Italy abroad has always played the role of magical place, almost dreamlike. With its natural and architectural sights, it has always been a dream destination for many international tourists like Americans, Russians and Chinese. Often times people that were born and raised in Italy forget how truly beautiful our country can be, but most of all how genuinely unique and full, form north to south, it is of landscapes, views, beaches, mountains and cities that year after year leave millions of tourists breathless. Italy and Italians turned this overseas love into one of the main pillars of the national economy. Tourism constitutes for the Italian economy about 13% of the whole GDP of the country, at a value of almost 232 billion per year. So, it must come as no surprise that during this Covid-19 pandemic, defined by closed borders and cancelled flights, the lack of tourists in our cities it is quite noticeable.
But just as much as Italian business owners have been feeling the absence of tourists, likewise those who had planned for the summer of 2020 an all Italian adventure, are really missing our country. What to do then to fulfill that craving for Italianness that every year affects millions of visitors from all over the world, just like the over 4,4 million Americans that year after year choose Italy and its sights as destinations for their holidays? Easy, just turn on the TV.
Through the years Italy has always been chosen as the stage for great movies, lending itself to become the perfect scenery for sensational love stories such as Roman Holiday ( 1953- William Wyler) or to transform itself into an open-air maze for exciting thrillers such as The Tourist (2010- Henckel von Donnersmarck). Over the years our country has become more and more, in the common imaginary, a magical place in-between contemporary and ancient, between modernity and classicism.
Besides our amazing cities, oftentimes open-air museums, it is our culture, our way of living and our cuisine, a perfect mix between progress and tradition, elegance and simplicity, that attracts so many people from so many different countries and cultures. And so, in the cinematic world Italy became synonym for bucolic summers that can change your life and thrilling mysteries related to our immense past.
In the last few months Italy rediscovered a prominent role also in the Tv series landscape, thanks to shows like Curon (2020- Fabio Mollo/ Lyda Patitucci), a crime story set in Trentino-Alto Adige on the shores of the Resia Lake. For those who have a more romantic soul, We Are Who We Are (2020 – Luca Guadagnino) the latest work from the sicilian director Luca Guadagnino will be released in September. Once again Guadagnino choose its home country for its new tale about love and adolescence. Lastly for the thriller’s aficionados, La Casa de Papel (2017- Alex Pina), a Spanish tv show that obtain major success globally and that choose Firenze as scenery for part of its third season.
During this quarantine many of us turned to streaming services, like Netflix and Disney+, to keep us company and make the days go by faster. But most of all we had to learn how to live in a world in which many of the experiences we were used to, such as concerts, fairs and museum visits had to change their very own nature. In such a moment where most events had to go from being physical to becoming, for health and security reasons, digital can the love for Italy and its culture become mainly digital as well? Maybe. But what is for sure is that all those people that this summer won’t be able to spend their vacations on our Mediterranean beaches or in some little village perched in the hills they can, for the time being, find some comfort and continue enjoying our treasures through a Tv screen and maybe take notes from one of these series to plan a trip for the next summer.