We might be slightly obsessed with finding the perfect location for everything, from the ideal incentive travel destination to the best venue for a gala dinner. This prompts a constant research into different options, possible selection criteria and commercial partners to provide our clients with the best possible experience of every location. Many factors come into play when deciding on a destination for incentive travel. Budget is among the first that spring to mind, but it is by no means the only issue to be taken into consideration. Most destinations can be reached at a reasonable price and it is generally possible to choose between a range of accommodation options that will fit most budgets. Incentive travel destinations should also be chosen based on the specific characteristics of the brand and of each individual project. A purely motivational trip, for instance, will require a different destination to one that incorporates elements of team-building, a workshop or a series of lectures. The chosen location should also fit the brand’s values and identity – or at the very least not be at odds with them. A much valued skill in this business is the ability to discover new destinations or to explore new and unexpected ways of experiencing familiar ones. This is a short guide to some of our favourite Italian destinations for incentive travel. You might not have considered some of these, as they are not among the most popular locations in Italy, but we warmly recommend you visit them: there’s so much you will never discover by simply sticking to your travel agent’s brochure.
Val d’Orcia: the other side of Tuscany
If you have never been to Italy, it is statistically likely that Tuscany will rank pretty high in your bucket list of travel destinations and we know that by Tuscany you mean Florence. And you are right, of course: the city of Florence is stunningly beautiful and it holds some of the most relevant masterpieces in art history. Most first (and second) time visitors, however, mistakenly believe that Florence and possibly Pisa make up the whole of the Tuscan region. A recent team-building project brought us to Val d’Orcia and we took some time to explore this charming valley and learn about its rich history and traditions. Val d’Orcia encompasses the whole province of Siena and part of the province of Grosseto and its natural borders are set by mount Amiata and the nearby region of Umbria. The valley is named after the Orcia river and it is famed for its traditional products, particularly cheese and wine. Val d’Orcia is a perfect example of how human settlements can fit in with the natural environment without destroying or contaminating it. The whole valley is a natural park of overwhelming natural beauty and it is dotted with towns and villages, castles and vineyards, farms and isolated monasteries. Contemplating the valley from a vantage point, such as the fortress of Montalcino, you will be travelling back in time and sharing a very similar experience to many a Renaissance painter who celebrated the perfect harmony of natural and human-made beauty as seen in this corner of Italy. If you wish to know more about this valley and our incentive travel and team-building project in this breath-taking scenario, check out our case-history report.
Como: the perfect destination for an exotic adventure
You might not have read the word “exotic”, “adventure”, and “Como” in the same sentence before, and yet that’s location scouting in a nutshell: finding the perfect solution, not the obvious solution. We were asked to design a complex team-building project for a Spanish client, involving the kind of activities that are commonly associated with adventure trails, but also incorporating other, more traditional and typically Italian activities and events. Our brief required that we find a location with very specific natural features and facilities, in order to provide a full day of adventure sports such as bunjee jumping and tibetan-bridge building and zip-lining. On top of this adrenaline-packed experience, we also needed to find a spacious, cosy and well-equipped venue in which to offer our client a crash-course in Italian cooking. Incredible as it may sound, we found all of this in the gorgeous hills that surround the city of Como. With the nearby lake, the Alps and the city of Milan drawing most of the tourist influx in this region, the hillside area goes largely unexplored by both local and international travellers. Milder than the mountains and wilder than the lakeside, this beautiful corner of Lombardy allows for thrilling and yet safe adventure trails, while being only a short drive away from restaurants and hotels.
More Tuscany! Beach games in Viareggio
Did we mention that Tuscany is an incredibly diverse region? Peerless art cities, world-famous wines, green, rolling hills that will make you feel like you are being painted into a canvas by Leonardo Da Vinci and, of course, a coastline. The western border of Tuscany is on the Tyrrhenian Sea and it caters for all sorts of seaside tourism. While nature lovers prefer the Tuscan archipelago and the isle of Elba, revellers and partygoers usually stay on the mainland, particularly in the area known as Versilia. It was here, in the popular seaside town of Viareggio, that we organised a corporate edition of the summer Olympics for a major insurance company. Selected members from the local workforce challenged one another and spent a whole morning playing traditional beach games (such as beach volley and tug of war) and less conventional ones of our own devising. In the afternoon the whole team moved to the nearby Lake Massaciuccoli, for a dragon-boat-race (dragon-boats are traditional florentine longboats).