Naked Italians Spark Protests
Three naked Italians walk into a supermarket... wait, that's not the start of a bad joke, but a potential hazard of visiting Barcelona's popular Barceloneta district, a quaint working class residential district right by the city's beaches. This particular "Italian job" (their mission seemed to me to buy breakfast in the nude) was caught on camera by photographer Vincens Forner and then reported in the national paper El Pais, sparking spontaneous protests by residents of the district.
"We're tired of low-cost, drunken tourism," said Oriol Casabella, head of the Barceloneta neighbourhood association. "It's killing our neighbourhood and dissuading other types of tourists. It's Magaluf all over again."
Much of the blame for such unwelcome behaviour is being put on websites like Airbnb, which encourages residents to rent out spare rooms or even whole flats to visitors and lists 600 apartments available in this small beachside neighbourhood. However most of those are unregistered, unregulated and non-tax paying apartments. Municipal officials say there are only 72 licensed tourist rentals in the same district.
Whilst the incident was relatively trivial is does highlight the friction that young party-going tourists can create in a residential district, where citizens still need their sleep and prefer to be able to walk the streets without seeing someone's salami. The morale of the story: if you're coming to Barcelona please respect the local residents. You can book a registered apartment via any of the operators on this page.