You have been reading about it for the past three years at last: incentive travel is back and it’s here to stay. More and more companies have come to the realisation that it literally does what it says on the tin: treating your employees to a unique experience will motivate them to perform better and will prompt emulation in others. It will also foster team spirit and prove extremely rewarding both for those taking part in the trip and for the company, resulting as it does in increased productivity and trackable ROI. In order to make every trip count, it is essential to offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience, which doesn’t necessarily translate into choosing the most glamorous or sought-after destination. The key to a perfect incentive trip lies in providing the kind of experience that your employees wouldn’t be able to get on their own, using a mix of local expertise, luxury and world-class organisational skills. Italy, with its unmatched historical and artistic heritage, its temperate climate and its world-famous culinary tradition is, of course, an all-time favourite of incentive travel planners. While you can never go wrong with a visit to Rome and a guided tour of the Sistine Chapel or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, there are several destinations of astonishing beauty that are unlikely to feature on the average tourist brochure, as well as a number of unconventional ways of looking at some of the best known cities in the world. We have selected a few of our favourite destinations.
Beyond Florence: Montalcino and San Gimignano
Florence is among the most popular art capitals in the world. It holds some of the greatest artistic treasures in human history and in its streets, palaces and churches historical events have unfolded, that have shaped western civilisation as we know it. When visiting Florence your team can have the best of both worlds: the popular, unmissable landmarks and the secret gems of Tuscany. In the heart of the city you will be able to appreciate the Renaissance in all its splendour, after which you can escape to the nearby town of San Gimignano, to contemplate the natural charm of the region from a totally different perspective. You will be strolling down a vineyard, looking at the soft, green hills disappear into the distance, gradually turning blue and melting into the sky, and it will suddenly come to you where Leonardo first conceived his famous sfumato technique. In Montalcino you will sample the local cuisine at its glorious best, as well as the famous Brunello. If you wish to turn your incentive trip into a team-building experience, we suggest that you try our exclusive treasure hunt. There’s no better way to explore the hilly tuscan countryside than driving across it in vintage cars, looking for clues with your team-mates.
Umbria: all the way to Narnia.
C.S. Lewis named the magical world of Narnia after Narni – a small town in the central Italian region of Umbria. While it is unlikely that you will come across any actual witches or lions (wardrobes have been known to make occasional appearances), the area around Narni presents several remarkable features of its own, a beautiful scenery and deep mysterious caves, and its history is a veritable mine of legends and anecdotes that would give Dan Brown a serious run for his money. Less internationally renowned than neighbouring Tuscany, Umbria is nonetheless a dazzlingly beautiful region. Gubbio and Assisi offer an intense spiritual experience, as well as sporting as rich an architectural and historical heritage as any town in this area. Walking down a cobbled alley in the old town or stopping by a small village church, you will have the vivid impression that the flow of time has stopped, enveloping you in an ancient fairy tale.
Rafting in Rome
Of course you want to go to Rome, who doesn’t? Of course there are plenty of options for cultural, artistic and historical tours of the city that has laid claim for several centuries to the title of Capital of the World. What’s more, if you had a whole year at your disposal, you would not be able to see all that there is to see in this incredible, maddening, captivating city. After taking in as much as you can of the traditional landmarks though, you might want to try something that tourists usually do not do in Rome: a rafting adventure. The river Tiber, that flows through the heart of Rome and shapes some of its most iconic views, actually rises several miles north of the city, in the Appennine Mountains, and the Eternal City is but the last segment of its long and winding path. There are several ways of getting to Rome from the surrounding hills, but we believe that nothing beats rafting down the Tiber and getting straight to the city centre in style. We can also guarantee that you will not be caught in rush-hour traffic.
Sailing in Sardinia
One of the most exciting and fulfilling team-building projects we have had the pleasure to organise for our clients is an adventure-packed weekend in Barbagia, a sub-region of Sardinia. This magnificent island, renowned for its natural beauty, clear blue water and white sandy beaches, offers countless opportunities for outdoors activities. There’s plenty to enjoy and to discover both on land and at sea, which is why our corporate package includes both scenarios. On one day you will be sailing along the stunning Sardinian coastline and on the next you will be exploring the inland on a four-wheel drive, learning about the local traditions and impressive history and tasting (and possibly cooking) delicacies you will not find anywhere else.
Milan has become one of the most sought-after destinations in Italy. Fashion at its craziest best, shopping, fine, international cuisine, exclusive clubs and the impressive silhouette of its cathedral. What’s not to like? Except there’s another Milan, that tourists usually miss when flitting between designer boutiques and celebrity-packed parties, and that’s the Milan we would like to show you. Wherever you are in Milan, history may be hiding beneath your feet or just above your head. A reticule of underground tunnels, the oldest of which date back to the Middle Ages, stretch beneath the busy roads of the world’s fashion capital, connecting areas that were once of strategic or military importance. In the same way, you could decide to look at the city from above, taking a stroll on the roof of the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the arcade that draws millions of shopping enthusiasts every year. If you want to go for a slightly more traditional tour, you could visit the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, containing Leonardo’s Codex Atlanticus, as well as several masterpieces of Italian painting. We can also offer you an immersive Da Vinci Code-themed treasure-hunt experience in the city, which will guide you through several secret spots and unravel the mysteries that Milan conceals.