Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

David Dickens

Second Committee Member

Bo Bernhard

Third Committee Member

Simon Gottschalk

Fourth Committee Member

Michael Green

Number of Pages



I conducted a multi-sited ethnography with tourists and Italian employees in four Italian-themed locations in Las Vegas: two resorts, The Venetian and Caesars Palace, and two food-related venues, Cipriani and Eataly. I tried to answer the research questions: How do Italian-themed attractions attempt to transmit Italianness to tourists? How do Italian employees and tourists decode the Italian theme? and What is the role of Italian food in constructing Italianness on the Strip? As emerged from my analysis, Italianness on the Strip is the outcome of different kinds of negotiations. While Caesars Palace and The Venetian aim at creating representations of Italy that match tourists’ imaginaries, Cipriani and Eataly are more tied to an authentic image of today’s Italy, both in terms of architectural features and menu items. My data showed that tourists’ opinions were contradictory, with some declaring that those attractions did a good job replicating the Italian theme and others describing them as inauthentic. Similarly, while a few Italian employees stated that those themed attractions were fake, most claimed that they reminded them of their home country. This was especially the case of Cipriani and Eataly since, as employees proudly described, they serve Italian traditional food without accepting compromises, even if that entails a significant effort in terms of emotional labor. Italian employees’ reflections on Italian-themed attractions often triggered emotional reactions, which ranged from the nostalgia for Italy to anger towards their home country’s inability to offer them the same opportunities they found in the United States.

Controlled Subject

Italian Americans; Nevada--Las Vegas Strip; Culture



File Format


File Size

1064 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit

Available for download on Tuesday, August 15, 2028

Included in

Sociology Commons