'Jersey Shore' in Italy: Local Florentines react to the GTL invasion of their city


Image Credit: Ludwig/Splash News

Fare casino.” It’s an idiomatic Italian phrase that doesn’t have a straight English translation; it literally means “to make a brothel,” but could be translated as “uncontrolled confusion” or “to make a mess of things.” Or it really could just mean “party hard.” Do all these phrases remind you of anything?

As MTV’s Jersey Shore makes its long-anticipated, slightly delayed, reportedly controversial arrival in Florence, Italy, it shouldn’t be surprising that almost every Florentine local we interviewed for this story used the expression fare casino when describing their worries about the U.S. reality hit. “The general feeling towards Jersey Shore being in Florence is excitement that they’re shooting here, but also a bit of unease,” says Dasha Savage, an American college student studying abroad who served as my eyes and ears (and translator) in Florence. “I heard many older Italians express opinions of disgust for having these people come to their city.”

To get a sense of what the target MTV demographic thinks of the Jersey Shore‘s Italian invasion, we took to Palazzo Giovane, a hangout spot for young Florentine schoolkids. There the local students expressed a mixture of disgust and anticipation. 

Gioda Mecacci, a 15-year-old, says hard partiers certainly exist in Florence, but, she says, “The confusion they create isn’t as bad as what the Jersey Shore cast would create.” Carlotta Casparri, 14, adds, “They bring a bad image because they use curse words and comport themselves in a bad way.”

“Actually, we say they’re gross,” says Mecacci (she used the word cafone, which also means “boorish, loutish, rude”).

So what about the night life? If you’re a fan of Jersey Shore, you’ve heard a lot about Bar Karma and Beachcombers (where Snooki famously got punched in the face). For season 4, expect to hear a lot about Space, Full Up, and Twice, the hot clubs in Florence.

Lauren Guidot, an English-as-a-foreign-language professor in Florence, says the clubbing scene in the city isn’t all that different from the one in Seaside Heights. “I don’t remember the statistics exactly, but thousands and thousands of American college students are here every year to study abroad,” she says. “Bars are open every night, usually until about 4 a.m. Italians definitely like to party, but in general they don’t seem to binge-drink quite like the American students. Perhaps because the drinking age isn’t strongly enforced like it is in the States.”

But what about the mayor’s decision to impose restrictions on the show’s filming permissions? “They should do it like they did in America,” says Vendyl Sakalli, 15, noting that the cast members aren’t all that different from kids like himself. “People like me drink and go to the pub and things like that.”

Don’t expect an uproar over the term “guido,” either, like there was in the U.S. when the first season premiered. According to Savage, none of the Italian locals interviewed for this post had even heard the term “guido” as a derogatory term for an Italian-American, and none of them were offended.

Guidot (her last name is purely coincidental) agrees. “‘Guido’ does not have any meaning here in Italy,” she says. “It actually is a first name, although not very common. Italians have heard that the word is used but question why it’s derogatory.”

In fact, not all Italians seem to even realize that the Jersey Shore cast members are Italian-American (not all of them are), or portray a certain stereotype of Italian-American culture, according to Savage. One girl who enthusiastically and frequently interrupted one of our interviews exclaimed in realization, “Ah, they’re Italian-Americans!” despite having apparent knowledge of the show. “They [see] it more as a show about Americans than about Italian-Americans,” Savage explains.

Still, there is palpable excitement as Jersey Shore begins shooting. The young Italian viewers already have their favorites. Angela Sardelli, 14, says, “Viva Ronnie!” Mecacci, who only moments earlier labeled the cast “gross,” also cheers on her boy — “Forza Ronnie!”

Her friend shrieked, “No — forza Vinnie! And forza Snooki!”

Read more:
‘Jersey Shore': Filming in Florence delayed due to Italian president’s visit
‘Jersey Shore': Florence reportedly won’t let cast drink in public or in bars. So what’s left?
‘Jersey Shore’ cast gets six-figure raise — EXCLUSIVE
‘Jersey Shore': Italy is surprisingly not excited about impending arrival of young, drunk Americans

Comments (27 total) Add your comment
  • lola

    I spent a semester over there, I’m considering watching it just so I can catch glimpses of the city

    • shunhipsters

      It’s T-shirrrrttttt Timmmme!!

  • Mr. Holloway

    “Florence’s hottest club is TWICE!

    Don’t be thrown off when you’re greeted at the door by a rabbi that looks like Joaquin Pheonix, you’re in the right place.
    Club owner Robert Blake has thought of everything, gauze, carnival barkers, groups of guys with afros in graduation caps, human fire hydrants.”

    • JD


    • RoeLuv

      Haha I see what you just did

    • Wait, no picked up on his queue!!!

      So I’ll be Seth Myers

      “What is a human fire hydrant?”

      • Mr. Holloway

        “You know, it’s that thing of when high-waisted midgets have like the red pants and the big a$$”

        (Thanks for picking me up.)

    • SaraS

      Hahahaha!!! Awesome.
      And on another note, yes I am excited to see this season. Italy will be such a cool backdrop, I’ve always wanted to go there.

    • Kate

      Hysterical! That bit gets me every time.

    • JMB in FL

      Aaahhh, you beat me to it! That was the first thing I thought of when I read that line about the clubs in Florence. Stefon is my favorite!! Well played, sir. Well played.

      • JMB in FL

        Also–did you note that the writer of the blog piece is named “Stephan”, which could be pronounced “Stefon.” lol!

    • Mamavamp


  • Wait, no picked up on his queue!!!

    So I’ll be Seth Myers

    “What is a human fire hydrant?”

  • SethMyers

    What’s a human fire hydrant?

  • So Unfair

    They get to go to bars and drink at 15? I have to wait 6 more years – at least to do that legally – lol.

    • @So Unfair

      If you are complaining about not being old enough to drink from a computer in the 9th grade computer lab, you are not ready for alcohol.

      • RyRyNYC

        HAHAHAHA… so true!

    • H

      no, you have to be 16, not that people care, they’ll serve you anyway even if you’re younger

  • cc

    When do we get to see the 1st episode ???

  • kandace

    In my opinion I think jersey shore is the best reality tv show that has ever been on tv!

  • Butch

    Hope the cast is aware of the railroad job that put American college student Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend in prison for 25 years. Perhaps the cast can take time from their partying to visit her.

  • joe howard

    cant wait to watch it

  • impepleeliguez


  • Tessa

    I really enjoyed reading this information. I think it is interesting that Italian-Americans in the US get so offended by the use of the word “guido,” but people from Italy do not understand why that word is even considered derogatory. I also think that the interesting thing about Jersey Shore is that people hate it, but at the same time love it. For example, in this interview, the girl who called the cast gross was excited for Ronnie to be in Italy.

  • ripple bay

    Thanks for the good writeup. It in fact used to be a entertainment account it. Glance complicated to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we communicate?

  • Movie Review

    It’s really a cool and useful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • hotels in benidorm

    I have been surfing on-line more than three hours nowadays, but I never found any fascinating article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made just right content as you probably did, the net will be much more helpful than ever before.

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