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Umbria Tourist Traps: 2 reviews and 2 photos

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Todi - on top of a hill, like so many others - Umbria

Todi - on top of a hill, like so many others

Todi is nothing special

Oh so famous Todi…. While I was doing research previous to my trip, I’ve read of course that Todi “is the most livable city in the whole world”. But….. as it is so often with “best, only, highest, greatest” (almost Chinese-like words), a bit of deeper research unveils the truth: this was nothing more than a huge and obviously successful marketing gag (and I had to work hard not to write marketing lie).
The facts were, as one can read in the article I’ve added below, that indeed architect and expert on sustainability Professor Richard Levine of University of Kentucky did a survey on many cities and villages worldwide and how their structures might lead to improvements of our today’s cities. He was invited to give a speech at a conference in Todi and a very much inventive PR guy twisted and warped the professor’s words into the famous words that started to spread around the world. As a result, the world rushed to Todi, prices increased, everything went touristy and what was maybe once a nice village with charm and own personality developed in just another high price tourist place.
Yes, I have to be careful of what I write. Of course I didn’t attend that conference and I also wasn’t in Todi to see it all by myself (which would have put me in a position to judge), but we all know how PR works with its own rules… It certainly was enough to tell me that of all cities and villages in Italy, Todi would be the least I wanted to visit (if ever).


Unique Suggestions: This article tells more about the famous PR gag:
There's No Such Thing as a Perfect City by Doris Gappmaier (in English)


Fun Alternatives: Todi might be nice and cute, but…. it is just one of so many hilltop villages in Umbria or Italy. Yes, it is member of Cittaslow, or slow city, the organisation whose goal is to improve quality of life. But in this organisation it is only one of 47 Italian cities! Most of them (12) are in Toscana, followed by Umbria (9) and Emilia Romagna (6). And even in Umbria it is not the only one…..
So I can only highly recommend that, unless there is something you desperately want to see in Todi, you should visit other lovely villages and cities in Umbria. All of them deserve a visit, not only PR markting-gag Todi.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Oct 28, 2008
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