Word is out. Tuscany Tourism has spent un sacco di soldi on advertising with the theme “Voglio vivere così”—which happens to be the refrain of a song that means “I want to live like this”.
Before I put on my curmudgeon cap, let’s get something straight: I do want to live like a typical Tuscan, or at least like one in my village in the Lunigiana. Trouble is, the advertising I’ve seen so far has featured an Italian actress prancing the Tuscan countryside in flamboyant frippery not seen outside of an Opera House stage since the time of the plague. You can see one ad here.
How can they miss a point so badly? I know many expats and I’m in daily contact with tourists who want to go to Italy so bad it hurts. Not one of them is very much interested in prancing the countryside cosi, like this. (I’m sure the film crew had a good time, but I don’t think that’s the point either.)
You see, I have an old calendar that’s still open to a month featuring a very simple but powerful scene. It’s spring; the light is strong but slanted. An old farmer is taking out a rickety table to place under a grape arbor. The ground is strewn with a layer of white stone. You can practically hear the crunch as the man walks out of his stone house and sets the table down, wiggling it to set it tightly amongst the stones.
This is our vision of Tuscany. It’s not hard to imagine a crusty old woman in her housedress bringing a heaping platter of spaghetti al pomodoro to the table as the man retreats into the house to get a couple liters of his homemade wine. Shoot, we can smell the sauce as we sit at our computers, typing away.
Of course, this campaign is not meant for us. We know what we want. Here’s something interesting:
The Tuscan region is not expecting results in the short-term, especially due to the ongoing economic crisis, but is investing over the medium-term to increase the numbers and quality of tourism in Tuscany. ~ Tuscany Shoots for Big Numbers
So maybe they want a better quality of tourist, someone with a big wallet—and prone to frippery perhaps.
That would explain such a waste of Euros. I think. But I’d still suggest a way to get better return for all that tourism money. Send out a bunch of bloggers and let them find those little places that exemplify the spirit of Tuscany most of us crave. It’s in the little things, the details of the good life that everyday people can lead. We’d be glad to poke our cameras there. You’d be surprised how cheaply we’d work.
Just a self-serving thought. I gotta go before I get more of them.