The Controversy of Problem Tourists in Italy

Photo credits Victor Caneva
Reading Time: 2 minutes

by MK

Just in time for summer 2022, we take a look at last summer’s stories of tourists damaging Italy’s sites and monuments that made international headlines, just a few months after the talk of rebuilding the country’s industry, devastated by pandemic.

The relaunch was seen by the more optimistic in the sector as a golden opportunity to break away from the broken model of mass tourism, moving on from when visitors jumped in fountains and treated Italy’s heritage with disrespect.

This optimism was enhanced last June when Italy was chosen by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the global Restart Tourism drive after the coronavirus lock downs around the world, with Italy praised as a “world tourism leader.”

In Trieste, the much awaited arrival of tourists already back in the summer 2021, was welcomed with a “sigh of relief.” Many Triestini didn’t seem to mind the rerouting of cruise ships from the Venetian port to Trieste’s Rive. The mayor of Trieste, who recently made national headlines for his allegedly misogynistic remarks, was appreciative of the numerous travelers stopping in our city and happy the “hotels were fully booked” these past Easter and Pasquetta 2022 holidays.

In our neighboring city of Venice, the first “bad tourist” story last summer went viral in early June, the day after European tourists were allowed to re-enter Italy. In Antonio Canova Museum in the northern Veneto region an Austrian tourist, sat down on Canova’s masterpiece in Galleria Borghese and managed to snap off three of the statue’s toes in his effort to stand up. After which he fled, naturally.

As Italy juggles the fine line between restarting its devastated tourism sector this summer 2022, it continues to face the question of how to protect its cultural heritage from ‘bad tourists’. Perhaps, it is important to increase vigilance and ensure that those coming in are respectful and prepared for the magnificence our city and the rest of Italy has to offer.

Previous articleFVG Orchestra Protests Russian Violinists’ Exclusion
Next articleNancy Brilli Stars in ‘Manola’ at Il Rossetti, 26-29 May
Maria Kochetkova
Editor-in-Chief of InTrieste, Maria writes about culture, politics and all things Trieste in-between capo-in-b and gelato breaks. Email her at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here