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Bed & Breakfasts in Italy: The case of the Emilia-Romagna Region

di Teresa Branzaglia

Alma Mater Studiorum
Università di Bologna
School of Economics Management and Statistics
Campus Rimini
Second Cycle Degree Programme in Tourism Economics and Management
Relatore: Manuela Presutti
Anno Accademico: 2015/2016


Considering how needy tourists have become, even running a small business like a Bed & Breakfast requires an entrepreneurial mindset. The present work has the objective of explaining the Bed & Breakfast phenomenon and proving that, at the current state of facts, with all the limitations imposed by the Emilia-Romagna legislation, it is almost impossible for B&B owners to address modern tourists’ needs and to make a profit that is worth the effort. The demonstration will be conducted through a case study.

In the first chapter, the origin and development of Bed & Breakfasts will be analyzed, focusing firstly on the U.S.A., then on New Zealand, and eventually on Europe, investigating in detail the Countries where the phenomenon was born and those were it has gained more importance throughout the years: Ireland, Great Britain, France, and others. Italy is excluded from the worldwide phenomenon of expansion of the bed & breakfasts until the late '90s; ISTAT has collected data on B&Bs for the first time in 2001 and, year after year, it has always recorded increments of double-digit percentages.

The second chapter, instead, is dedicated to the controversial legislation field. We will look at the bigger picture with the Italian situation and what has occurred after the constitutional reform of Title V (Constitutional Law n. 3/2001) has made tourism a matter of "exclusive" competence of the ordinary Regions, following the example of special-statute Regions, where this was already the norm before 2001. Then, we will analyze the Italian touristic structure, starting from the Regions’ competences going all the way to the municipalities’. A list of the key elements that define and distinguish the Bed & Breakfast from the other accommodation forms will be provided together with the huge differences among regional laws and, in the last part of the chapter, the specific part of the Emilia-Romagna normative dedicated to Bed & Breakfasts will be discussed and criticized.

Lastly, the third chapter is entirely based on the business plan for “Villa Teresa”, the B&B project that my mother and I had in mind for our house in the countryside of Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna. In this part, all the difficulties that we would encounter due to the strict regional normative are highlighted.