Compensation for Ruined Vacation in Italy

Compensation for Ruined Vacation in Italy: Guide 2024

Did you organize your vacation in Italy, but it was ruined by a series of service failures? You are in the right place. In this brief guide, we will explain in which cases and how to request, in addition to the termination of the contract, compensation for a ruined vacation in Italy according to Article 47 of the Italian Tourism Code.

What is compensation for a ruined vacation in Italy?

Compensation for a ruined vacation refers to the type of prejudice suffered by the tourist who could not fully enjoy the organized trip and, therefore, endured the typical psychophysical discomfort of the total or partial non-realization of the planned program. For instance, a tourist might have booked a hotel convinced by the photos on the website, but upon arrival, could discover a place worse than what was shown to them.

In this and similar cases, according to Article 47 of Legislative Decree No. 79 of 2011 (Tourism Code), the compensation for a ruined vacation grants the tourist the right to receive compensation for the time wasted during their vacation.

For the compensation request to be valid, two conditions must be met:

  • The injury suffered must be serious (i.e., beyond the threshold of normal tolerability).
  • The violated right must have constitutional relevance (e.g., the right to health according to Article 32 of the Constitution).

Thus, it is clear that compensation cannot be requested for mere inconvenience or annoyance (easily overcome or remediable).

What type of damage does it refer to?

Compensation for a ruined vacation in Italy consists of non-pecuniary damage; therefore, it differs from actual pecuniary damage, which represents an economic loss for the traveler.

When we talk about non-pecuniary damage, we refer to the classic moral damage that must be compensated, in this case, to the traveler for the psychophysical disturbance suffered due to adverse conditions, severe discomfort that did not allow them to enjoy the vacation (i.e., a lost relaxation opportunity).

Who is liable for compensation for a ruined vacation in Italy?

The travel agency and/or the tour operator are liable, but some clarifications are needed. When booking a stay through a travel agency, it usually acts as an intermediary, then turning to a tour operator who practically organizes the so-called tourist package. Thus, while the tour operator organizes the vacation (e.g., including transportation, accommodation, etc.), the agency is tasked with selling the tour operator’s tourist package to the tourist.

To claim compensation for a ruined vacation in Italy, which of the two parties should be approached? A recent ruling by the Italian Supreme Court (order number 3150 of 2020) has established that both the organizer and the intermediary are obliged to compensate for the damage, according to their respective responsibilities.

Moreover, according to Article 43 of the Tourism Code, due to the inconvenience suffered by the traveler, the latter has the right to alternatively receive a reduction in the price already paid (for the time they were on vacation) or compensation for any disservice experienced.

It is advisable, before initiating legal proceedings, to try to resolve the dispute through alternative means (e.g., mediation) to achieve an extrajudicial resolution of the dispute. If mediation is unsuccessful or if the responsible party does not respond to the complaint, the tourist can always approach the territorially competent Justice of the Peace (in cases where the damage is below €5,000, otherwise it is necessary to go to Court).

Steps to obtain compensation for a ruined vacation in Italy

To obtain compensation for a ruined vacation in Italy, a timely complaint must be submitted (even during the stay) against the organizer (so that they may, if necessary, take action to remedy the situation), describing the disservices. In practice, the complaint must detail the reasons for the complaint, i.e., the discrepancies between the services offered and those described at the time of booking (possibly attaching photos or invoices to support this).

The complaint can be submitted up to 10 days after returning from vacation.

It is advisable to submit the complaint before taking action for compensation, thus further validating the damage suffered and avoiding being deemed responsible for the disadvantageous situation.

Then, to obtain recognition of the damage from a ruined vacation in Italy, the tourist has the burden of proving the non-compliance of the tourist operator they approached at the time of booking. They must, therefore, attach all the facts in which the discomfort occurred and the extent of the prejudice suffered. This can be done through, for example, emails with the operator, photos/videos, invoices/receipts, etc.

How is the damage from a ruined vacation quantified in Italy?

The damage from a ruined vacation, being a non-pecuniary damage, does not have standardized figures. The Italian legal system and the European Court of Justice stipulate that this type of damage must be calculated by the judge equitably, i.e., according to their discretion, and taking into account:

  • The irreplaceability of the trip
  • The value attributed by the tourist to the vacation
  • The psychophysical stress suffered
  • The economic outlay possibly paid during the trip to remedy the disservices.

We reiterate that compensation for a ruined vacation in Italy cannot be requested for simple inconvenience or annoyance easily overcome or remediable.

Timeline for claiming compensation for a ruined vacation in Italy

In the event that the complaint is submitted concurrently with the claim and in the event that compensation is sought at a later time, the prejudice suffered can be brought before the Court within the following timeframes:

  • 1 year (for damages related to the disservice of the trip)
  • 3 years (for personal injuries, if there are injuries)
  • 1 year (for damage to transported goods)
  • 18 months (for personal injuries during movements)
  • 2 years (for damages caused by air transport).

Special cases of damages from ruined vacations according to Italian jurisprudence

Here we briefly summarize the most particular damages from ruined vacations recognized by Italian jurisprudence in recent years:

  • Loss of luggage
  • Robbery and assault occurring at the facility
  • Deceptive photos and not corresponding to what was represented in the informational brochure of the facility
  • Offering, in the tourist package, services that are prohibited
  • Services promised not corresponding to those offered


We hope to have provided a comprehensive overview of how compensation for a ruined vacation works in Italy. If you need specific advice for your case, you can contact one of our Italian lawyers specializing in damage compensation.

Dott.ssa Elena Capodacqua

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