MTV hits flip coin into local economy
As “Jersey Shore” nears the wrap of its Florence shoot, the cradle of the Renaissance may be warming a bit to the Guidos and Guidettes.True, the mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, seemed a bit harsh when, in early May, he banned the production from using the city’s historic landmarks, including the Uffizi Gallery. He also prohibited the cast from boozing in public, leading to speculation that the MTV show’s upcoming fourth season, which starts airing Aug. 4, will be a snoozefest. And, yes, picky Florentine traffic officers have slapped hundreds of euros in fines on “Jersey Shore” vehicles, including the Fiat Multipla that Snooki rammed into the side of a local police car last month. But, while Yank media outlets have been having a field day harping about Florence giving “Jersey Shore” the cold shoulder, authorities, after protracted negotiations, have actually relented enough to open the city’s venerable Palazzo Vecchio to Snooki, the Situation, Pauly D and the gang. And MTV also obtained permits to enter the city’s Stibbert Museum, which houses a collection of ancient armor, and the refectory of the Brunelleschi-designed Santo Spirito Basilica. “Our job is to provide services, and, obviously, not be an obstacle to anyone,” says a rep for the Tuscany Film Commission, which acted as liaison between MTV and Florentine authorities. “The city was not prepared, culturally, for this production. But I think they have become more flexible.” That may be because, even though some Florentines have acted snooty, dubbing the “Jersey Shore” cast “supercafoni” (which can be translated as “super crude slobs”), and chic eateries put up “no grazie (no thanks), Jersey Shore” signs on their doors, the two-month shoot pumped at least $3 million into the local economy, about the same amount MTV reportedly spent in New Jersey for the first “Jersey Shore” season. That may be less the $14 million spent by the last Yank production to hit the region, Sony’s Bond pic “Quantum of Solace,” but it’s certainly more than the coin dropped by most other international productions in Tuscany — most recently Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami’s arthouse “Certified Copy.”
Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!