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ITALY'S CONFERENCE-CENTERS CAN OFFER YOU A LOT MORE...

 

The North-west of Italy: one minute away from the rest of world

     Piemonte. A land where meetings take place

     Lombardia, the crossroad of Europe 

     In Liguria, an arch over the sea 

The North-east: from the magic of Venezia to the economic miracle 

     The magic of Venezia and the Veneto region

     In Friuli, the scent of Mitteleuropa

The heart of Italy in the midst of art, history and traditions 

     The old fashioned spirit of Emilia Romagna

     Toscana: a trip through time 

     The Marche, the terrace overlooking the Adriatic sea 

     Umbria, the green heart of the Italian peninsula

Between Roma and Napoli: colors in the history of Italy 

     Lazio and the eternal city

     Abruzzo, among parks, sea and towns 

     The faces of Napoli and Campania 

The South, the terrace overlooking the Mediterranean 

     Puglia , a trip through fabulous colors

     Basilicata, a gem hidden between two seas 

     Calabria, facing the blue sea

Sardegna and Sicilia: the large islands with their mysteries 

     Sicilia, a universe of beauty and memory 

     Sardegna, the echoes of a thousand-year-old history

 

 

ITALY’S CONFERENCE- CENTERS CAN OFFER YOU A LOT MORE       

Your top-class conference-centre is here, in Italy. You’ll find the ideal place for your convention and for that incentive travel you are thinking of offering, among the hundreds of Italian resorts, from the Alps to the Mediterranean, in modern buildings or old-fashioned palaces, villas, castles and historic houses. The many conference-centers available are all set against a framework of nature and art that have no equal in the world, with constantly-expanding facilities for the service and reception of visitors. This market is by now so great and dynamic that it constitutes one of the most important, if not the most important sector of the Italian tourist industry, characterized by features that mark it out as being the one best supplied with professional skills and abilities for producing value within the sector. The figures, too, give us proof of these trends, showing that Italy is right at the top in the conference and incentive travel market, confirming it as a country with high level of competitiveness. Those who contributed primarily to this growth are mainly the specialist centers, such as the large Conference Halls, but conference-facilities located in historic houses, in buildings of great architectural value and those available in large hotels are constantly on the increase, offering both meeting rooms and overnight stays for conference-goers. Italy is becoming more and more the favorite choice of large international bodies which organize meetings and conventions. The number of international conferences in Italy increases every year, demonstrating Italy’s reliability and credibility and supplying an important indicator of the improved competitiveness of Italian conference facilities. The growth in Italian conference-centers is, however, not only in the quantities, represented by the increase in the number of conferences organized, but we have also seen a noticeable improvement in the quality of what is offered: the average number of participants at each individual event has gone up considerably, and the average length of conferences has also increased. However, the great advantage that Italy offers is the variety of the locations and the possibility of offering conference-goers leisure itineraries and activities, the like of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It is obvious that the growth in the Italian conference-business is linked above all to the growth in competitiveness of the tourist resorts, where the number of conference-goers is constantly increasing, equaling the market-share of the towns and cities that are traditionally the leaders in the Italian conference market. To those who have to organize a conference, produce a large company convention, or create an event, Italy can offer you more: highly modern structures, efficient services, air, road and rail-connections, but above all, its coastline, its mountains and its cities of art, representing added value for a sector which aims more and more to play a leading role in Europe and the world

 

The North-west of Italy: one minute away from the rest of world  

It used to be called the “industrial triangle”, a definition that is perhaps no longer meaningful today and that should be brought up to date to take account of the way this area has developed, not simply as the headquarters of large industrial concerns, but more strongly inclined towards the tertiary sector, to commerce and the service industries, and therefore to large scale assemblies, conventions and conferences. This readiness to stage meetings to debate problems, find solutions, make firm business contacts and float new ideas has been helped over recent years by the opening of several conference-centers. This is the North-west of Italy: Piemonte and Valle d’Aosta, with their unmistakable mix of aristocracy, in the noble house of Savoy, and of European modernity. Then there’s Lombardia, a crossroads of traffic and commerce, the capital of dynamism and enterprise: Liguria, a strong but gentle land, rich in color contrasts. This part of Italy is just a moment away from the rest of the world. Its airports, motorways and railways make connections easy and convenient. The Alps, with their immaculate mountain-peaks and green wooded valleys crown the area, where the broad, well watered plain is thickly covered with farmland and urban settlements that leave a mark on the landscape, and the view over the sea stretches far into infinity. In the setting of this geographical landscape, three large metropolises stand out: Torino, the birthplace of Italian radio, cinema and telephone, cradle of the automobile industry, the first capital of unified Italy; Milano, a cosmopolitan city, always trendy, the vibrant pulse of the Italian economy and the headquarters of large companies as well as the most prestigious world names; Genova, a seaport of primary importance and a fascinating city of labyrinthine streets, squeezed in between the mountains and the sea. Besides the big cities, though, North-west Italy offers sights of great interest, both from the natural and from the historical and artistic point of view. First of all, there are the mountains, with the large skiing areas in the Alps near Torino (which will be host to the Winter Olympics in 2006), the Valle d’Aosta region, the Ossola valley and the valleys of Lombardia. Then there are some corners of unusual charm: the Ligurian hinterland (with pieces of paradise, such as the Cinque Terre), the Monferrato and Langhe areas, and the lakes in Lombardia, together with the castles, the little villages, and the seaside towns on the Ligurian coast. And lastly, in this part of Italy, you can become acquainted with a culture of good food that has deep, historical roots in the poverty and wretchedness of the countryside and the mountains, and which offers exciting, intense flavors like the warming, welcoming wines of the Piemonte hills or the Oltrepò Pavese.

 

 

Piemonte. A land where meetings take place  

Torino’s history and past are indissolubly linked to the Savoy dynasty and to the dazzling splen­dor of its palaces, royal residences and hunting estates. Torino is one of the most beautiful Italian cities, able to combine the ancient and the modern and bring out a strong European spirit in an atmosphere of balance between Nordic and Mediterranean civilizations. In this city, with its unusual town-plan, you can discover museums, palaces, monuments and churches, just by walking for ten kilometers under the colonnades enlivened by the glittering shop-windows, or sitting in the old cafés and enjoying the famous cuisine. However, Torino is also well qualified as a conference city. It has facilities to welcome conventions of up to 10,000 participants and offers modular spaces that can hold side exhibitions of many different types. Torino is host to important trade-fairs throughout the year, from the Book Fair (in May), to the Salone del Gusto (in autumn). And when the day’s work at the conference or trade-fair is over, the city and its surrounding area offer splendid cultural and environmental opportunities, with many facilities to choose from, for leisure and services. You can reach the conference facilities in just a few minutes from Porta Nuova railway station, where the airport terminal is also located. And you can also get from there to all the most interesting places in the old centre of the city. Thus it is easy to discover the elegant atmosphere of Piazza San Carlo and Piazza Castello, in the shadow of the Mole Antonelliana (the imposing spire that dominates the city and which is today the home of the Cinema Museum) and to visit the exceptional collections in the Egyptian Museum, the Sabauda Art Gallery and the Royal Armoury. Also close by are the ancient churches and palaces with their art treasures, the cathedral with the Guarini chapel where the Shroud is kept (the sheet in which, as tradition has it, Christ’s body was wrapped), Palazzo Reale and Palazzo Madama. You can visit the Valentino Park and the banks of the River Po, which runs through the city, flowing along at the foot of the green hills. Torino has convenient transport links for trips up to the Alps in Valle d’Aosta, an excellent tourist area in all seasons of the year, and also out towards all of Piemonte, which is equally fascinating with its natural beauties and historical and artistic attractions. A day out among the vineyards of the Langhe or Monferrato areas, for example, is an unforgettable experience, especially if it is finished off with an opportunity to taste the good food and sample the exceptional wines from these hills. And don’t forget to have a look at the wonderful historic town-centers, such as those of Saluzzo and Chieri, and the artistic monuments such as the abbey at Staffarda. Other fascinating sites to visit are the Monviso valleys and the Lanzo and Susa valleys around Torino and, of course, the Pre-alpine lakes - Lake Orta and Lake Maggiore - in the Novara area. One area that is, perhaps, unique in the world because of the harmony of the nature and the artistic splendours to be found there, is Valsesia, leading from the plain up to Monte Rosa.

INFO

Torino Convention Bureau

Vìa Bogino 9,10123 Torino

Tel.01139 011 8185011

www.torinoconvention.it

  

Lombardia, the crossroad of Europe   

 

The traditional definitson of Milano, the regional capital of Lombardia, as the economic capital of Italy really does not say the half of it. Of course, there are large factories here, the tertiary sector is here at its most advanced, and the current of technological development is in full flow. But there’s more: Milano is not just a large business centre but a way of life. It is not only a repository of rich art-treasures, both those on display and those hidden away, but it is also a place to dis­cover nature, in the big parks in the city and in the region around it.

It is almost impossible to present Milano in a fresh light, since just about everything has already been said about this city. But for those who would like to consider Milano as a place to hold a big meeting, a conference, a company or a cul­tural convention, the city can boast the availability of large facilities, excellent services, easy trans­port connections, and the fact that it is the site of an intense activity in trade-fairs (from the Inter­national Furniture Fair to the International Tourism Exchange). All this is combined with some hitherto “undiscovered” aspects: the “quiet corners” of the city and walks through natural surroundings, in the parks that lie just outside the city and in farm-holiday centres where you can sample the tasty, bright, traditional Lombard speciallties.Enough has been said about the thousand churches, from Santa Maria delle Grazie with Leonardo’s Last Supper to St.Ambrose’s Basilica, and to the majesty of the gothic cathedral. A very relaxing tour, however, is the one which takes you through the winding roads on the south side of the city, in the area of the Canals, one of the most beautiful in the Milano area. The aristocracy of the eighteenth century built splendid houses for summer holidays there, taking advantage of the connections by water to the city centre, in a countryside that today offers innumerable, unexpected possibilities for walks in areas of natural beauty and parks of elegant loveliness. Furthermore, Milano is only the centre of a region with a thousand faces. Lombardia has a large range not only of facilities for welcoming visitors but also of tourist attractions, from the lakes (Maggiore, Como, Garda, Iseo and many others) to the mountains, and to the cities with their history and art. Take Bergamo, for example, with its charming historic town-centre situated on a hilltop: the Carrara Academy here is one of the best art galleries in Italy; or Mantova, the capital of the Gonzaga dynasty, with its extraordinary buildings created by the great artists of the Renaissance. Then there are Cremona and Vigevano, both of which grew up around town squares that are absolute masterpieces of medieval and renais­sance architecture. And just a few kilometers from Milano, you will find an oasis of tranquility, soothed by excellent wines: this is the area of the rolling Pavese hills which flank the southern shore of the Po river.

INFO

Regione Lombardia Direzione Generale Turismo

Via Filzi 22, 20122 Milano

Tel. 01139 02 67656237

www.inlombardia.it

 

In Liguria, an arch over the sea  

 

Genova is the city where Northern Europe and the Mediterranean embrace each other, and it is the ideal place to organize a conference. It has a charming atmosphere, a historic flavour and the air is suffused with the taste of the sea. Genova is an old city, but now its big, generous heart appears more beautiful than ever. There are alleyways and little streets, unexpected squares that suddenly open up in the narrow spaces of the old town centre protected by the severe appearance of its ancient palaces. A city of art with many souls, Genova can show you unexpected artistic treasures and facilities that are extremely modern, well developed and complex. In the new millennium the city has confirmed its role as a popular resort for conference-tourism, helped by the favorable features of its climate and surroundings, its convenient road and airport links and by its system for welcoming visitors that has grown rapidly in quality and quantity. The real hub of Genova for the tourist is the area of the Old Port, rebuilt in 1992 by Renzo Piano. It is unique in Italy because of its location right in the city, with cultural, scientific and play/recreational areas, as well as commercial areas such as restaurants, bars and other services. The Aquarium and the Città dei Ragazzi are based here and the conference and exhibition facilities like the Magazzini del Cotone. It is here that the large trade-fair events take place, the best-known of which is the International Nautical Exhibition (in October) and, every four years, Euroflora. Set between the mountains and the sea, Genova has a number of qualities that are highly soughtafter. These are undeniable strong points that make it unique and attractive as a headquarters for conferences. It has an international airport only 15 minutes away from the city centre, a very efficient train service and motorway connections which link it to the main Italian and European cities. Just a short distance away from the city, the whole region of Liguria offers large, attractive and unique facilities for visitors in areas such as the Golfo Paradiso and the Golfo del Tigullio, in famous resorts like Camogli, Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Sestri Levante and San Remo (famous for its wonderful flowers), whilst the hin­terland, full of tradition and culture, has important natural resources and outstanding landscapes. To give just a few examples: to the west (the Ponente side) you can reach the Nervia valley, behind the coast road leading from Bordighera to the French border, and Dolceacqua, one of the most picturesque villages in an area renowned for its great wines. Albenga has Roman remains and some remarkable medieval buildings, with a Baptistery which is the most important Early Christian construction in the region and dates from the 5th century. To the east (the Levante side), you can drive up from the characteristic historic centre of Chiavari with its long arcades, and in a few minutes vou arrive at the 13th century Basilica of San Salvatore dei Fieschi, one of the most valuable architectural works in Liguria.

INFO

Convention Bureau Genova

Piazza Matteotti 9,16123 Genova

Tel. 01139 010 5761975

www.cbgenova.it

 

Consorzio Portofino Coast

Via Lamarmora 17/6,16035 Rapallo (GE)

Tel. 01139 0185 270222

www.portofinocoast.it  

  

 

The North-east: from the magic of Venezia to the economic miracle   

 

The new frontier of Italian development runs through here, the North-east. This area is actively involved in services to business, starting with the sectors of advertising, exhibitions and conferences. The North-east offers extremely modern conference services that can respond to any requirements, both from the point of view of size and from the aesthetic point of view, because of the high image-level of the facilities there. It is a difficult region, which underwent centuries of poverty, causing much of the population to emigrate (there are count-less numbers of people from the Veneto and Friuli regions spread all over the world) and which is today the promised land, the new Eldo­rado of economic growth. Its closely-woven fabric of enterprise, with thousands of small companies, offer a good livelihood to those who lived wretchedly only a few decades ago. This evolution has not rubbed out the area’s physical characteristics, however; here, nature and history have produced scenery that is often quite unique. Spread out between the Alps, Lake Garda and the extreme offshoots of the Adriatic Sea, North-East Italy contains a wide range of landscapes: the rocky crags and snow of the mountaìns, the gentle slopes of the hills, the abundant waters of the large rivers and famous lakes. “Le Venezie”: this is what this area is called for short, meaning that, in some way, the beacon of the three regions is down there, in the Lagoon. Venezia is one of the (many) things it is worth coming to Italy to see: an idea, a gesture of the heart, a delight for the eyes; its houses built on the water, the bridges, the canals, Saint Mark’s, a never-ending story of meet­ing and journeys, Marco Polo, the Orient. You look to the east from here, just as you do from Trieste which was once proud of being the port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and which is today the loveliest Central European city in Italy, with its echoes of the great writers and intellectuals it has welcomed or given birth to, from Joyce to Svevo. Behind these two cities on the sea, there is a very charming area dotted with famous, beautiful towns such as Verona and Vicenza, where the mastery of the great sixteenth-century artist Andrea Palladio has left villas and palaces that are unique in the world. Further north, towards the ring of the Alps, lie Trentino and Alto Adige, a spectacle of nature with the Dolomites and the thousands of attractions in the ski resorts and the towns with their clear Tyrolean character, such as Bolzano and Merano, or in Renaissance and Romanesque style, such as Trento. Finally, those who visit these parts must not miss the great quality of the food and the splendid varieties of wines.

 

 

The magic of Venezia and the Veneto region   

 

Venezia is the perfect example of how in Italy, the need to be practical and efficient in a conference-event can be combined with delights that are unique. A combination of history, art and tradition set in an unparalleled framework; just the memory of it evokes a sense of longing. Many people have asked what the secret of Venezia is, and have given thousands of possible answers. But maybe there is no secret. Or rather, the answer is so obvious that you’d never suspect it. The secret of Venezia is the water, the element from which it draws its raison d’ètre, its greatness and the character of this city which is the only one of its kind in the world. This is why being Venetian has always meant knowing about this “wateriness”, knowing about its positive aspects and facing its problems without dramatizing them.

Because of the very fact of the water, Venezia offers a logistic solution to be found nowhere else and which is thus different from any offered by other conference resorts at an international level. The water, the element around which Venezia has grown up and developed ever since it was founded, enables transport connection to be planned more easily and more precisely, with great advantages for the logistic planning of any event, unlike what happens in other European cities congested by motor-traffic. Venezia’s special urban structure, easy to get around on foot, means that events can be organised efficiently, and offers the wonderful opportunity of combining its historic and artistic heritage with the specific requirements of the meet­ing planners and their clients. With its history laden palaces and hotels, or in highly modern buildings, particularly at the Lido (which each year becomes the centre for the Film Festival), Venezia is today one of the jewels in the crown of conference-tourism in Italy. But the Veneto region is not just Venezia. In the international language of art, for example, the word “Veneto” means color - a whole culture of art based on colour. Discovering the sites in the Veneto region signifies wandering through shades of color, in the harmony of the light and in the balance of the forms, molded by a sensitivity determined by the atmospheric conditions themselves, by the variety of tones and the diversity of this land.

This gift for painting developed over the course of the centuries, through the influence of many civilizations rich in history and culture: from pre­-Roman and Roman societies to the Middle Ages and the magnificence of the Renaissance, from the inventive seventeenth century to the “Settecento” and Venezia’s golden decline, from the atmospheres of Mitteleuropa in the nineteenth century to modern, contemporary cultural expressions. It is a tale of extraordinary artistic richness, spread both in the large cities of the region and in the small towns, in the countryside and even in the most delightful and remote places that have not been forgotten, however, by the genius and sensitivity of illustrious artists and industrious artisans. There is a huge treasure to be admired and appreciated in each tiny detail, where enormously valuable artistic surprises are revealed, giving great satisfaction to the mind and to the soul. Apart from Venezia, the incomparable capital of the region, there are many centres that have excellent credentials to offer conference facilities for international customers, who are often attracted by the intense trade-fair business carried on there. It might be said that in Veneto region, a trade-fair sprouts in every town-square: there are some large exhibitions linked to the food and agriculture industry in Verona (the Agricultural Fair and Vinitaly, for instance); Vicenza has become the European capital for exhibitions of gold-work and jewelery; Flormart, the great exhibition of flower nurseries, is held in Padua in spring and there are equally important events in the smaller places, too, such as the International Ice-cream Shop-window in Longarone, near Belluno. The buildings, historic seats (many eighteenth century villas and noble palaces have been transformed into conference centres) or recently built facilities, offer efficient servìces and excellent skills for welcoming visitors.

INFO

Regione Veneto Direzione Turismo

Cannaregio 168, 30123 Venezia

Tel.01139 041 2792761

www.regione.veneto.it  

 

 

In Friuli, the scent of Mitteleuropa   

 

If there is one city in Italy that could be called international, it is Trieste, the capital of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia area, it is thus an ideal venue for any conference event that desires to speak the language of the world. Discovering Trieste means going back into history and the lives of great characters of culture: Winckelmann, Freud, Rilke, Joyce, and Slataper, Svevo and Saba, natives of Trieste, and many others. Looking at life through the eyes of these great men helps one to understand life to the full. Trieste is a city of contrasts, of Mitteleuropa and cosmopolitanism, a mix of different ethnic groups and cultures, and a city where freedom of thought and a readiness to meet others half-way are the basis of society. This is a perfect place, therefore, to organize meetings and conferences. We see Trieste embedded between the sea and the hills. It stands out against the bright, white horizon on the blue of the sea and the sky and looks like a sort of last Mediterranean mirage to those who travel along this northern stretch of Adriatic coast. Trieste is right at that spot, to the east where the sun rises, on a strip of land where the Carso rock dives into the sea without blunting itself on the sandy beaches: a frontier town, a port opening onto eastern Europe, between the Latin and the Slav worlds, a characteristic which the people of Trieste carry stamped on them with an indelible mark.  The city depends not only on the development of its port facilities, but also on the tertiary sector and scientific research establishments. It also believes strongly in the challenges deriving from the broadening of the European Union towards the east and sees itself as a point of reference for countries of Eastern Europe. One of the most important events in Trieste’s large trade-fair district is, in fact, the Tourism of the East Exchange, alongside the well-known Sea Trade-fair.

As well as being rich in history and traditions, Trieste has lots of leisure opportunities and, thanks to its unusual geographical position, lots of beautiful natural scenery. These features make Trieste a European city, a meeting point of cultures and a “test-bed” for ideas that cannot fail to offer further opportunities for development. Trieste has immediately taken advantage of this opportunity; it has deployed all its energies and succeded in becoming an important centre of conference-tourism for an elite who look for resorts that can combine efficiency and modernity, but which also offer the change to plunge into cultural and natural surroundings rich in charm.There is the Duino castle, for example, on the rocky headland near the estuary of the Timavo, a karstic river which flows out to the surface after a long passage underground, or the miramare castle sorrounded by a large park facing the sea in which an important marine reserve has been established. The whole region, in fact, demonstrates an ability to combine its natural beauties harmoniously with the works of men. A good example can be found at Cividale del Friuli, a delightful historic town with remarkable medieval monuments on the edge of a hilly area which is one of the most famous in Italy for its wines, or in Udine, a beautiful city with splendid works of Venetian art. The harsh scenery of the Julian and Carnic Alps are just a short distance away, as are the natural treasures of the Adriatic lagoons of Marano and Grado.

INFO

Promotrieste Convention Bureau

Molo Bersaglieri 3, 34124 Trieste

Tel. 01139 040 304888

www.promotrieste.it

 

 

 

The heart of Italy in the midst of art, history and traditions  

 

One of the reasons for choosing Italy as the place for a conference is the fact that the country has a large part of the world’s artistic and historical treasures. This means that it can offer conference-goers an infinite choice of opportunities for enjoyment after a working day. Central Italy is a treasure-house of riches. This is the cradle of the Renaissance, the land where the great painters, architects and artists lived and left the most important traces of their creativity. In Toscana, for example, it is hard not to fall victim to the so called “Stendhal syndrome” (a mental disturbance caused by the excessive emotion felt when viewing works of art), with so many, and such wonderful masterpieces to be seen there. And it is hard not to feel sated by the beauty of the cities of art and the treasures concealed in every corner. And what shall we say about Umbria, which combines an abundance of artistic works with the memory of an example of faith that is unparalleled in the world, that of St. Francis of Assisi, the best-loved and most venerated saint in western culture?

Around this central core that attracts tourists, visitors and business people from all over the world, with jewels of cities like Firenze, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Assisi, Orvieto and Perugia, central Italy includes other regions that are also laden with history and traditions. There is Emilia, with its capital, Bologna, a city with a great university tradition, but known throughout the world above all for its welcoming hospitality and its wonderful tradition of good food. Then there’s Romagna, which combines examples of Byzantine art with the amazing mosaics of Ravenna, with modern leisure activities, especially the party atmosphere, the fun and the shows in the riviera resorts like Rimini. There are the Marche too, which are like a mosaic of ancient tows and villages scattered over gentle hills, and of white, sandy sea-shores and high cliffs.

In this part of Italy where all roads meet, it is fantastic to follow the itineraries of art, especially Medieval and Renaissance, but also those of tradition: the myriad festivals, both religious and secular, tournaments of ancient origin, and carnivals. Here there is a long standing tradition of a people who have remained attached to their roots and who have passed them down through time, trasforming them into resources for family tourism and to offer services for conference-tourism.

Finally, there are no words to describe the marvelous food and wine of the area. The cuisine  of Emilia with its filled pasta dishes (tortellini, lasagna) and its cold meats, and Tuscan dishes of meat or game with wines from the Florentine or Umbrian Hills. A stay in this region is a tribute to beauty, in every sense.

 

The old fashioned spirit of Emilia Romagna    

 

Bologna, the regional capital of Emilia Romagna, is an inimitable city. The old town with the unmistakable brick-red color of the buildings, is one of the best preserved in Europe and the largest in Italy after Venezia. The city has an ancient, welcoming centre, with a succession of arcades (40 kilometers long) where people meet, shop or simply stroll; here, you can discover medieval streets, squares, beautiful monuments (for example, St. Petronio, St. Domenico, Santa Maria dei Servi), towers (Garisenda and Asinelli) and districts with evocative names. Bologna, of course, also has a modern, European spirit, found in the thousands of companies, service industries and highly-modern facilities, the result of a work-ethic typical of the Po Plain. What makes Bologna really unique is its special skill in welcoming visitors, which it exerts with great pleasure at all hours of the day. It has 400,000 inhabitants, is situated on the main rail and road networks and has an international airport; it has grown up around a highly intense trade-fair and conference industry (with events such as Motorshow, Futurshow and the Interna­tional Children’s Book Fair). Serving this industry are hotel facilities of sizeable proportions and plenty of service structures. There are good facilities, in fact, in the whole region and in its cities of art: Byzantine Ravenna first of all, and Parma, which well deserves the great reputation it enjoys because of its artistic riches and the opulence of its gastronomie tradition (Parma ham and Parmesan cheese); then there’s Modena, with its extraordinary works of Romanesque-Gothic art and Ferrara, the city of the Este family, and the so-called little capitals: towns such as Carpi, Mirandola and Cor­reggio, which were the seat of great lords, whose deep cultural heritage they have preserved. And, of course, there’s Rimini and the Romagna region, names associated with the image of fun and leisure. Here, they dance, spend time on the beach, go to night-clubs and discos, make friends, hardly ever sleep and devote themselves to the good life. The Romagna coastline is not just beaches, parties and discos, however. People work in Rimini, as they do in Riccione and Cesenatico. They come here for business, meetings, work-appointments, conferences and trade-fairs. The welcome is superb and the accommodation limitless. And why is Rimini perfect for all this? Because it has ideal spaces for working and wide horizons for relaxing. In Rimini, groups of people, both large and small, can exchange ideas, have serious debates and conventions and this has made it famous throughout the world, not just the fact that it is a seaside town with a great night-life. There are centers for conferences (like the Palacongressi, one of the largest in Italy), meetings, trade-fairs (a lot of activity goes on with meetings linked especially to the entertain­ment industry, like the Sib, the International Show of Technology for Discotheques), and exhibitions all along the coastline. Then there are the hotels, the well equipped conference centers and the organizations that serve conference-tourism. Meeting in Romagna is always a pleasure: even when it’s for work.

INFO

Regione Emilia Romagna Assessorato al Turismo

Viale Moro 64,40127 Bologna

Tel. 01139 051 283353-283006

www.emilia-romagna.it

 

Convention Bureau della Riviera di Romagna

Via della Fiera 52,47900 Rimini

Tel. 01139 0541 71150

www.riminiconvention.it

 

Toscana: a trip through time    

 

A magic charm to conjure up a journey through time right to the heart of Italian art and history, Humanism and the Renaissance: a conference organized in Toscana and in Firenze is the for­mula to trigger off this magic spell. The moment of magic, for the conference-visitor to Firenze, arrives when he or she has finished the day’s con­ference business and becomes a simple tourist. The city is a marvelous open-air museum. The old city centre is very close to the conference and trade-fair venues (there are three main ones: the Palazzo dei Congressi, Palazzo degli Affari and the Fortezza da Basso, where large conventions devoted above all to fashion and, every year, to the International Conference Tourism Exchange are held). It appears as a lively, bright stage with a backdrop made up of the Renaissance architecture of noble palaces, squares and churches. Throughout the year, the evenings and nights in Firenze are filled with top-quality musical and theatre events. However, it is impossible to resist the temptation to start the evening by paying tribute to the delicates of Florentine cuisine and its splendid wines. The area around the city, on every side, is overflowing with wonders: the Mugello, Versilia, with its mild climate, its landscapes, and the prestigious events taking place all through the year, highly suitable as adjuncts to business tourism. Then there’s Lucca, surrounded by city-walls and, close by, the beautiful Serchio valley, an area set deep in the peaceful, green country-side, with hotels and sporting facilities that guarantee first class services and a respect for the environment. And there’s more: Pisa and its amazingly beautiful main square, the pinewoods of the Maremma and the Tyrrhenian coast, Arezzo, the medieval towers of San Gimignano, the Chianti area designed by the hand of man, as if it were a Leonardo landscape, Siena with its “contrade”, the great spa centres like Chianciano and Montecatini, with excellently equipped modern facilities and a wide choice of hotel accommodation. Even the shortest excursion offers a pleasantly unexpected treasure as a prize. In Firenze and in Toscana, therefore, a meeting or a conference can offer infinite and exciting temptations.

 

 

INFO

Firenze Convention Bureau

Guardiola del Pratello Orsini, 50123 Firenze

Tel. 01139 055 4973201

www.conventionbureau.it  

 

Convention Bureau Chianciano Terme

Via Sabatini 7, 53042 Chianciano Terme (SI)

Tel. 01139 0578 63037

 

Convention Bureau Serchio

Piazza Guidiccioni 2, 55100 Lucca

Tel  01139 0583 919928

www.conventionbureaulu.it

 

Versilia Convention Bureau

Viale Marconi 30, 55049 Viareggio (LU)

Tel.01139 0584 407707,

www.viareggiocongress.com

 

Convention Bureau di Montecatini Terme

Via delle Sallne 88, 51016 Montecatini Terme (PT)

Tel. 01139 0572 72019

 

      

The Marche, the terrace overlooking the Adriatic sea    

 There’s one city where the culture of hospitality has solid, long-established roots, and where the sun rises and sets over the sea. This is Ancona, the magnificent queen of the mid-Adriatic, the dynamic port of Europe and a city where ancient and modern live together admirably. It is a cosmopolitan city and continues to be the meeting point of peoples and cultures. It offers a cocktail of art, history, culture, sport and tourism, including conference-tourism and tourism connected to trade-fair activities (the International Fishing Trade-fair is held in Ancona annually). The land­scape of the region, too, is an interesting mixture full of opportunities for attractive post-conven­tion itineraries: the charming, gentle hills covered in woods, vines, castles and old villages evoking a thousand-year-old history. The sea, 170 kilometers of coastline from San Benedetto del Tronto to the Conero riviera, from Fano to Porto San Giorgio, passing through Porto Sant’Elpidio and Senigallia, supplies emotions and perfumes, reflections and colors. Then there are mountains: the Sybilline mountains, the Maga Alcina, Mounts Nerone and Carpegna, and the Cingoli woods, the “balcony of the Marche”, are an unforgettable sight. The wild beauty of the place, among beech-woods and mountain streams, catches the imagination and invites you to taste the pleasures of country walks and mountain rambles.

INFO

Regione Marche - Assessorato al Turismo

Via Gentile da Fabriano 9, 60100 Ancona

Tel. 01139 071 8062284

www.marcheworldwide.org

 

 

 

 

Umbria, the green heart of the italian peninsula    

 

 

The fusion of modernity and tradition, the development of efficient services and an atmosphere unique in the world: a conference in Umbria offers this wonderful opportunity Umbria is the land of St. Francis of Assisi, rich in history, art and culture, and the green heart of Italy, an oasis of peace and tranquility, of good food and good wine, according to ancient culinary traditions.

Umbria is also the setting of great historical, cultural and show-business events: the most important jazz festival in Europe, the commemoration of the Calendimaggio at Assisi and the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds) at Spoleto. Umbria has ninety-two municipal boroughs and medieval towns set deep in an evoca­tive rural landscape. It is an area primarily of hills and uplands, with unifying characteristics despite the variety and complexity of its morphology. The highest points rarely go above 1,500 meters and belong to the main chain of the Central Apennines. The important features of the area are, therefore, the natural beauties of the landscape, its great artistic and cultural traditions and the modernity of its economic and road structures, where tourism, including that linked to meetings and conventions, finds a highly satisfactory welcome. The main town, Perugia, has many historic remains and today, because of its strategic position with regard to routes of communication, it has a strong tendency towards the tertiary sector, particularly to the business of trade-fairs and conferences. However, there are other centers that offer equally strong attractions for tourists and as venues for conferences. Assisi, first of all, is a compulsory stop for international tourists, because of its characteristic medieval urban plan­ning and its traces of St. Francis and St. Clare; the wonderful Basilicas dedicated to these two saints continue to charm the visitor even now. Added to this, there are the variety and convenience of the accommodation and the art of hospitality which the citizens have developed over more than seven centuries of energetic cordiality in welcoming pilgrims and tourists. Then we have Todi, Gubbio, Spoleto and Orvieto, which rises up on a tufaceous plateau with very steep walls and dominates the countryside from a position of exceptional beauty; this unusual town is full of the fascination, almost impalpable, of times long gone, harking back to its Etruscan, Medieval and Renaissance past, but yet still lively enough to make a mark on the present day.

INFO

Convention Bureau Assisi

Via Perosi 23,06081 Assisi (PG)

Tel  01139 075 8155127

www.assisicongress.com

 

Orvieto Convention Bureau

Palazzo del Popolo Centro Congressi

Piazza del Popolo, 05018 Orvieto (TR)

Tel. 01139 0763 344644

www.comune.orvieto.tr.it

 

 

Between Roma and Napoli: colors in the history of Italy    

 

In order to narrate the history of Italy you just have to say Roma: the caput mundi of the Romans, the Eternal City, the cradle of Christianity, and the treasure-house of innumerable works of art. And to describe a certain Italian quality, you just have to say Napoli: music, the sea, the faces of the children and the women. Enclosed within these two extremes, the solemnity of History (with a capital H) and the every-day happenings recounted in tales, is everything that can be said about this part of Italy, which we can define, with geographers’ terminology, as the Centre-South. The three regions, Lazio, Campania and nearby Abruzzo, can offer, as well as lots of natural and artistic beauties, a recent, rediscovered capacity for welcoming visitors, with a particular eye to conference-tourism, based on modern, efficient facilities, functional services and convenient and punctual transport-systems. People come here, however, mainly to take a trip through the events of men going back a thousand years, to plunge into areas that never cease to amaze with their variety of faces. Lazio is the area around Roma, and it has lots to tell the tourist, with its countryside made up of volcanic lakes, mountains, vines and precious olive groves testifying to the domination of the Etruscans and the epic period of the Romans. Campania is the region surrounding Napoli. It has green plains that stretch out towards Santa Maria Capua Vetere, mountain areas around the Benevento district and the rough, wooded lrpinia area.Then there is the Amalfi coast which never fails to enchant Italian and foreign visitors alike with its astonishing beauty, and Capri, Ischia, Procida, the jewels of the gulf of Napoli. Finally, Abruzzo, dominated by the Apennines, is a region of large natural parks, a harsh land with mountains that form a backdrop to little towns of medieval origin. This is the gateway to the Italian South, a land to be discovered and to be loved, beyond the stereotypes and the clichés.

 

 

Lazio and the eternal city   

 

One of the aspects where Roma’s inclination to be a great international capital manifests itself is the growth in its facilities, coinciding with events of worldwide importance, and its development of new services especially in the tourist and confer­ence sectors. In this way, Roma proves to be highly modern and multi-functional. By combining elegance and quality of services, it has become the ideal venue for conferences, meetings, conventions, seminars, concerts, theatrical events, exhibitions and shows. In 2000 Latium, and Roma in particular, was host to the highest percentage of conference and meetings taking place on Italian soil. All this is set in a marvelous city that has no equal in the world, with classical, medieval, baroque and modern architecture. Michelangelo, Bernini, and Borromini. Squares, fountains, gardens, bridges, museums and churches. And then there are the palaces, the embassies, the many places for meetings, politics, business, diplomacy and, in St. Peter’s, the heart of Christianity. Roma really is the caput mundi. Its unusual quality lies in the fact that it can bewitch the visitor just in the space of a few moments. Even without having a precise goal, the tourist can savor Roma walking around it, following very personal itineraries, and stopping to admire even the things that no guide mentions: a little, unexplored square, a hidden courtyard, or the treasures in a tiny museum. We see from this that Roma has a lot of valid things to offer tourists for business, trade-fairs and conferences. Having satisfied one’s hunger for archaeology, for Renaissance and Baroque art, what one needs is to relax in natural surroundings. And you do not have to go far in Roma: the hills of the Castelli are just a stone’s throw away, but there are wide, green spaces (among the largest in Europe) within the urban confines of Roma, too. And what about opportunities for leisure activities? Exhibitions, concerts, great cultural events and shows can fill up the evenings of guests and conference-goers with a style which is only possible in Roma, perhaps accompanied by a thrilling encounter with good food and wine. This is an aspect where Roma is well known to be really unique.

And the same is true for the whole of the Latium region. We have already noted the Castelli, a real oasis of peace, good cuisine, and excellent wines on the outskirts of the city. We should not forget the natural beauties of the Bolsena, Vico and Bracciano lakes - volcanic basins set deep in woods in the area around Viterbo, a city which was a papal seat in the Middle Ages and which still has valuable artistic reminders of those times. The real jewel of nature here, however, is the Circeo National Park, south of Roma on a stretch of coastline that is deservedly one of the most famous on the Tyrrhenian sea.

INFO

Regione Lazio - Assessorato al Turismo

Via Colombo 212,00147 Roma

Tel.01139 06 51684130

www.regione.lazio.it

 

 

Abruzzo, among parks, sea and towns    

Everyone finds something interesting to see and do in Abruzzo. The region holds a certain fascination for all, and in particular, it offers a wide range of possibilities and activities aimed at young people, at those who love the country, mountains with their rock-faces, rivers and the gentle seashore. It also offers a range of services to welcome visitors and facilities that will satisfy even the most particular requirements of those who have to organize a work-conference or a company convention.

Abruzzo’s tourist image is inextricably linked to the landscape and particularly to the parks. The presence of the National Park has given the region a profile that is definitely positive, but often too reductive: according to a recent survey, 72% of Italian tourists associate Abruzzo with the idea of the National Park. Fine..., but it doesn’t stop there, because Abruzzo also contains a remarkable variety of environments, sites, landscapes and architecture to be discovered. This region has a lot to offer: first of all, the quality of its tourist facilities, which are becoming more and more numerous and more and more efficient. They are aimed at a public with diverse needs and who, in most cases, no longer want a long holiday but preferably short, frequent periods for relaxation or who come to this area seeing it as a venue for business meetings and conferences, and being able to combine easily their technical requirements for services with the beauties of the natural surroundings. The landscape itself is a collection of various features ranging from the rocky coast high above the sea to the well-equipped, sandy beaches, and from the loneliest mountains to the lively little towns frequented by tourists in winter. This is a landscape that has been shaped by nature but also by the hand of men, as can be seen in the many little medieval villages set on mountainous plateau, often dominating hilly areas with their vines and extensive olive-groves opening up almost unexpectedly and stretching as far as the eye can see. And finally, there are the hermitages, sometimes almost dug out of the rock, places of worship in which the feeling of Christian faith is smoothly interwoven with pagan rites and legends. This is Abruzzo: landscape, history, art, traditions and above all, the countryside, a countryside that is loved and protected.

INFO

Regione Abruzzo Assessorato al Turismo

Viale Bovio 425,65100 Pescara

Tel. 01139 085 7671

www.regione.abruzzo.it

 

 

The faces of Napoli and Campania    

 

Everybody knows Napoli, because it is much more than a city: Napoli is a color, or rather, a thousand colors. It is a sound, or rather a symphony. It is a smell, or rather a whole concert of smells. Napoli is a child’s face, the spectacle of a glorious and difficult past, the memory of lives and journeys intertwining, between the joy that explodes and the grief that becomes scornful irony. In the past few years, Napoli has experienced a genuine rebirth; it has rediscovered its beauties and restored them to the sight of visitors; it has rejected the bad part of its tradition which sees it just as pizzas, mandolins and “O sole mio”.  It has also discovered that it is a really great city for conferences.

Over three hundred well-equipped rooms are the proof of the readiness of Napoli and Campania to receive visitors and its great ability to meet any requirements of business tourism and of tourism linked to conferences and conventions or to great trade-fair events (with the facilities of the Overseas Exhibition).

The rediscovery of Napoli is the result not only of the return to the roots of its beauty, but also of the relaunching and the retrieval of entrepreneurial skills supplying suitable facilities. Napoli has today returned to being a real capital of the modern world and to offering its unrivalled setting with pride. Stretching out between the Phlegraean Fields and the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, with an exceptional artistic, archaeological and architectural heritage in its old city centre, surrounded by other tourist resorts that are just as splendid (from Capri to Ischia, from Pompeii to Positano and from Sorrento to Amalfi), Napoli is really the ideal framework for conference events and incentive travel.

The city, however, reveals only a small number of the thousand faces of the region of Campania, which has lots to offer the tourist, and not just on the coast. We need only think of Caserta and the splendid eighteenth-century royal palace of the Bourbons, of the towns on the Capua plain with their archaeological and artistic treasures, of Benevento and Sant’Agata dei Goti, of the harsh, tormented beauty of the Cilento area and its lit­tle villages perched on the mountains, and of Paestum and the ruins of the ancient town, with temples that are among the best preserved from Greek civilization.

INFO

Napoli Convention Bureau

Centro direzionale Isola E/6,80143 Napoli

Tel. 01139 081 2250239

www.napoliconventionbureau.it

 

 

The South, the terrace overlooking the Mediterranean    

 

The palette of colours which an imaginary painter should use to paint the regions of southern Italy is almost infinite: there is blue, for a sea that is so beautiful that it couldn’t be possible anywhere else; there is the white of the rocks, the cliffs and the sandy beaches; there’s the green of the woods, the Sil­ver of the olive-groves, the yellow of the clay; and there’s the bright red of the sky at sunset...

This is the South of Italy, like a large terrace looking out onto the Mediterranean. A land oozing with a depressing history and past events, but redeemed by a generous, unending countryside, the ideal place for all types of tourism, including conference-tourism which has, in recent years, been discovering more and more these wonderful areas as the places to choose for all types of meetings. In the South, in fact, hotel facilities and supporting services for conferences have been qualitatively and quantitatively improving over the past few years. Puglia is a frontier land: it plunges into the Adriatic and stretches into the lonian Sea, with alternating wild landscapes and fabulous beaches, the white houses of country dwellers and monuments filled with his­tory, art and Baroque charm. It is a land where pilgrims and Crusaders passed on their way to conquer Jerusalem, then it came under the con­trol of the Hohenstaufens, and the region of Puglia, still today, wears the austerity of its past like a shell inside which beats a cheerful heart with a strong sense of hospitality. The gastronomic tradition is a galaxy of spectacular colors. Calabria, the long peninsula between the Tyrrhenian and the lonian Seas, is the southernmost end of Italy. It has maintained over the ages its almost virgin quality, next to the extraordinary beautiful, crystal-clear sea. The Sila, the “great forest of Italy” offers unforgettable glimpses of a pristine, unpolluted environment. Basilicata is also a jewel in its own right, but consisting of stronger colour contrasts, where the green of the woods and the yel­low of the eroded land mark the changes from fertile soil to arid soil, from lush countryside to quasi-lunar landscapes. Enchanting scenery, artistic beauty, incomparable flavors and smells: the South of Italy has much to discover, with its warm hospitality, ready to welcome all those who come here on holiday or for work.

  

Puglia, a trip through fabulous colors    

 

Puglia has in recent years become one of the motive-forces in the development of the South of Italy. Its growth is now recognised at all levels and has involved the development of facilities for tourism and conferences, starting from the pro­motion of the natural beauties of this region. A trip to discover Puglia and all its complex layers of aesthetic and symbolic dimensions, will offer the opportunity and the pretext for an unusual game of discovery, in the colors magically generated by the light. The only rule of the game, to appreciate the natural and cultural beauties of this land as if they were magnificent jewels, is to allow oneself to be guided by intuition, by the magic and the charm which conjure up myriad emotions and passions suggested by the colors. From churches to castles, from old town-centers to rural architecture, from the seashores to the culinary specialties, the warm Mediterranean temperament mingles with “visions” of a region rich in tradition and culture.

For example, with brilliant white, Puglia expresses the most intimate sense of its own history. There is white in the salt-works, which are an important part of Puglia’s tradition, and also in the stone used for cathedrals and castles. Red, the color of fire, evokes vividness and warmth; it is an indescribable force with an incomprehensible power that appears in the sunsets, in the delightfully round grapes and in the wine. And the yellow of the sun, when it sends out its most intense rays, reminds us of the yellow ears of wheat.

Puglia is also a green region. The olive tree is silver green and a lot of green can be found in the extensive woods of the Gargano area which, as a whole, make up the Umbra Forest, a natural heritage site of great importance that extends over more than 15,000 hectares and which was acquired as State forestry property, more than 130 years ago.

Finally, our ideal trip finishes at the deep blue of the Puglia sea, where, according to mythological tradition, the war heroes of ancient Troy sailed, in one single color that describes the whole essence of the area.

Tourism for Puglia is now a primary sector of the economy. Especially in recent years, the holiday and leisure industry has gained ground and is becoming more and more widespread. It could be said that the sector, with all its induced business, is in continual growth.

The new products on offer, such as conference and business tourism, are today well-established. Starting from the centre at Bari and from its trade-fair activity (hinging on the Levant Trade-fair - Fiera del Levante), this trend is growing and involving thousands of hotels, clustered mainly in the Gargano and Salento Adriatic coastal areas, representing a new breakthrough in this sector in Italy.

 

INFO

Regione Puglia Assessorato al Turismo

Via Bozzi 45/C, 70126 Bari

Tel.01139 080 5401111,

www.regione.puglia.it

 

 

Basilicata, a gem hidden between two seas    

 

If they were given a geography test on the subject of Basilicata, the majority of Italians would fail it. If they tried to say exactly where Basilicata is, and indicate it on an atlas, few would be able to find it at the first attempt, since few know exactly where it is. And yet in this region, which is so lovely but still so little known, the tourism resource is becoming an important source of income, and so too is conference-tourism. This can take advantage of all the various facilities for welcoming visitors, with the usual Italian high quality tourist features, as well as the splen­did views and numerous places for post-conven­tion trips. The lovely town of Maratea, which rises up in a wood and fades away into a bright sea set between two cliffs, is situated here, in Lucania (this is the old name for the region - the only region in Italy which has two names). The castle at Melfi, the beloved, favourite residence of Frederick II, still dominates and rules over the town today, from its rocky position on the hill; it is one of the jewels of this area. Then there’s Matera, a “one-off”, a town dug out of the rock, the tormented symbol in a lonely landscape, of a region which was until a few decades ago, very poor and abandoned, isolated from the rest of the world. The Basentana national highway (SS 407), a modern road joining the mountains to the valleys, has finally given Matera the freedom to welcome visitors.

In Basilicata, it must be said, there is everything. On the one hand the sea, or rather, two seas: Maratea looks out onto the Tyrrhenian and Metaponto spreads out into the lonian; and there are mountains, hills and valleys, woods, rivers, small lakes. And don’t forget the mountain gorges, the Rocks of Matera, and the settlements, some of which date back to 800 years before Christ and which have been declared a “heritage of mankind”.

 

INFO

Regione Basilicata Assessorato al Turismo

Via Anzio 44,85100 Potenza

Tel. 01139 0971 448647

www.regione.basilicata.it

 

 

Calabria, facing the blue sea    

 

If those who have to organize a company meet­ing, a conference or a convention are looking for unforgettable scenery, they should choose Ca­labria. This region at the extreme southern end of the Italian peninsula, is an area of great variety. The landscape ranges from the mountains of the Aspromonte and the Sila to the crystal-clear sea, with cities that are quite different from each other.

Even the beaches are different one from another: sometimes sandy and suitable for sunbathing, sometimes rugged with rocks suitable for diving or underwater swimming. Calabria has an ancient Mediterranean civilization and is the primitive place from which the whole Italian peninsula takes its name. Calabria, in fact, was at first called Italia, in honour of its king, Italo. The archaeological works range from prehistoric to the settle­ments of the Bruzi, the indigenous people, up to the great age of Magna Grecia. Calabria still has important visible signs of these eras, which were fundamental to European history and culture. For example, there are the excavations at Sibari, Roccelletta di Borgia, Locri and in the various museums. The Romans, Goths, Lombards, Byzantines, Normans, Swabians, the Angevins and the Aragonese have all left architectural expressions of great cultural and artistic significance in the region. Exploiting its natural beauties and the abundance of historical and archaeological treasures (we need only think of the famous Riace Bronzes), Calabria, Europe’s terrace on the Mediterranean, has discovered its tourist vocation in recent years.

It has venues and hotel accommodation for conference tourism as well, and offers high quality services in a delightful area, which will also be appreciated for its recreation and leisure activities, as well as its good food and wine.

INFO

Regione Calabria Assesorato al Turismo

Via San Nicola 8, 88100 Catanzaro

Tel 01139 0961 741724

www.regionecalabria.it

 

 

 

Sardegna and Sicilia: the large islands with their mysteries    

 

Organizing a conference often involves organizing a vacation, too: the periods of work, for conference-goers, need to be followed by necessary periods of relaxing and leisure. This is why the Italian islands represent an opportunity that it is hard to beat, and not just because of the beauty of the natural surroundings.

A veil of mystery shrouds the two large islands in the Mediterranean, Sardegna and Sicilia; they are situated there, in the middle of the great stretch of blue, as if crowning the Italian peninsula.

The mystery comes from the mythology, which touches the history and is interwoven with the folklore and traditions. For instance, they tell of how Neptune, god of the sea, when he wanted to give his children, the Cyclops, a gift, did not hesitate, but gave them Sicilia, a splendid land surrounded by water, unknown to men and to the other gods. And among the legends surrounding the most ancient part of Sardegna’s history, linked to the Nuraghic settlements, there are those that tell stories of the Domus de Janas,  fairies’ or witches’ houses, dug out of the rock in the mountain-walls in often inaccessible places. However, beyond the imaginative fantasies woven by tradition, Sicilia and Sardegna are an absolutely extraordinary part of Italy. In Sicilia, nature seems to want to show off, with the spectacular lava flows and the snows of Mount Etna, the scorching sun on the coast, the luxuriant gardens, the inaccessible mountains, the cornfields and the dunes. In Sardegna, what stands out most is the marvelous sea, the cleanest in Italy: the rugged coasts and the breathtaking views are its  unmistakable characteristics, making the island one of the most popular tourist resorts, even among  Italians themselves. Sardegna and Sicilia are linked together by a common history, with the succession of rules and invasions that have left deep traces in the towns, the monuments, the traditions and even in the language. For instance, they have both been subjected to Arab and Spanish influences (to take one of the more obvious examples). Beaches, mountains, villages and lovely towns: in this “world apart” comprising the large Italian islands, it’s nice to think of getting lost by immersing oneself in the mystery of its never-ending beauty.

  

Sicilia, a universe of beauty and memory    

 

“     Without seeing Sicilia, you cannot have an idea of Italy: and in Sicilia you find the key to every-thing”, as Johann Wolfgang Goethe wrote from Palermo on 13lh April 1787 when he was on his first trip to Italy in search of the roots of western culture. And it is true: it is the largest island in the Mediterranean and the largest region in Italy, and it is a magnificent area, where natural beauties merge with the works of art of the many peoples who have lived there: Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Swabians, Aragonese, and Spanish. In this region, you can find not just natural scenery but also the facilities, the large halls, and the big hotels to stage really successful conference-events. This tip of Italy is a whole continent by itself. Within the radius of just a few kilometers, the landscape suddenly changes, from barren hills to green grasslands, from fields covered in snow to white, sandy beaches. No other country has so many faces, and the same contrasts can be seen in the population. The mix of civilizations brought about by historical events, has shaped, little by lit­tle, the Sicilian temperament, a mixture of snow and fire.

With its 25,460 square kilometers, Sicilia is also administratively responsible for the numerous islands nearby: the Eolie (Vulcano, Lipari, Sallna, Panarea, Stromboli, Fillcudi, and Allcudi), Ustica, the Egadi (Levanzo, Favignana and Maret-timo), the Pelagie (Lampedusa and Linosa) and Pantelleria.

To put it another way, it might be said that Sicilia is shaped like a large triangle, which is where its Greek name, Trinacria, or “the land of the three points”, comes from. Its three sides correspond to three types of region (“of which you could say that they deliberately turn their backs on one another, with one looking towards the Tyrrhenian, the second towards the sea of Africa and the third towards to the lonian”, as one writer has pointed out).

The north coast is bordered with mountains lining the Tyrrhenian shores from Messina to Termini Imerese (near Palermo). The line is formed by the Peloritani mountains, made of ancient granite rock, like those of the Aspromonte on the other side of the Strait. The Nebrodi, or the Caronie mountains, and finally the Madonie, some of whose peaks are 2000 meters high, complete the long chain which surrounds the Tyrrhenian Sea, passing through the Italian mainland, Corsica and Sardegna.

These rocky massifs, cut through by streams (sometimes dangerous ones, too, when they burst their banks after the heavy rains), extend as far as Palermo; they surround the Conca d’Oro and encircle the city.

The east coast looks towards Greece and includes two large volcanic formations: Mounts Iblei and Etna, around the Catania Plain. The latter is 3323 meters high and dominates the whole area; on fine days its snowy white cone can be seen tens of kilometers away. It is the highest and most important volcano in Europe and one of the most active of earth. Finally, the south coast faces towards Africa and is rather similar to it, with the limestone hills and semi desert uplands, which are the main features of the Sicilian landscape inland.

Tourism is naturally a centre-stage player in the Sicilian economy and it continues to develop strongly. The region offers interesting attractions for conference-tourism, too, and not just in its natural and artistic treasures. The conference centers are growing, and the large hotels equipped to receive conference-visitors are being given better facilities, in particular in the provinces of Palermo, Messina (with resorts such as Taormina where conference-business is very intense) and Catania. Trade-fair activity is also being developed, with important events in Palermo ( the Mediterranean Trade-Fair) and in Messina. This is another way to discover a region unlike any other in the world.

INFO

Azienda Autonoma Provinciale per l’Incremento Turistico

Piazza Castelnuovo 35,

90100 Palermo

Tel 01139 091 6058111

www.aapit.pa.it

 

 

Sardegna, the echoes of a thousand-year-old history    

 

There is a survey carried out with deep scientific seriousness, which analyses tourist-preferences all around the world and defines Sardegna as “leader in the collective set of images”. This means that when a tourist thinks of an ideal vacation, he thinks mainly of Sardegna. And it is true that the sea of this Mediterranean island (second only to nearby Sicilia in size) is among the most beautiful and clear to be seen in the whole world. “This land”, wrote D.H. Lawrence, “is like no other place” and the writer Marcello Serra gave one of his books the title Sardegna, quasi un continente (“Sardegna, almost a continent”).

Sardegna today is a perfectly structured and well-equipped destination for work-meetings, lectures, and conferences.

This serves to emphasise the uniqueness of the Sardegna landscape and the profound differences between the different parts of the island. The sea is, without any doubt, the most impor­tant resource for tourism in Sardegna, but visitors are also attracted by other aspects. For one thing, there are the traces of its very ancient his­tory (as witnessed by the various Nuraghic settlements, like the Barumini complex and the Losa nuraghe, a small pre-Roman fortress at Abbasanta in the Oristano area) and then the numerous large towns, from Alghero to the capital, Cagliari, and Oristano, right down to the many small towns which abound there. These are today considered as natural and cultural “resources of the area”: the environment and the history, the popular celebrations and festivals, the food and the wine, handicrafts and modern production activity; there is everything to interest the most assiduous visitor.

But for some time now, when we talk of Sardegna, we don’t just limit ourselves the concept of vacations, the wonderful sea and the unspoilt countryside.

The main centre of this business is the trade-fair area of Cagliari, with a large Conference Centre, alongside a thriving exhibition activity (with important events such as the International Sardegna Trade-fair) and lots of conferences and conventions. However, conference activity is also growing fast in the typical seaside resorts on the Emerald Coast and on the other coasts of Sardegna, where clients can be offered accommodation, generally in large, luxury hotels with modern facilities for welcoming visitors and interesting programs for leisure time after the con­ference.        

 

INFO

Regione Sardegna Assessorato al Turismo

Viale Trieste 105,09123 Cagliari

Tel. 01139 070 606280

www.regione.sardegn

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