pub crawls, in Rome.

Who to blame? Well, even when the environment is created by people hungry for tourist dollars, if there are drunks outside your bedroom window - whether playig, peeing or puking - they get some of the blame. Personal responsibility, all that stuff.

Then businesspeople who exist to see that their customers "have a good time" with no regard to neighbors or indeed the safety of the community, they get some blame.

And if local authorities do nothing to control what happens in their town - after all, they are supposed to be in charge - they need to be replaced at the next election.

One odd thing in the article, there is a slight sense that people disturbed by the crowds of unruly boors and public drunkenness are somehow "old-fashioned" or patrician. I would imagine that they are actually middle class people who don't like seeing their home and city turned into a year-round World Cup celebration or worse.

Faredolce, I agree that one of the darker aspects would be if this signifies a change in Italian young people, if they are getting on the spring break, girls-gone-wild bandwagon (or, equally, the Brit bachelor party/weekend on a cheap flight routine.) Whether there is much drunkenness among Italians is a question I can't answer, but it is not something that has been particularly visible - public intoxication is something we haven't seen much of. And I've held for a long time to the premise that generally Italians (like some other Europeans) drink for enjoyment, rather than to get drunk - which, face it, is the US collegiate model today.

Kenav, funny sideline on the Chinese pushing ahead in line - I can't say that I've seen Italians doing it, but it's one of my recollections of DHLawrence about Italians: that the general attitude was (in the 1920s, anyway) that only suckers stand in line, and if you expect to get on that growded ferry, you better fight your way to the front! I'll have to ask my Italian friends - who are quite civilized people and may find that observation either outdated, funny, or insulting. Or maybe accurate!
tomassocroccante is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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good post, endless...

I might have to refer to this when there are threads again (as there, are, endlessly...) on "will I be able to get buy without speaking any Italian (French, whatever...)?" Parla Budweiser?

A destination transforms to become what we seek from it. Kinda. Some of the time. (maybe not so much in Myanmar, Pyongyang, a few other places).
rex is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 05:58 AM
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From today's New York Times regarding drunken tourists in Rome:
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 06:04 AM
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I cannot believe that I am doing this -but I have to defend the country that has generally culturally raped the world with Starbucks and McD's.

The drunken problem does not stem from the US.You have to understand young Italian subculture to see where the problem is coming from. 20 years ago it would have been unthinkable for a young Italian to be seen drunk in public. Drunks were seen as fools. However, look carefully at the Italian's clothes and brands to see where they look to for inspiration - it is currently the UK.

That is where the drunken culture has been imnported from via soccer and cheap stag/hen nights.

Sorry world I think our export is far more damaging than the big mac or skinny latte!
markrosy is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 06:12 AM
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There is indeed a big problem with Italian youth (13-21 or so) becoming involved in the American/UK-type party scene, including drugs and alcohol.
It's something the Italians have been dealing with, especially of late.
Ellen C.
ellencraig is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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touche, markrosy ~

So, another strange thing: Italians preferring English culture and style? Not to say the Enlglish don't have style, but ... well, I guess I prefer the Italian brand!
tomassocroccante is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 06:22 AM
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It is VERY strange!

God knows why anyone would look up to any cultural guidence that we have produced over the past 20 years.

The Italians seem to be wearing anything with a Union Jack on it at the moment. Goodness knows why - in the UK there are only soccer fans and neo nazis that do this (the two are not inter-related by the way!(usually))

This seems give weight to the old adage - "the grass is always greener".
markrosy is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 06:24 AM
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I'm not surprised young Italians like English fashion. I think the English absolutely excel in street style - the young here aren't afraid to experiment with their hair & clothes and I'm always amazed at how good they look. It is said that Karl Largerfeld comes to London for inspiration for his collections.

And what do we look towards the continent for? Food and wine, I guess. La dolce vita. Which leads me to a question. We had to use the bag drop facility at Termini and decided to spend half an hour wandering around the station. We found ourselves upstairs gazing at the "fast food" cafeteria and all the gorgeous food on display, in the various Italian categories. Miles, miles, miles more appetising than the rubbish on offer at Waterloo! But do the Italians look upon their train station food as rubbish? If yes, I shudder to think what they say about ours...
endlessummer is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 08:34 AM
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We've been sensitized, or warned at least, at the effects tourism might have in developing countries and ecologically vulnerable areas, but I have to confess I hadn't thought about tourism changing the culture of a western nation.

I can remember when public drunkeness was considered declasse in Italy, and I hate that we Anglo-American-Northern-European mead hall types could so alter the elegant culture of the city. The Grand Tour was considered a civilizing influence on the traveler, not a barbarian invasion!

Jun 28th, 2007, 03:08 PM
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I thought I would post a link to this blog post, which relates to some of the discussion on this thread.
faredolce is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 04:13 PM
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Well, based on our experience staying in an apartment on Via dei Cappellari, just off Campo de Fiori in March, I can certainly agree with the NY Times article.
We were bombarded with noise from drunken revelers until 2 or 3 AM most mornings, and one night in particular, from a screaming couple from UK (accents were hard to miss, especially yelling the f word).
For the full story, search my screen name for my LONG trip report of Paris and Rome.
What astonished us was that no one evidently called the police on this couple, even though there were blood-curdling screams and sounds of mayhem for half an hour or more. They eventually came stomping up the stairs of our building (vacation renters?) and the female finally screamed her parting shot and vacated the premises! What a night.
I can honestly say it really did put a damper on our time there. Most nights the noise came from Italians in our little street. And nobody else seemed to care or notice. I assumed this goes on most nights. I really don't know how anyone puts up with it!
Hagan is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 05:26 PM
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Hagan- sorry that you had such a rotten time at 27 via dei Cappellari. I wanted to report back to you that I stayed there with much trepidation in early May after reading your original trip report! Either you were there during an exceptionally rowdy week or I just hit a lull because I had no noise issues even with the bedroom facing the tiny street. Ditto my neighbors in the same building...we were all very happy as clams in our well equipped apartments! Campo di Fiori was absolutley throbbing into the wee hours, I am not sure how it morphs from a sedate daytime market to such a jampacked late night drunkfest!

Back to the topic....The Italians get weary of the hordes, too. My daughter visits friends in Venice frequently. She said many Venetian families keep cars in the Mestre car park and own rustic vacation homes in the countryside as an escape hatch. When Venice is being trampled from May-Oct and it's hot and sticky they flee the city!

vivi is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 05:39 PM
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I'd love to hear about your trip - did you write a report? Is the little counter oven still there, or have they replaced it? That would be a great apartment if they just modernized the kitchen a tad and had glazed windows. It was very spacious.

Oh, and were you able to get more than one snowy station on the little TV? The owner told us it was "broken" and would be repaired the week after we left.

We just finished watching a video I put together of our trip, showed it to a neighbor, and we all said how large the Rome apartment was.

And yes, after I read the NY Times article about the hordes of spring breakers and the chaos they bring, I feel that is what we were experiencing. It just couldn't be like that every night!

Let me know if you posted a review somewhere.

Hagan is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 05:54 PM
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Joyce- click on my name and look back to mid-May or so. I posted separate reports on Rome, Naples, Venice, Florence, etc.

I think our apartments in that building were different. Mine (a one bedroom up a TON of stairs) had a very sleek, modern stainless steel kitchen, a plasma TV (which I never turned on) and a huge red chandelier in the bathroom! The a/c was very powerful which I appreciated, also it may have drowned out the noise.
vivi is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 06:37 PM
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Oh, most definitely that wasn't our apartment! Ours was on the first landing and was pretty much of an antique. Did you rent from SleepinItaly?
Your place sounds REALLY nice.
Hagan is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 06:38 PM
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I just got back from having visited Rome, among other places and had a slightly different experience. Yes, there were people, but I could manage.

Perhaps timing is key. I was at St. Peter's at 8:30 am and at the Pantheon somewhere around noon. Neither was at all crowded.

The Vatican Museum was a mob scene. Though we asked our guide to take us to the Raphael rooms and (believe it or not) we were the only people in the room with School of Athens. I was amazed.

In a way, it was somewhat like the Louvre, where everyone goes to see Mona Lisa but you can go a see things such as the Vermeers and be the only ones there.
sshephard is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 07:15 PM
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I am going to get some flack for stating the following but here goes: I fly everyweek to Rome and take quite a few people that are going on cruises on my flights. There is a definite difference in "traveling and touristing" in cruise ship people to Europe. The tour types (both individual and group) seem to know their schedules,what they are seeing and why and where they are going. 9 out of 10 cruise ship people when asked (when standing in the back galley at 3am in the morning over the Atlantic) cannot tell me where they are going on their cruise or what they are seeing. Its always"somewhere around Italy or I go where they tell me to go". And for this they pay 3000-5000 USD. My fellow flying partners have also noticed that one particular cruise line seems to attract people who would be better off at DisneyWorld or Vegas. This is the reason why Italy is being loved to death the wrong way in my opinion.
dutyfree is offline  

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