The Art of Writing

A Writers Retreat in Tuscany

Don’t go to the opening of Harrods in Florence.

If you’re planning on going to the highly anticipated opening of Harrods in Florence next week, don’t. It’s not on. Not only is it not on, Harrods in Florence doesn’t exist and won’t exist.

The idea that Harrods would establish a store in Florence had traction about a year ago when several digital mags ran stories claiming that Qatar Holding was apparently interested in Florence Real Estate. No ‘sources’ were supplied in any of the Harrods articles.

Then a flurry of dedicated Facebook pages by various Florentine travel companies opened. The travel/tourism companies created a fictional Harrods Grand Opening and subsequently generated excellent promotion and Search Engine Optimization.

Don’t go to the opening of Harrods in Florence.

But there is no Grand Harrods Opening on September 30th at 4pm. On one ‘Harrods’ Facebook page almost 6K people have RSVP’ed even though no address is supplied. 27K are ‘interested’ in attending. On another shonky Harrods Facebook page apparently 3.7K people are going to attend the Grand Opening and another 29K are interested.

After seven phone calls and several emails to the London Harrods Press Office to verify a proposed Harrods, PR Manager Denise Higgins has confirmed there was a lot of fake news going around Florence.

I suppose that’s what I have found so fascinating. How fast and far the gossip spread in Florence that Harrods was going to open. How the expat and tourist community became so excited over a big British department store. The alleged opening of Harrods seemed to strike  a chord in everyone.

Don’t go to the opening of Harrods in Florence.

Expats who live in Florence were thrilled to have a Harrods in town. Woohoo! Finally, good tea without having to go to England to get it! Lamb sausages too! As the only kind of sausages available in Italy are pork (and very, very fatty pork) the idea of a caramelized onion lamb sausage had most Florentine Anglo Saxon expats in ecstasy. A steak pie? Bring it!

Yet, regular visitors and Italiaphiles were outraged at the very thought of Harrods opening in Florence. A Food Hall? Yet another erosion of Italian culture! Don’t let them do it, many said. Harrods is like McDonald’s, they will consume and destroy Italy’s traditional cuisine. Yet, Eataly and countless other Italian food shops flourish in London and throughout the UK. Can’t we have an English Food Hall here? It’ll take more than Harrods to destroy the Italian obsession with good food, and slow food.

Don’t go to the opening of Harrods in Florence.

As far as Italians go, it seems that few local Florentines had heard the gossip, or fake news. The false information is spreading a little now, but mostly Italians had no idea.

A further Florentine Real Estate update. The chatter flew that Harrods was considering an Apple store location in Piazza della Repubblica. Nope, not true. Or down the side of the Hard Rock Café in Via dei Corsi. Nope, not true either – the big fit-out in Via dei Corsi will be Zara Home, not Harrods.

I was duped by this scam too. It seems a possible Harrods in Florence did not leave anyone without an opinion. What is everyone afraid of?

4 Comments

  1. Would LOVE a Harrods in Florence! Maybe that’s why the news spread so quickly! Willing it to be!

    • mm
      Lisa Clifford

      26 September, 2017 at 8:23 am

      That was definitely the vibe I got from expats here, Vanessa,
      though so many too were against the idea.
      Yes, perhaps a huge in-your-face Harrods would be in bad taste as Nicola mentions in her post.
      But a Harrods in Florence would be fine by me. I’d be having scones and tea!
      Thanks for your comment, Vanessa,
      Lisa

  2. Nicola Simmonds Elder

    26 September, 2017 at 1:22 am

    Italy is fascinating in that, on the whole, the food is Italian. When you live there you do often crave other cuisines or to feed your family food from your own culture. But a huge Harrods would be cultural imperialism and in bad taste, excuse the pun. Maybe a small outlet somewhere in the back streets? There used to be an English shop like that somewhere near Piazza Republica

    • mm
      Lisa Clifford

      26 September, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Yes, Nicola, so true,
      I am always, always craving flavours other than rosemary, sage, garlic, tomato. Asian? British? Middle Eastern? We were raised with such broad palettes. Raising my kids here I wish they had broader palettes and always wish my Florentine husband did not turn his nose up at other flavours.
      Yes, the British Shop has closed too, sadly.
      Well, I am off to London on Thursday so I’ll bring whatever I need home. (hahahaha)
      I just think we can afford to broaden horizons here,
      my best to you bella Nicola!
      Lisa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

© 2017 The Art of Writing

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑