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Tourists in Italy-too touristy?

August 11, 2011
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Italy ranks high on the world stage of the most visited tourist destinations worldwide. According to the Italian national agency of tourism, during the ‘90s and at the start of the millennium, Italy has held fourth place in the international classification of arrival of foreign visitors after France, Spain and the USA; in 2004 China surpassed it.

So, ok, we all get it-tourists love Italy. Big deal. Well, it kinda is a big deal. It becomes a big deal once you’re actually there. It becomes this huge, overwhelming deal, once you’re somewhere near the Duomo in Florence, and you realize that you could swing a dead cat by it’s tail and throw it up in the air and it would land on some tourist’s head. Once you’re standing in a crowd of pale/burned tourists in the middle of Piazza San Marco, surrounded by backpacks and sandals and deafened by the sound of cameras clicking everywhere, you begin to wonder-are there any Italians in Italy?

The Italians are apparently hiding. They don’t roam around the city in the middle of a scorching hot summer day, wandering all confused and staring at the churches and museums. They don’t sit around on steps right there in front of the Duomo, or in expensive cafes and restaurants. That stuff is reserved for the ever-so-naïve tourists. The Italians ride around on their vespas or bikes, they drink espresso in their favorite and not-very-known café and they certainly don’t pay a fortune for a slice of pizza. They sit in their stores, houses and apartments. They work. They make that overly expensive slice of pizza that you eat, they sell those fantastic and world famous Italian shoes you came to buy, and they charge you for your stay in that hotel you booked.

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And they are not to blame for the expensive pizzas and cafés. They have a very big demand, and they are being good salesmen/women. They supply the tourists with what they need/want/crave and they charge their service accordingly. With always taking into consideration, of course, that you are paying to stay in one of the most visited tourist destinations worldwide.

If this is all a bit too much for you, and crowds and the heat are not your thing, consider renting somewhere in a small Tuscan village. There is a lot more to Italy than Florence, Rome and Milan. Away from the city, the noise, the heat. Enjoy the Italian great outdoors. It will give you the opportunity to meet the locals, eat the food that the locals eat, drink the wine that the locals drink and enjoy the Italian lifestyle in the country. It is always possible to arrange one-day excursions to the nearby cities, visit museums, take a picture on the piazza, mingle with the other tourists, but at the end of the day, you will be returning to sleep in the real Italy. The way it was meant to be slept in.

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