LifestyleItalian tourism ad mistake: Slovenian party sold as Italian charm

Italian tourism ad mistake: Slovenian party sold as Italian charm

The video was supposed to promote Italian tourism.
The video was supposed to promote Italian tourism.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Lucian Milasan
2:47 PM EST, January 22, 2024

As part of an advertising campaign, the film drained as much as 9 million euros (about $10 million) from Italian pockets. It has been widely ridiculed for its banality and lack of professionalism.

Slovenian scenes in a video meant to promote Italy

On the surface, the video named "Italy, Open to Marvel" appears quite ambitious. It features a digitized depiction of Venus, an emblem of Italian art, as rendered by Sandro Botticelli in his Renaissance magnum opus "The Birth of Venus". This icon's current avatar is showcased as an influencer, attired in a miniskirt, relishing pizza, and highlighting noticeable Italian tourist attractions, including Rome's Colosseum and Florence's cathedral.

In a dialogue with Reuters, art historian Tomaso Montanari lambasted the advertising campaign as grotesque and an outrageous squandering of funds. And that's just the beginning of the backlash.

The video became a laughing stock among social media users and domestic media after journalist Selvaggia Lucarelli disclosed that one of the clips in the video wasn't shot in Italy. To make matters worse, it was extracted from an archive of photos and footage available to the general public. "I thought this was impossible," she penned in her post, "The only thing missing is a statement that the most beautiful thing about Italy is the train to Ljubljana!" she concluded with derision.

The contentious scenes feature a cheerful group of young people on a sun-bathed patio, relishing wine in a familiarly Italian setting.

However, it was later revealed that the scenes were not filmed in Italy, but in the Cotar region in Slovenia, close to the Italian border. More perplexingly, the wine bottle label clearly reads Slovenian wine Cotar.

This shot shows a scene from Slovenia.
This shot shows a scene from Slovenia.© Ministry of Tourism

Video's critics labeled as snobs

Daniela Santanche, Italy's Minister of Tourism and a far-right Brothers of Italy party member, branded the video critics as snobs. She defended the decision to depict Venus as an influencer, claiming it was a ploy to allure young visitors.

Neither she nor the representatives from Armando Testa, the agency responsible for the film's production, have addressed the controversy about the Slovenian footage. Meanwhile, the video continues to be readily accessible online.

Italy, Open to wonder

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