In Italy, the month of June brought many new things. We were among the first to open the borders to European countries and to restore travel between regions without mandatory self-certification to circulate. By the end of the month, with a few small exceptions, we should see the return to the total reopening of the Schengen area. From July 1st, the European Union will open its borders to tourists from 15 countries, but not to travelers from the United States, Brazil or Russia.
Of course, the entire tourism sector (13% of the national GDP) is doing everything it can to recover, at least in part, during an increasingly disappointing season, but we need to be sure that vacation travelers want to visit (contrasted with business trips, congresses and company meetings). In this case, beyond the desire for normality, the desire to enrich their professional experience and refine their skillsis there.
Our main clientele has always been that of leisure tourism, but in the last two years we have often faced, with more than satisfactory results, with the MICE sector and among these experiences, the one I remember with the most pleasureconcerns a small group coming from the Netherlands. It was necessary to accompany some Dutch managers in search of the “perfect” location where to organize their Neapolitan corporate event.
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Leading the unusual little group was Iris De Brouwer, a Dutch writer/teacher/blogger, in love with Naples thanks to the excellent work done by her husband, Peppe Renzuto Iodice, a proud Neapolitan who, after 12 years in Holland, returned with his family to his beloved city.Their aim was to share the beauty and deep culture of Naples.
Obviously, there is no lack of stereotypes on either side and I must confess that even the I, while waiting for them with the name sign at the airport, was expecting the classic business executives, all strutting around and clothed, with that cold and detached approach that is often (mistakenly) associated with Northern European people. What I found instead, of course, was a very nice group, eager to discover all the hidden beauties of our beautiful city.
The first stop was Villa Volpicelli, a historical residence located in the famous Posillipo district. There is historical evidence of the Villa since 1629, in the view of Naples by the engraver Baratta but its current name was “only” taken in 1884, when it was purchased for the modest sum of fifty-one thousand lire by the Neapolitan nobleman Raffele Volpicelli. Today the residence is famous not only for its splendid hanging gardens, but also for hosting the outdoor filming of the famous Neapolitan soap opera “Un posto al Sole” (A Place in the Sun) and renamed Villa Palladini for the occasion.
The second location was Villa Lucia, a former Bourbon residence in Pompeian style located in the heart of the Vomero hills. Born as a place of prayer for Benedictine fathers at the end of the 16th century, it was completely renovated in 1816 by the court architect Antonio Niccoliniat the behest of Ferdinand IV. A picturesque view of the Gulf of Naples is not easy to get to, with a road full of hairpin bends so narrow that practically every 50 meters we had to stop and check that our van did not hit or slip into the 19th century canals used for rainwater runoff.
The next day we were on to a beautiful vineyard on the slopes of Vesuvius, famous for the production of Lacryma Cristi. After a pleasant walk through the vineyards, the excursion ended on the splendid terrace where we had a light lunch and various wine tastings (unfortunately, only water for the driver).
The last stop of the day was Michele Iodice’s art gallery in the Sanitàdistrict, where the famous Neapolitan artist set up a sculpture workshop with hundreds of works of art in a former 19th century tuff quarry.
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