Incentive travel programs are the most popular way for companies to show their employees (and sometimes their top clients) love and appreciation. Some firms use travel incentives to reward their staff for certain achievements or to motivate a newly formed team to work together. Others will provide incentive travel programs as part of a system of rewards for customer loyalty programs. Whatever the reason, it is abundantly clear that experiences trump financial rewards, when it comes to creating an emotional attachment between companies and individuals. If you are shopping for travel incentives to offer your employees or your clients this year, take a look at our top 3 destinations in Italy. As usual, we tried to look at them from an unusual angle. Wherever you decide to send your team, make sure their experience is truly unique.
Mystery tour of Naples
There’s so much to see and do in Naples, that some of its most beautiful attractions end up being neglected by the vast majority of tourists. Some of the secrets you could be uncovering are fascinating and bizarre. For instance, did you know that Count Dracula was buried in Naples? At least that’s the theory of a team of historians that have been following his trail. According to them, Vlad III of Wallachia ended his life in here and was laid to rest (not necessarily “in peace”) under the church of Santa Maria la Nova. Naples, after all, has always had a complex and extremely free relationship with the spiritual and the sacred. Organised religion and pagan heritage, superstition and devotion are all intertwined in its identity. If you visit the church of Santa Maria Francesca, for instance, you might meet worshippers practicing a ritual that might feel unusual and out of character in a Catholic congregation. Many flock to this particular church to sit on the so-called “Chair of Fertility”. The name is pretty self-explanatory and the seat is surrounded by ribbons – each a testimony of its alleged miraculous powers. These are but two of Naples’ mysteries. If you want to surprise your team with a gothic-themed incentive travel program, Naples might be the perfect destination.
Bologna: a scientific mind and a sweet tooth
Bologna is the perfect destination for incentive travel programs that include family members, particularly children. There are plenty of unusual attractions that can appeal to visitors of all ages. One museum in particular gets unjustly overlooked by most tourists: it is the science museum of Palazzo Poggi. Located in the university district, it contains one of the largest and most interesting scientific collections in Europe, spanning from XVI Century astronomy and early anatomy, to ancient medical instruments, from models of ships built around the same period to an experimental physics lab, as well as traditional works of art and examples of local XIV Century paintings. Another unusual attraction that will make the younger visitors happy is the ice-cream museum. Located in the nearby town of Anzola dell’Emilia, this museum opened in 2012. The concept came from members of the Carpigiani family – a household name in ice-cream brands – who wanted to create a cultural hub to promote knowledge of the most popular dessert in the world. In this museum, you will learn everything about ice-cream, how it first came about, how technology evolved from early ice-preservation techniques to the most bizarre and experimental flavours of today. Plenty of samples, of course, are available.
Experience the northern lakes from a new angle
Over the years, we have taken our clients on plenty of incentive travel programs near and around Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. These locations have much to offer and are the perfect incentive travel destinations for nature- and sports-lovers. Besides the usual activities, however, there are a few options that will take you off the beaten path, and are ideal for groups that have already visited multiple times and are looking for something different to spice up their experience. Take the beautiful town of Tremosine sul Garda, for instance. Here, on the so-called “Terrazza del Brivido”, you will be able to enjoy the most breath-taking view of the lake – provided that you are not afraid of heights. The terraced structure of the mountainside area on which the town is built creates an almost impossible natural architecture. Seen from afar, visitors appear to be standing like mountain goats on a practically vertical surface. In reality, they are safe on Tremosine’s narrow terraces. If your incentive travel destination is closer to Lake Maggiore, you might want to consider a boat trip to the Borromean Islands. If you’d rather stay on land and want to experience something unusual, you could explore the Rocca Borromeo di Angera, a medieval castle that contains a unique Doll Museum.