Monday, July 29, 2013


The Etna area, so proud, a few weeks ago, to have become a UNESCO World Heritage Site , has been given a definitive thumbs down by tourists because of a perceived lack of cleanliness there. A dearth of decent toilet facilities also featured high on the list of tourists' complaints. Something, it has been recognised, must be done but before the whole of Italy closes down for the "silly two weeks" around ferragosto [Assumption Day], I have some other suggestions [which some areas will need to heed more than others] for Italian tourist boards:

1. Yes, Italy, you need good toilet facilities at tourist spots. Tourists are not in a position to "wait till they get home" or even to their hotel and they want to be able to relieve themselves in clean surroundings without an interminable wait. Note to Sicily: If the tourists are women, they will also expect the toilet to have a seat!

2. Still on bathrooms, I'm really sorry if some tourists have taken things from or treated yours disrespectfully. The majority, however, have no intention of doing this and to be instructed how to behave in crappy, curt English scrawled on scruffy notices is hardly welcoming.

3.  It is not normal, in most other countries, to see overflowing rubbish containers in the street but having them emptied here depends on your town councils paying their refuse collectors, which is quite a normal thing to do elsewhere. People even get paid every month, without question. So put some pressure on your councils!

4.  Bus stops need to be clearly indicated as do the locations for buying tickets.

5. Tourists need easy transport links from large and small towns to nearby tourist attractions. They do not expect to have to take a taxi or to pay an exorbitant fare for one!

6. Not everybody is capable of climbing 500 steps to get into every church they see.

7. In the rest of the world, tourist offices exist to give tourists information. That is their function! They are also OPEN during the peak tourist season. Incidentally, the rest of the world does not close down for most of August.

8.  If you're going to use English, get it checked by someone who is a native speaker or an English teacher and preferably both. What the hell is "next opening" supposed to mean, for instance? I have recently seen an advertisement in English for a house built in the year "800" [which to an English speaker means 800 AD] when what was meant was obviously the nineteenth century. OK, I'm British and therefore precise but even an Italian would have to admit that there is quite a difference here!

9.  A  "Bed and Breakfast" and a self-catering house or apartment are two completely different concepts - yes, they are! A British or American  person does not expect to have to prepare his or her own breakfast in a "B&B".

10. We do still love you, Italy but a little consideration of tourists' needs would not go amiss!


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Pat , I totally agree with all of this , and number 1 being toilets,, but what I am interested is , in which B and B's make you prepare your own breakfast . x

Jenny Woolf said...

It's funny that many of the most charming places in the world have problems like this. Why, I wonder? In Italy's case, I wonder if it is the incompetent government that does not think in terms of overall planning? what do you think?

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Pat

I'm glad mt. Etna became a Unesco World heritage site!
I agree on all your advice for the Italian tourist board. It would be a big payback for them as far as bringing in business to the communities.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Anne. Glad you agree. Well, quite a lot of B and Bs here are like this.There is food and cooking equipment in the house or apartment but you are expected to make breakfast yourself as the owners do not live on the premises. I can't speak for other regions of Italy which may be more tourist-savvy but it's definitely something to check if you're thinking of making a booking!
Hi, Jenny. Yes, it is strange. In Italy I don't think it can all be blamed on central government because there are also the infinite layers of regional government to consider. I think it's more to do with the fact that people "inherit" or are recommended for jobs, despite not being qualified or suitable for them.
Hi, Pat. Yes, they would have thousands more tourists if they would pay more attention to tourists' needs and expectations.

Laruchka said...

Re B+Bs that don't do breakfast: I seem to remember that there are tax breaks for places that call themselves B + Bs. I've stayed in one once which was more like a hotel and the landlady explained it like that anyway!

I agree with all your suggestions btw.

Whispering Walls said...

Quite right, WL. You should offer your services as a translator

Rosaria Williams said...

Why am I not surprised? There is a malingering arrogance underneath it all!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello, Laruchka. You are probably right about that! Glad you agree. Hi, WW. The trouble is that here, people don't want to pay the going rate for a proper translation by a qualified person.

Lee said...

Very valid, pertinent points, Pat.

Liz Hinds said...

You tell 'em, pat!

I think public toilets probably could with improving the world over.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Lee and Liz. Yes, you're right, Liz.

Hawkins Family said...

I'd like to add, please provide toilet paper!!

I didn't think Etna was too unclean, but I didn't need to use the facilities. Just the ash was all over the place, but what can you expect from an active volcano@

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I'll second that, Hawkins Family!

Rachel Cotterill said...

Wow, yeah, I would be quite unimpressed by a B&B that didn't include breakfast! Italy is beautiful, though, so we forgive a lot ;)

Unknown said...

That's the resource course.
A country/region that has plenty of tourists, regardless of what it does, will not try as hard as a region which has no natural attractions (volcanoes, beaches, old cities) because the tourists are coming anyway.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You're right, Rachel. We do forgive. You're right too, Unknown. Good point.


View My Stats