Botticelli’s Venus gets a naff makeover in disastrous Italian tourism campaign

Italy’s tourism ministry has launched a €9m travesty of a campaign that reimagines Botticelli’s Venus as a mini-skirted “virtual influencer” and includes stock footage of a Slovenian vineyard.

Venus is pictured taking a selfie in an empty St Mark’s Square in Venice, inviting people to come to the city even though, in real life, it’s so overcrowded that there is talk of introducing people counters and charging tourists an entry fee.


“Italia: open to Meraviglia” titola la nuova campagna promossa dal ministero del Turismo insieme a Enit, per promuovere l’Italia nel mondo. Protagonista una Venere di Botticelli yassificata, raffigurata “coi capelli sempre al vento”, in minigonna, in bicicletta, in barca, mentre mangia la pizza. Un’operazione costata nove milioni di euro voluta dalla ministra Santanchè che, memore dell’attenzione social suscitata Chiara Ferragni in visita agli Uffizi, ha deciso di trasformare un quadro del Quattrocento in influencer. La campagna ideata dal ministero del Turismo strizza l’occhio ad un tipo di promozione smart fallendo miseramente. ? Voi cosa ne pensate? #Venere #italia #turismo

? original sound – nss magazine

Agency Armando Testa is keeping quiet about the whole debacle, but plenty of prominent Italians are speaking out.

Florence’s Mayor, Dario Nardella, said: “We’re fighting against commercial exploitation that ridicules our artistic jewels, like the aprons showing the statue of David’s private parts and grotesque reproductions of works of art in stupid poses.”

The Italian tourism minister, Daniela Santanche, a member of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, called critics of the campaign “snobs” and said the campaign is all about attracting young people.

The slogan is “Open to meraviglia,” which means “Open to wonder.” Italy has plenty of wonders and deserves so much better than this.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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