The Worst Italian Souvenir, Ever (What is it?)

Here’s an example of great design put to an unfortunate use. The item in the photo below was given to me by the folks at the Piedmont tourism board, and I do appreciate the thought (really!). But as far as souvenirs go, it’s everything a souvenir shouldn’t be: bulky, somewhat heavy, occupies a lot of real estate, and most importantly, not worth it. I mean, a bottle of olive oil is heavy and bulky too, but oh-so-worth it. This souvenir solves a problem that I have solved in a lighter, easier, cheaper way my entire life (and so have you). 


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There’s no photographic angle that works to see it properly, so I recorded a short video, in which according to my husband, I sound disgusted. Actually this souvenir is not that bad. I don’t find it disgusting; I’d describe it more as annoying that someone would spend time and energy creating it, especially since a lot of classic Italian design has come from the region of Piedmont. Alessi housewares, Bialetti coffee machines, Zegna menswear, and Cerutti high-end fashion all come from the region. Then again, maybe this is the next must-have item and I just don’t get it. Entirely possible.

 

 



Did you figure out what this souvenir was designed for?
 Post it in the comments, or post about other bad souvenirs you’ve seen.


Update, September 24th: Thanks for the comments, and do you want to know what it is? Here’s a fancy version of what I use instead of the above (most of the time I just use a receipt). 


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Posted by on Sep 23, 2009 in Italian Culture | 9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. LuLu
    September 23, 2009

    I don’t think I can even attempt to guess what that might be. I’d really like to know though!

    Reply
  2. jk
    September 23, 2009

    door- or window-stop?
    modernist interpretation of an Alp?
    personally, I’d use it as a reflector for tabletop photography!

    Reply
  3. jessica
    September 23, 2009

    Paper weight and book end come to mind, but those are probably everyone’s first guess. I have no clue!

    Reply
  4. cj
    September 23, 2009

    a greeting card holder? that seems like overkill…

    Reply
  5. Alastair
    September 23, 2009

    How about a display for Christmas cards? (Honestly, I have no idea!)

    Reply
  6. anne
    September 24, 2009

    No idea at all, and if I was given it, I would be very disappointed!

    Reply
  7. Madeline
    September 24, 2009

    I’ve updated the post today. Click on the link to see an item that serves the same function.
    Nobody identified it, but if you DO have a use (any use, jk) for this item and I can get it to you relatively inexpensively, I am happy to send it! Remember it has a soft, custom, high-quality case, too. :o)

    Reply
  8. Jessica, WhyGo Italy
    September 25, 2009

    Oh. My. Gawd. That’s a BOOKMARK?!? Wouldn’t it potentially damage the book’s spine over time, to have it propped open like that even when you weren’t reading it? (Not to mention that yes, it takes up WAY too much space.)

    Reply
  9. Madeline
    September 27, 2009

    Hey Jessica – I know, incredible! Just wasn’t very well thought through… Another funny thing is too, that it’s even more limiting that a scrap of paper, because at least you can use a scrap of paper for any size book. This bookmark only works for books up to a certain size and then you can’t use it – the pages would crumple.

    Reply

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