Geotema 41

Mirella Loda

Analizzare l’immagine dei luoghi: Firenze visitata e vissuta

Abstract: Analysing City Image: Florence Seen by Inhabitants and Visitors

The study dwells on the tourist image of Florence paying special attention to the methodological issues in analyzing city images. It departs from the assumption of a trickling down effect of tourist images in which the sophisticated tourist demand in the long run determines the image for mass tourism as well. On the global tourist market, furthermore, it is not the attractions which define the image of a city, but much more the general urban quality. Image research has hitherto confronted a “naïf” tourist image directly with the image of the inhabitants taken as a reflection of “objective” reality. This study methodologically introduces the time factor into the analysis of tourist image by confronting the naïf tourist image with that of both long term tourists (like Erasmus-students, researchers etc.) and with that of high brow tourists. The upper segment of the tourist demand from which the trickling down effects depart, can be thus coherently implemented for empiric research. The results show a remarkable erosion of the initially positive image of Florence as a tourist destination and the fact that naïf and more sophisticated tourists, in fact, live two different cities.

Keywords: Florence, City image, Urban tourism.

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