Worried about my trip to Italy

Old Jun 30th, 2005, 03:39 AM
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Worried about my trip to Italy

Hello,

My family and I are leaving for a trip to Italy in two weeks. We are taking a 12 day tour. After the tour we will spend 10 days visiting my many relatives in Italy.

Yesterday my husband was speaking to someone who just returned from a tour in Italy. She was upset because there is a lot of anti-American sentiment in Italy.
She was treated rudely by the Italian people. She said that she was even spit at and at one restaurant a waiter refused to wait on her. She was also called names. I believe that she was of Italian-American heritage.

I am wondering if there is anyone else that has recently gone to Italy and had similar experiences.

I am taking my entire family and we have planned this vacation for years. I wanted to show my children the country of their heritage and now I am afraid that that they will hate it.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 03:53 AM
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WHERE was that? What region or city? That kind of overtly nasty behavior doesn't sound typical at all. I do think that in the summer, you are likely to experience more rudeness because some people are stressed and resentful about the effect of huge numbers of tourists on their lives, and there can be offensive and even assaultive people anywhere, but this behavior doesn't sound at all typical of Italy. (It seems that this kind of behavior may be more unusual in Italy than in the US.)
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 04:02 AM
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Troll.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 04:18 AM
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I'm surprised about the behavior too.

Italians have very strong feelings towards Pres. Bush and his politics, especially in the issue of the Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena and the murdered (by the US army) Italian intelligence agent, Nicola Calipari who was bringing her back to Italy. It has just been in the news again because of the hearing findings from the US and Italy. I don't know the details, but I do know that many Italians feel there is a cover-up and the findings are part of a scam.

However, their frustrated feelings are towards Pres. Bush and their own president, Berlusconi, and not towards the US citizens visiting their country.

Read up on the journalist incident so you'll be informed. Don't start any political debates.

I was in Rome when the brought the body of the agent back home. There was a procession through Rome being lead by the hearse. I felt the sorrow and frustration but I didn't sense any hate towards any tourists.

Enjoy Italy....it's wonderful.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 04:19 AM
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Hi C,

Extremely atypical experience.

You might wish to ask your informant for more details.

I'm curious as to what she was ding when she was spit on and called names.

As for a waiter refusing her service, she shouldn't take that personally. They do it to everyone.

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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 04:20 AM
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Elina, she's not a troll. I know her from another forum, where we both correspond with some Italians who are very upset with some US policies and recdnt actios, but who nevertheless like americans as people.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 05:03 AM
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Thank you for your responses. No I am not a troll. I'm not really sure what a troll is except that I think that it is someone that purposefully stirs up trouble. I sincerely am not trying to do that. I am very upset about these rumors. I was in Italy last year and found everyone to be wonderfully gracious. I just want to know if there is any truth to this. I was hoping that someone that recently went to Italy would tell me that it was not true.

Someone at my husband's office told him about their recent experiences. The tour went to Rome, Capri, Naples, Assisi, Venice, Florence. I am not sure what she was doing when she was spit on.

I really don't mean to start any trouble. I'm just worried.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 05:05 AM
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Just returned from 3 weeks in Italy... the people were wonderful to us. Relax.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 05:18 AM
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I'm curious WHERE this took place. In Rome, where ANYthing could happen? Was it teenagers or "mature" adults who did this?

airone
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 05:25 AM
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Hi!
We were warmly received in Rome, Florence, and Tuscany in the fall. We are going to Northern Italy with our 11 and 14 year old kids in 4 weeks and have no worries or concerns (other than getting enough gelato to keep cool since we have to travel in summer with them ). Sure, you can always come across a rude waiter which is true in the US as well, but we found the Italians to be very warm. We did learn a few basic polite phrases in Italian, smiled a lot, and were patient and flexible when necessary. We had no trouble and can't wait to go back. Assuming you are going ahead with the trip, just relax and have a wonderful time!
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 05:44 AM
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Do like your momma taught ya and treat other people the way you want to be treated - you won't have any trouble. The Italian people are some of the warmest and kindest people in the world!
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 05:53 AM
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We were in Italy last month and did not experience any hostility whatsoever. In fact, I had been to Italy a couple times before, a few years ago, and did not notice any difference in how we were treated then versus now.

The Italians are generally wonderful and hospitable people, and I would certainly not let this woman's experiences put you off.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 05:54 AM
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Bottom line, this didn't happen. No one spat at anyone. Made up by some angry guy who missed a flight or was bilked out of a bunch of euros by a greedy cab driver.

Extremely hostile, spitting, Anti-American, this is an internet urban myth that's been around well before 9/11.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 06:11 AM
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Well Stellarosa - I will say this... we had one very negative experience (in the middle of hundreds of wonderful ones). My 13 year old daughter was walking in Peruga in front of the art museum, and a man made a motion like he wanted a candy she was eating (we had just left a chocolate store). When she kept walking, he spit on her. I think my husband would have killed him, but he ran off and we let it go.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 06:25 AM
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I'm honestly not sure how knowing "excatly" where these incidents occurred will help ease your worry..and, honestly, I think that "worry" may be slightly mis-directed.

To repeat your own wordsquot;...and now I'm afraid they [the children] will hate it."

Why would they hate the place..because these things may have or might occur again? Perhaps the most important thing they need to learn about the "country of their heritage" is that it is just aqs diverse as is the United States and filled with folks of many different personalities and persuasions.

Of course, no one wants an unpleasant incident to occur on their vacation, especially one they've planned for a long time. And it is unfortunate that things have come to this (whether anyone here wants to believe it could have happened or not...of course, those that still have their heads in the sand automatically brand people as "trolls" when they hear about something unpleasant).

You said the person involved was "upset because there is a lot of anti-American sentiment in Italy." Do we know if she, possibly, could have precipitated this incident in any way?

Too many unanswered questions and possibilities for you to get "worried" about.

Go and have a wonderful trip.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 06:33 AM
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My only worry is if I can devour enough gelato to try every flavor when I get there next week.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 06:33 AM
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We just returned from a 12-day Italian vacation last week, and we have been several times before. Not only is the behavior you describe not typical, it is... well, let's just say it strains credibility. I suspect embellishment, either in the telling or the retelling.

(Note: Ms_go is putting her final touches on our trip report; probably ready by the weekend.)

I have, on occaision, observed what might be called "anti-tourist" behavior in popular holiday spots. Locals tend to get annoyed at clueless foreigners, and that's true everywhere. But overt, political discrimination is downright odd.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 06:41 AM
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Hi again,

I appreciate everyone's responses. I'm just not going to worry about it. I assume that this person's experiences were just isolated incidents. I know that the Italian people are some of the warmest, kindest people. I have experienced that personally several times.

I called my husband at work looking for more details but he said that the person that relayed these experiences works in another office at the same building that his office is in. He does not know her personally and is not sure if he will see her again.

I know that I would always treat a foreigner with respect regardless of any political situation. And I will trust that the majority of Italian citizens share the same viewpoint.

Thank you for your input.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 06:53 AM
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I would suggest that the "person" who told yout husband this info is either 1) lying,
2) delusional, or 3) the type of person to whom this happens everywhere because of their attitudes/behavior.

Certainly, anyone attempting to start conversations about american politics - esp in support of Bush - are not likely to be looked upon favorably (but this is true of most of the world - not just Italy - including here in NYC) but a tourist behaving in a polite and approriate manner should have no problems at all.
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 07:13 AM
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American "incidents" occur in the retelling, cooltones, if they really occur at all, they are invariably exaggerated. That said, however, there IS something going on right now that is making front page news both here and particularly in Italy involving a spy operation carried out by American undercover agents, called an "extraordinary rendition," (a long-standing and not uncommon procedure, btw). The Milan court has itself taken an extraordinary step (and utterly overreactive, IMO) by issuing arrest warrants for no less than 14 American Govt. agents, for the "kidnapping" in Milan off the streets of an Egyptian cleric (an Italian citizen) with serious terrorist connections. The man was taken out of the country and ended up in Egypt, where he claimed to his wife he was tortured. His whereabouts are not publicly revealed, but he is believed to be in custody.

In a couple of instances, the Milan warrants used the real names of the American agents, blowing their cover, so to speak, which is a very dangerous thing indeed. The arrest warrants were issued because the Milan magistrate said that the American operation had illegally interfered with their own investigation of the man, and that it violated Italian sovereignty.

The question that has been brewing the last couple of days in the Italian press and here is whether anyone in the Italian Govt. knew about this situation beforehand. It has been disclosed just today that the Italian Intelligence Service not only knew, but assented to the operation, which hugely undercuts the Italians in their indignation and accusations against the US. arising from this affair. Not surprisingly, the situation is once again creating tension in the ties between the US and one its closest allies, coming as it does on the heels of the Calipari situation-a situation, I might add, that had a lot to do with poor coordination on the part of the Italians with the American military command in Baghdad.

Those 14 American agents will never return to Europe, where those warrants will remain outstanding for an indefinite period of time. The Italian judiciary overstepped its bounds by far, and should have determined, from its OWN Govt. who knew what when BEFORE issuing the arrest warrants.


That said, cooltones-I don't believe for a second that you and your family will have anything but a fantastic time in Italy. Remember: Italy needs you, (believe me, they do!) and you need Italy, it's as simple as that.

I'll be there myself in August, and plan to have a lot of political discussions with Italians (and some Americans), interspersed in my eating, drinking and cultural moments!

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