Can Tourists Purchase ’the Past’? The Past as a Commodity in Tourist Sites

  • Chiara Cipollari University of Perugia
Keywords: rural tourism, arts and crafts, tradition


The following paper gives an account of my ethnography, which questions the idea of a ‘traditional past’ that can be presented to and, on occasion, sold to tourists. This process has in part done away with the tourist practices of socialism, which had themselves created an idea of ‘traditionality’ not dissimilar from the one proposed by today’s tourism industry. Fieldwork was carried out in Botiza, a rural town in northern Romania, where various practices have been implemented to promote and satisfy the tourist market. In this context, I analyses host-guest encounters, in particular their practises and narratives when dealing with concepts such as ‘past’, ‘tradition’ and ‘authenticity’ which are represented, managed and sold as tourist commodities.