The point of an incentive gift is that it should be memorable. It’s the one time that your business needs to focus on emotional response and on creating connections that work on a personal, rather than professional level. This might be the case when you want to reward your customers for their loyalty or when your employees for their commitment or their achievements. Contrary to popular believe, incentive gifts don’t need to be especially expensive: it is perfectly possible to get excellent value for your money. One way of doing that is booking well in advance. For instance, in February, as you plan your budget for the coming year, you could book your incentive gifts for next spring. If you choose Italy as your destination, you will never run out of options to offer your team unique experiences. A weekend in a beautiful village, in one of the many enchanting corners of Italy that mass tourism has not discovered yet, will surprise and delight anyone. Start planning your incentive gifts now: we have five amazing Italian destinations to suggest.
Saint Vincent – Val d’Aosta
Surrounded by the Western Alps, Saint Vincent looks like it was designed to be on a postcard: it is almost too quaint and beautiful to be an actual town. And yet, this tiny slice of paradise is as real as any other place and it will make you question the reasons for and against leaving everything behind and moving there. The highest peaks that frame Saint Vincent are the Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso and Cervino, all of which are home to popular skiing resorts. If, however, you are visiting in springtime, you will be able to enjoy hiking and wildlife-spotting in the Gran Paradiso National Park or exploring the remains of Roman architecture that can be found in the valley. If you are looking for a thrilling experience, you might want to spend at least an evening at Saint Vincent’s famous casino. If, on the other hand, your idea of a weekend off is focused on rest & relaxation, you might want to visit the local thermal baths, which were discovered in the XVIII century and around which a number of luxurious spas have been built.
Alessandria – Piedmont
Alessandria is one of the most charming cities in Piedmont: rich in art and history, it also shares a unique culinary tradition with the rest of the region. If your incentive gifts are intended for someone who enjoys good food and wine and also loves art and culture, Alessandria is the perfect destination. One of Alessandria’s most notable features is its beautiful cathedral, famous for being home to the 24 statues depicting the patron saints of the 24 cities of the Lombard League, that famously defeated Emperor Frederick I in the XII Century. Other local landmarks are also connected to the city’s military history, such as the superb Citadel, one of the most remarkable permanent fortifications in the whole of Europe, dating back to the XVIII Century. Once you are done exploring, sit down at one of the local eateries and order a “bele cauda”, a special kind of focaccia, made with chickpea flour, and a glass of Barbera.
Arezzo – Tuscany
We know you have been to Tuscany and, probably, so have your clients, employees and colleagues. But we are willing to bet you didn’t visit Arezzo, or you didn’t have the time to give it all the attention it deserves. It’s not your fault: there’s so much to see in this beautiful region, that it’s almost impossible not to overlook some of its treasures. Arezzo is one such hidden gem of central Italy: a magical enclosure surrounded by ancient pine woods and whimsical hollies, where time seems to flow at a slower pace. At the heart of the original medieval settlement you will find the stunning gothic cathedral and the imposing fortress built by the Medici Family, which used to rule over the whole region and was largely responsible for the flourishing of sciences and liberal arts that we call the Renaissance. As well as Renaissance and medieval treasures, Arezzo also bears traces of much earlier settlements, dating back to the Paleolithic age. The name of the city itself is derived from the Etruscan Aritim, which was founded in the IX Century B.C. and was already present at the time of the Roman conquest.
Caserta – Campania
If you hear the name Caserta, chances are that within five minutes someone is going to mention the Royal Palace, or Reggia. A masterpiece of baroque architecture designed by Carlo Vanvitelli, this magnificent mansion was built for the Bourbon kings of Naples in the XVIII Century and it is clearly modelled on Versailles. Just like its French counterpart, it is designed to accommodate a vast court and to symbolise the victory of human ingenuity subduing nature to create beautiful compositions. The Royal Palace of Caserta is a triumph of baroque opulence, a dazzling whirlwind of frescoes, fountains, elaborate gardens embroidered by complex promenades and pathways, fountains, statues and all manner of eccentric decorations. Lose yourself in the 40 monumental rooms and in the vast grounds, have a picnic on the manicured lawns or look out for the statues of Roman gods on shimmering fountains.
Ragusa – Sicily
Since we are on the topic of baroque art and architecture, we suggest you consider Ragusa for your incentive gifts this year. The whole city has been listed as a Unesco heritage site in 2002, but so far it has not attracted mass tourism in the same way as other Sicilian destinations such as Palermo, Catania or Taormina. Ragusa was destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 1693, but the resilient local population rebuilt it, dividing it into two main blocks. The original settlement, which sat at the foot of a hill, is what we now call Ragusa Ibla, and it was literally built over the ruins of the destroyed city. To this day, this is a fascinating and mysterious tangle of little alleys organised according to criteria that will make any modern-day urbanist faint. Another settlement was added on top of that same hill, however, and that’s what we nowadays call Ragusa Superiore. This is the sensible, busy city in which life happens at a normal pace. The two cities, which are but two sides of the same coin, are divided by what is known as the “valley of bridges”, because of the three massive structures that connect the two sides. The oldest is known as Ponte Vecchio or Ponte dei Cappuccini and it dates back to the middle XIX Century.Visiting Italy on business? Find a venue for your next meeting!