Throughout my time in Verona, I noticed some distinct cultural differences between the US and Italy. The first was that public attractions seemed to be a lot more popular in Italy. Each day we passed the Arena di Verona, there was a new activity in the square that anyone could observe or take part in. From dance performances to soccer matches, the square invited people from all over the city to spectate. In the US I rarely see public attractions that do not cost money. When there is a free public attraction, crowds are usually too large and security takes a lot of security precautions to make sure the event does not get out of hand. In Verona, people were very respectful and crowds rarely got out of hand. It was also interesting to see a large military presence in the city. In the US, there are a lot of cops but rarely do you see people from the military walking the streets and enforcing laws. In Verona, I saw people from the military almost every day walking around the streets and observing the public.
Another cultural difference I observed in Verona was how professional tour guides responded to non-professional tour guides. While on a student-lead tour, there was a professional tour guide leading students to some of the same attractions we were going to. At one point, this professional tour guide stopped our student led tour and pointed her badge out to our tour guides, telling them that should not be guiding. This experience was definitely awkward but an interesting cultural experience. It was clear that tour guides in Italy are very proud of their profession and do not want people just guiding tourists without proper certifications. This experience also reminded me of our Blue Badge Tour in London where tour guides were also very serious about obtaining proper documentation to guide. I think that in the countries we have visited, especially In Italy, tour guiding is taken as a serious profession that not everyone can do. In the US, I feel like tour guides aren’t taken as seriously and there aren’t as strict certifications to become one. In the US, I have never experienced a tour guide confronting another tour guide about not being legitimate, so this was a very thought-provoking experience.