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Italy through the Eyes of Social Media

14 February 2014

Feb 17, 2014

Great food, beautiful cities and traffic nightmares—semantic analysis highlights the highs and lows of the tourist experience in Italy

Digital connections, traffic nightmares and Taormina were among the top concerns of tourists to Italy over the last 12 months according to a social media survey released today at the international travel trade show BIT in Milan, Italy. The study, conducted by social research firm Sociometrica, is based on over 218,000 social media posts of travelers visiting Italy, and analyzed using the semantic technology of software company Expert System.

The study “Italy:  Through the Eyes of Social Media” highlights both the expected focus on food and transportation, but also includes some unexpected destinations favored by tourists during the study period. The findings include:

    • Overall leading topics: 1) Transportation and getting from place to place, 2) Culture and 3) Digital communications, including wifi availability and issues booking online visits to museums and other attractions.


    • Forget Rome and Venice, new destinations top the list this year: 1) Taormina, Sicily; 2) Lucca; 3) Siena (famous for its annual Palio), 4) Assisi (maybe in homage to Pope Francis?), 5) the city of Costa Smeralda in Sardinia; 6) the Trentino-Alto Aldige region on the border with Austria and 7) Mantua.


    • The Italian way of life: Tourists seem to appreciate the traditional restaurants, pastry shops and city squares that characterize most Italian cities. Top city squares, or piazzas, include: 1) Verona’s  Piazza delle Erbe; 2) Parma’s Piazza del Duomo ; and 3) Turin’s Piazza Castello.


      • Driving, Italian style: Not surprising, transportation woes were also a highlight for tourists—leading topics include: 1) General transportation infrastructure, especially at airports, received negative feedback related to long waits and disorganization; 2) Driving in city centers not designed for today’s modern transportation posed challenges, especially related to understanding parking regulations; and finally 3) Italians’ driving style—and disrespect for traffic rules—were frequently cited.


Infographic BIT





























“The analysis of social media plays a strategic role in interpreting the evolution of markets and the thoughts of users,” said Luca Scagliarini, CEO of Expert System USA. “It is essential to develop effective listening skills in conversations taking place on blogs, forums and social networks. These sources are a nearly inexhaustible supply of valuable information from which to extract useful intelligence that can impact nearly every area of operations.”

Social media monitoring and analysis is a concrete example of the benefits of semantic technology in the management of Big Data. The Cogito semantic technology understands the meaning of words in context and processes any type of document, supporting organizations in exploiting their unstructured information (documents, web pages, social media and any non-database information).  Merging social media data streams with the back-office information, Cogito facilitates the identification of hidden relationships, trends, and important signals to help companies make better decisions, faster.