Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

Too much tourism can lead to the destruction of our communities, and then to failure. The American director Sarah Marder addresses this issue very intelligently in the documentary “The Genius of a Place – L’anima di un luogo”.

Marder, who has been living in Italy for 30 years, is also the protagonist and narrator of the film. She examines the case of Cortona, taken as an example of “excessive tourism” which, in the end, causes the disintegration of the community, and its authenticity.

This is a real alarm, that even in the Chianti should not be underestimated.


Cortona became a popular destination after the famous book (and the film) “Under the Tuscan sun” came out, and since then this small town has been progressively losing its soul, says the director. Cortona is drowning in its souvenir shops, ‘non places’ that are affecting the very essence of the local community.

“When I arrived – says Marder – this town had not yet discovered the economic value of its beauty, and I naively hoped it would never change”.


Now she describes it as “a place that you love, but that cannot take care of itself”. An uncomfortable, independent film, shot over a period of five years following the stories of the people who live in this small town in the province of Arezzo.

From the economic awakening brought by tourists to the omnivorous nature of tourism, this a story of hordes of visitors, of waste, of dine and dash mentality: a video that makes us think. It raises questions that concern also the Chianti territory, which is still far enough from this type of “colonisation” but…is it really? It’s good to reflect on this in order to understand the risks.

And, if necessary, to change approach.


Matteo Pucci