(Before I start my blog post, I would like to apologize for this one being a week late and out of order. There was a hiccup publishing it last week and it only just came to my attention that it was never posted.)
Hi everybody. My first week back from Italy has been hectic, but insightful. As I have gone through both my in-person interview transcripts and the online responses I got from business owners and mayors, along with a few others that work in the tourism industry, the data I’ve gained has been surprisingly consistent. Instead of just showing you all a full transcript, I’ve decided that it would probably be better to just give a summary of the big points that the people I interviewed brought up.
The biggest facet of Italian business and governance that people, both business owners, and officials, brought up was that what you can do depends on who you know and the relationships you have with the people deciding if you are going to be allowed to build something or start a new business. For instance, everything built in Amalfi has to be approved by the superintendent for the region, so if that person owes you a favor, then you might be allowed to build a design that fits better for your business, while someone else might be told that the same design isn’t allowed because it doesn’t fit into the overarching cultural designs of the area. Laws can even be bent or circumvented depending on the scope and value of the project being done. The people I talked to were adamant, though, that this is the way things have to be based on the current laws in place, or else nothing would ever be allowed to be built or renovated, or changed at all.
This ties into the broader question that businesses and the tourist industry on the Amalfi coast face, which is how to strike a balance between providing sufficient amounts of amenities and areas for visitors to stay, while also maintaining the cultural richness and beauty of the region. The flexibility in the way that laws are enforced allows for this balance to be kept with much less hassle than uniform enforcement would. While residents of the area were somewhat frustrated with this system, they see it as a necessary evil to keep the Amalfi coast as a vibrant and beautiful area that people will want to visit.
Going forward, I will start my work on my final deliverable for this project, and will additionally be researching more into the workings of the Italian government, which ended up being a much larger focus of my interviews than I expected. Thank you all for your continued interest in my project, and I will continue to post updates weekly.