If you are considering Sicily as your next incentive destination… well done! Congratulations on your excellent choice. Sicily is a beautiful region, incredibly diverse and with so much to offer to the discerning leisure and business traveller. There is no easy way to sum up the rich and surprising experience of visiting Sicily for the first time (or even the second or third time, for that matter). As usual, however, we are going to leave the classic tips to all the other business travel blogs out there and just offer you the quirky and unusual suggestions that you have come to know and love from our “Hidden Treasures” series. Working some of these activities and excursion into your incentive travel programme will add something unique and memorable to your team’s experience.
Sicily: 4 unusual ideas for your corporate incentive trip
1. Go quad racing on a volcano
If you want to plan a thrilling excursion, you are probably already thinking of hiking up Mount Etna. And that’s a perfectly fine idea and one of the most popular items on many a tourist’s bucket list. If, however, you want to spice up your Etna experience and turn it into a team-building opportunity, why not drive up the side of the mountain on quad bikes? On these off-road vehicles, you will get the opportunity of exploring areas of the scenery that are not part of the traditional hiking trails. If you are staying in or near Messina, we also recommend exploring the Natural Park of the Gorges of Alcantara – a spectacular canyon made of tall and steep lava walls.
2. Visit an enchanted garden
Mount Kronio is a small peak near Sciacca and it got its exotic-sounding name from the Greek god of Time, Chronos. This isolated mountain is mainly famous for two peculiar features: the warm thermal springs of San Calogero, located at its summit, and the Enchanted Garden, which can be found at its foot. This garden was created between the late XIX and early XX Century by Filippo Bentivegna, affectionately known as “Filippo the Madman”. The moniker was bestowed onto him upon his return to Sicily after having been an immigrant to the US for many years. When Filippo came back home, he appeared to have sustained permanent damage after a severe head injury, which he is reported to have gotten in a fight while he was still in America. Unable to hold down a proper job and struggling to integrate back into society, Filippo retired from his native Sciacca to the countryside, where he started extracting tuff from the ground, to turn into sculptures. His creations now dot what is commonly known as his “enchanted garden”, giving is a rare glimpse into a lively imagination that was largely misunderstood by Filippo’s contemporaries.
3. Take a cooking class!
A significant part of the tourists and business travellers that travel to Italy every year list food among the main reasons for wanting to visit the Country. One of the most frustrating things about food-related tourism, however, is that you don’t get to take a proper souvenir home, as the amount and kind of edible goods you can transport is limited. The best way of taking Italian food back home with you is to learn how to make it yourself! Sicily is an excellent place to start. There are plenty of cooking classes available in multiple languages: you could focus on a specific recipe, an ingredient or a regional menu and turn the experience into a fun and engaging team building activity.
4. Walk through an open-air sculpture museum
If you are staying in Messina, take a detour to Castel di Tusa and visit Fiumara d’Arte, a spectacular and unique location which is best described as an open-air museum. Located on the long-dried bed of the Tusa river, between the mountain ranges of the Nebrodi and the Madonìe, this breath-taking stretch of land is dotted with large contemporary art-works, mostly sculptures and installations, that blend in magnificently with the natural scenery. You can explore it on foot or rent a bike: the experience will be equally surreal and amazing. This “art reserve” was created in an attempt to attract visitors to this particular corner of the province of Messina, which was generally neglected by mass tourism in favour of the most popular destinations in the area. While it is certainly true that Sicily leaves you spoilt for choice, when it comes to picking your excursions, it is also true that no other “museum” in Italy (and possibly the world) will offer you such a complex and fascinating combination of art, culture and nature.