Italy has a lot to offer, in terms of history, culture, natural beauty and delicious food. This has tourists flocking to every region all year round, making it occasionally hard to visit the most popular destinations at leisure. When visiting Rome or Venice you might find yourself elbowing your way through the most iconic landmarks in the world or having to stand in a long queue just to take a picture with your phone or order an espresso. Is there a way of experiencing the beauty of Italy without turning your incentive trip or your holiday into a stressful race? Of course there is, you just need to plan carefully. For instance, you might want to take a look at some of the destinations that we like to call “hidden treasures” and that have not yet been “discovered” by mass tourism. These cities, towns and rural areas are no less beautiful than some of the most famous destinations in the Country. We have selected a few that you should definitely consider for your next travel incentive.
Cingoli – Marche
This little-known hamlet in the province of Macerata is also known as the region’s “balcony”, because of the stunning view it enjoys from the top of a hill. As many medieval villages, Cingoli is the kind of place you can visit in a day and we recommend adding it to your itinerary when exploring central Italy. The city centre has that quaint, timeless charm that astounds so many tourists that come from modern cities. Cingoli has been continuously inhabited since the III Century b.C. and its very stones are alive with layers of history and culture that make up the very fabric of Italian identity. Take a stroll through the city centre and then reach the city’s fortified walls and look eastward, taking in the stunning scenery. Let your gaze wander over the impressive shape of Mount Conero and then slide towards the Adriatic sea. If you can’t bring yourself to come early enough to contemplate the beauty of the sun rising from the sea, make sure you visit the terrace at sunset. When the rest of the region to the west is in darkness, the top of the hill and the town of Cingoli are still catching the last rays of light and being bathed in a beautiful glow. The photo-ops, it goes without saying, are insane. Be also aware that there is more to do in Cingoli than stroll about and Instagram the scenery. As an incentive and team building destination, this small town has unexpected aces up its medieval sleeve. Visit the Cingoli Lake adventure park for fun and exciting adventure trails in varying degrees of difficulty, suitable for adults and children.
Arbatax – Sardinia
If you are thinking “Arbatax” sounds like something out of an Asterix comic book… well, you are absolutely right, but you should still visit it. Sardinia is one of the most popular destinations in Italy, as a region, but most tourists tend to converge on the fashionable spots on the Emerald Coast and the Arbatax park tends to be left out, despite not being too far away. This destination offers – like most of Sardinia – immaculate white beaches and crystal-clear waters, as well as delicious local food that you will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in Italy. The tourists that do visit this area are mostly drawn to the Ogliastra province, which is famous for its red porphyry rocks that clash magnificently against the blue sky and green sea. These rocks form the structure of the cliff and they have fascinated generations of geologists and photographers alike. If you are planning an incentive trip and want to schedule some light entertainment for your guest, check out the local blues music festival, which is very popular in the region. If you are staying in Ogliastra for a few days and the season allows it, you might want to plan a hiking trip on the majestic mount Gennargentu, which is one of the wildest and most fascinating nature reserves in Italy
Sciacca – Sicily
You don’t really need an excuse to go to Sicily. One might say that you don’t even need a plan: just get there and you are guaranteed to find yourself in a beautiful location, with incredible food, millennia’s worth of history and culture and spectacular landscapes. If, however, you want to go for a “hidden treasure” and treat your team to a unique incentive trip, we suggest you visit Sciacca. Close to the more famous Agrigento, Sciacca has a long and almost legendary maritime tradition and it shows much of its glorious past in its current structure. It has kept the medieval structure with four gates and every cobbled alley in the city centre has a story to tell, going back several centuries. In ancient times, Sciacca was popular for its thermal waters, that still spring from nearby Mount Kronio. If you visit during winter, make sure you take in the local Carnival which is known as one of the most characteristic and lively in Sicily, lasting for several days in February. Lovers of history will also appreciate a visit to the Enchanted Castle and the Luna Castle.