Overview of the Law, 2023, No. 190. (23G00205).

Based on the law, the Italian Republic determines the higher standards of guiding practice.

According to Article 4 to become a guide, everyone must complete the qualification exam, which is announced at least annually by the Ministry of Tourism. The exam consists of a written test, an oral test, and a technical-practical test covering subjects such as art history, geography, history, archaeology, tourism law, and accessibility and inclusiveness of the tourist offer. Additionally, the interested person must obtain certifications of proficiency in at least two languages: one at a level no lower than C1 proficiency and the other at a level no lower than B2 proficiency of the Common European Framework of Reference for the knowledge of languages. These certifications should be issued by foreign language certification bodies formally recognized by the Ministry of Education.

For citizens of another State, it is compulsory to obtain a certification of proficiency in the Italian language at a level not lower than C1 competence of the Common European Framework of Reference for knowledge of languages. This certification should be issued by certifying bodies recognized by the Ministry of Education.

The main requirements to take the qualifying exam include having reached the age of majority, being an Italian citizen or a citizen of a member state of the European Union. If a citizen of a state not belonging to the European Union, compliance with the provisions in force on immigration and employment is necessary, without prejudice to any international agreements on the matter.

Based on Article 6, citizens of the European Union, a state belonging to the European Economic Area, or Switzerland authorized to carry out the profession of a tourist guide in accordance with the legislation of another member state of the European Union, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland are entitled to carry out their activity in Italy: a) on a temporary and occasional basis, providing services freely; b) on a stable basis, following the recognition of the professional qualification obtained in another state, subject to integration of the training through a compensatory measure, which involves completing an adaptation internship or passing an aptitude test in Italian. The adaptation internship, lasting twenty-four months, involves practicing the profession under the responsibility of a qualified professional, accompanied by complementary training, and is subject to evaluation by the Ministry of Tourism.

Article 5 proclaims the establishment of the National list (Elenco Nazionale) of tourist guides by the Ministry of Tourism. Those who are registered, upon request, must: a) have passed the specific qualification exam referred to in Article 4; b) have obtained recognition of their professional qualification, according to the methods set out in Article 6; c) are already authorized to carry out the profession of a tourist guide on the date of entry into force of this law.

Article 7 regulates the completion of specialization courses, lasting a minimum of fifty hours, which enables tourist guides to register in specific sections of the national list, indicating the thematic and territorial specializations acquired. Tourist guides have the obligation to ensure, at least every three years, the continuous and constant updating of their skills and knowledge. This is to guarantee the quality of their services and contribute to the better exercise of the profession in the interests of tourists, through courses with theoretical and practical content authorized by the Ministry of Tourism.

Those registered in the national list are permitted to practice the profession of a tourist guide throughout the national territory. They are issued a personal identification card by the Ministry of Tourism, which includes a photograph, registration number, and a unique identification code. This identification card should be presented during the performance of the profession.

The administrative sanction ranges from 3,000 euros to 12,000 euros for individuals not registered in the national list.

In institutes and places of culture, as defined by Article 101 of the Cultural Heritage and Landscape Code, referenced in Legislative Decree of January 22, 2004, No. 42, including those owned by private entities and open to the public, entry and the performance of tourist guide activities cannot be prohibited or hindered. The sanction ranges from 5,000 euros to 15,000 euros if the managers of such institutions avoid facilitating activities for the guides.

If the tourist guide does not display the identification card in a clearly visible manner, to be presented upon request by local police authorities, public security authorities, and any other authorized person, an administrative sanction ranging from 500 euros to 1,500 euros is applied.

Conclusion. The establishment of a national list, a practical measure by the Ministry of Tourism to centralize information about qualified tourist guides, seems to be a great idea that will facilitate the search for guides for tourist operators and other entities within the tourism market. At the same time the requirement for passing a qualifying exam and obtaining recognition for professional qualifications abroad is standard practice to ensure competence and conformity with national standards.

The law appears to strike a balance between ensuring the quality of tourist guide services and facilitating the free movement of qualified professionals within the European context. However, the adaptation internship lasting 24 months or passing an aptitude test in Italian can become a significant barrier to conducting guiding practice in Italy.

The inclusion of language proficiency and continuous professional development requirements reflects a commitment to excellence in the field. However, if the tourist guide works primarily with domestic tourists, the necessity of proving proficiency in two additional foreign languages can be an barrier to conducting guiding activities for Italians in Italy.¨

The administrative sanctions are proportionate to the nature of the violations and should serve as effective deterrents.

With such a reduction in Law No. 190, it could happen that only those already authorized before the law’s implementation can be included in the National list, making the inclusion of new guides challenging.

Olga Milinchuk, Researcher at Mid Sweden University.