by Brian Alex | May 19, 2023
What’s the situation in Italy?
Here we are, still on the cusp of summertime in the Bel Paese, but Italy has been blowing up many a newsfeed already. So, what’s going on in Bella Italia?
On the one hand, all hell is breaking loose. But on the other, it’s business as usual. Like so many things here in Italy, it really just depends on your point of view.
In the south, Mount Etna is erupting (again). And while we’ve got all manner of earthquakes shaking things up here in Sicily, tourists are still flooding onto the island. Maybe it’s because Taormina (a coastal town about an hour north of Catania, but still within view of the volcano) made it prime time in the US over the last year. Or perhaps it’s that Sicily is still one of the best places to beat the Spring rains.
In either case, Sicily did have its fair share of wet weather this year, but nothing like the north. In northern Italy, there’s flooding around Venice and throughout the lowlands of Emilia-Romagna. But, no amount of hail, flooding, or evacuations have kept out pleasure seekers. I imagine that having finished the first full tourism cycle, post-restrictions, Italy has popped up on everyone’s vacation radar in recent times.
That doesn’t mean it’s a bed of roses. Vendors of every variety are feeling the pinch. All over Italy, the hospitality industry, and that could be restaurants, hotels, tours and excursions, has been hit hard by a wave of new tourism. The problem is that the old models of managing the influx are struggling under the additional weight. Staffing shortages, rampant turnover, and outdated bureaucratic processes aren’t helping. Everyone’s trying to keep a big smile on, while actually struggling to keep up.
All in all, Italy does have it all, present crises not withstanding. To wrap up, let me share the comments of one American novelist and University professor, Frances Mayes. You may remember her 1996 memoir called, Under the Tuscan Sun. She says, “I find other countries have this or this, but Italy is the only one that has it all for me. The culture, the cuisine, the people, the landscape, the history. Just everything to me comes together there.” And I think that about sums it up for us too.
For more about Sicily, and to keep up to date on travel in Italy, check out the Bella Italy podcast on your favorite streaming platform. Subscribe, give us a thumbs up, and leave a comment about what you’d like to hear coming up in Season Three!