Friday 15 December 2017

Avoid heels with bikinis, don't drink cappuccino at night and learn to smile, Italians tell rich Russians

Russian model Ljudmila Radcenko and hotelier Salvatore Madonna will be passing on advice
Russian model Ljudmila Radcenko and hotelier Salvatore Madonna will be passing on advice

Nick Squires

As the summer tourist season approaches, Italians have a message for their rich Russian visitors – you may have money, but you have no manners.

Big-spending Russians have proved a lifeline for the tourist sector during the past few years of economic recession, but they are often perceived as brash, boorish and rude.

Now a hotel owner in Tuscany – the Russians' favourite destination – has produced a TV commercial that aims to educate wealthy Muscovites and other Russian visitors about the finer points of Italian etiquette.

Salvatore Madonna runs hotels in Forte dei Marmi, an upmarket resort that caters to Russians with menus written in Cyrillic and plentiful designer outlets, and has been nicknamed "Moscow-on-Sea".

The three-minute ad advises Russians to "smile more", to say thank you more often and to be more pleasant in their dealings with waiters and hotel staff.

They are told that ordering a cappuccino after lunch is an unforgivable faux pas – in Italy the frothy coffee is seen as an exclusively morning drink. Italians instead would order an espresso or a caffe macchiato.

Nor should red wine be ordered with fish. Wealthy Russians are also warned that it is vulgar to choose the most expensive wine on the list.

The advertisement, which will be shown on television in Russia and on Russian social media networks, features Ljudmila Radcenko, a Russian model who lives in Italy.

"The first rule when you enter a hotel is to say hello, smile, and to look the person in the eye. "In Russia we're maybe not really used to doing that," she says in Italian with Russian subtitles.

Even showy Italians balk at Russian women wearing barely-there, sequinned bikinis and swimming costumes. "Russian women who love to wear high heels and tiny bikinis should perhaps avoid those," she says.

"When you leave the hotel, it's nice to be communicative, to express your satisfaction for the service, to smile and say thank you," Ms Radcenko concludes.

Mr Madonna, the head of a luxury hotel group called Soft Living Places, said he hoped the film would help "better integrate" Russian tourists to Italy.

Teaching uncouth Russians how to behave better should not be construed as arrogance, he said, but gently helping tourists towards more culturally acceptable behaviour. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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