When you make incentive travel plans, your main goal should be to wow your attendees and show them something they might not be expecting, take them somewhere they might never explore on their own. When travelling to Italy over the summer, most people go straight for the coast – and, frankly, who can blame them? Italy boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. And that’s precisely why, this summer, we will be taking our clients on incentive travel itineraries on our beautiful mountains. This kind of program is particularly suited to nature lovers. Some of the most beautiful natural sceneries in Europe, with lush parks and majestic waterfalls, can be found on and around Italian mountains. And no, we are not only talking about Northern Italy either. These are our top 5 summer incentive destinations for mountain lovers!
Best incentive destinations for mountain lovers – visit Italy!
1. Glorenza, Trentino-Alto Adige
Located in the province of Bolzano, Glorenza is a little known and stunningly beautiful little village that looks like it was painted on a postcard. Its quaint houses, clustered together and set against the majestic backdrop of the Alps, just a few miles away from the Swiss border, have a fairy-tale-like quality to them. The impression is reinforced by the presence of the medieval city walls with seven turrets: you might well imagine a tower and a dragon, tucked away somewhere in the valley. Officially listed among the most beautiful ancient villages in Italy, Glorenza is the ideal destination for hikers and nature lovers. Despite its small size, the village itself holds many sights worth seeing, such as the Furin Tower, with the former Court of Justice, and the spectacular Glorenza Castle. Both buildings date back to the early XVI Century and are a testimony to the part that this tiny hamlet played in the complex game of successive dominations that was fought over this region of Italy for centuries. The local cuisine bears a strong German and Slavic influence, with hearty soups, rich meat recipes – game is particularly popular -, knödels and delicious strudel.
2. Chiavenna – Lombardy
If you are visiting Milan on business, don’t pass up the opportunity to treat your team to an incentive travel detour to Chiavenna, in the province of Sondrio. You can reach it in as little as two hours, and yet it will present you with a completely different landscape and it will be hard for you to believe that you are still in the same region or that metropolitan cities actually exist at all. The town itself is stunning, with perfectly preserved medieval buildings, with characteristic green stone gates. Most tourists, however, are drawn by the local scenery, which is without peer. The main attractions are the close-by “Parco delle Marmitte dei Giganti” and the “Acqua Fraggia Waterfalls”. The park, whose curious name translates ad “Park of the Giants’ cauldrons”, is famous for having one distinctive feature: a rare process of natural erosion has shaped a series of natural lakes that look like gigantic vats. Approaching them from afar, it’s not hard to picture a giant carving them as a set of pots into the side of the mountain. If you are into drone photography at all, this area will provide the best footage you ever captured. The Acqua Friggia Waterfalls are the product of glacier erosion, resulting in a succession of jumps that create a highly scenic effect.
3. Mount Etna – Sicily
Didn’t we tell you that “mountains” did not exclusively mean “Northern Italy”? Mount Etna is of course one of the most famous active volcanoes in the world but it is also, as the word suggests, a mountain. And you can climb its sides to discover a unique ecosystem and its own natural park. Volcanic rock and volcanic soil make for an incredibly rich natural environment, with thousands of species of plants and animals thriving in the temperate climate. While the summit of mount Etna does get cold and snowy winters, the summer weather is probably the mildest and most pleasant of the whole region, with the Sicilian heat mitigated by the cool mountain air. And, of course, if you want your incentive travel to provide a more varied landscape, it’s just a short trip to the coast and to some of the most amazing beaches and shores Italy has to offer.
4. Auronzo di Cadore, Veneto
Let’s get back to the north, specifically to the Dolomites and the province of Belluno. Auronzo di Cadore is a spectacular location in the northernmost part of Veneto, close to the popular Cortina D’Ampezzo and to the beautiful Lake Santa Caterina. Have you ever heard of the Three Peaks of Lavaredo? This is one of the most famous mountain formations in the world and it’s a veritable hiker’s paradise. Beginners can take long walks in the woods, while expert hikers can opt for the more challenging trails. This is also a favourite destination of mountain bikers and canoers – the latter mostly converging to the lake. Auronzo di Cadore is a listed UNESCO site and also a popular sporting destination.
5. Chamois – Valle D’Aosta
Let’s move to the North-West, to Valle D’Aosta, specifically in the Cervino Valley, on the French border. Chamois is a lovely mountain village, located at almost 7000 feet. Forget cars, trains and any other traditional means of transportation: the only way you are going to be able to get to Chamois is either on foot or by cable car. What will you find once you reach the village? Peace. Utmost peace and relaxation, as life flows at a natural pace, attuned to the millenary breathing rhythm of the mountains, rather than the frenzy of our modern cities. Take your time, contemplate Mount Cervino across the valley, take a stroll to one of the local chalets and sample the local cuisine, which is as rich as you’d expect from a mountain location, but not as fat as you might find it in the north-eastern regions. And if you fancy a skiing trip, despite it being summer, you will be able to take another cable car to Cervinia and Valtournenche, whose famous glaciers are covered in snow all-year round.