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German Lotto Tourists Arrive in Rimini

A while back we published a post about the Lotto fever sweeping Italy, as its Superennalotto jackpot had not been won since January. Rimini was the city with the most number of tickets bought for the draw at that time.

Since then the jackpot has just grown in size, and now stands at €130 million interest has grown, obviously, exponentially. Italians are playing the game – including, apparently some mayors of cash-strapped local administrations, hoping that the jackpot will solve their administrative headaches!

Yesterday German newspaper Bild and low-cost airline Air Berlin flew in 130 German tourists from Hamburg and Lipsia to Rimini’s Federico Fellini international airport with the sole intention of playing the lotto! The tourists, who were greeted by Rimini’s mayor Alberto Ravaioli, spent an average of 800 euro on the game according to local sources.

It’s not the first time that Bild has flown German tourists into Rimini. Back in 2003, when a minor scandal broke as the under-secretary for tourism in Italy made some ill-advised comments on German tourists being ultra-nationalistic blonde beach invaders, amidst high-profile holiday cancellations to Italy (including then chancellor Gerhard Schroeder). Rimini’s administration was quick to prove that the anti-german sentiments were not widespread, and in collaboration with Bild flew in a couple of plane-loads of German tourists for a special all-expenses paid holiday to re-establish good relations.

Rimini has always been a favourite holiday destination for German tourists, and that trend is on the up as numbers have increased this year by 15%.

There are lots of factors contributing to this popularity, ranging from clever marketing through to great value food, a great climate, and top-notch facilities. Leafing through Rimini historian Amedeo Montemaggi’s classic book Pianeta Valmarecchia, which is brimful with long-forgotten facts, figures, and explanations about all the towns in the beautiful Marecchia river valley, culminating with Rimini, there is one episode from history which links Rimini to German history irrevocably, and provides another explanation for this strong bond between Germany and the Riviera.

In Rimini’s Palazzo dell’Arengo, in 1226 the Emporor Frederick II issued the Golden Bull of Rimini which authorised the Teutonic Knights participation in the Baltic Crusades – a fundamental  episode, which a number of German historians have gone so far as to call the birth Germany!

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