Happiness Makers of Italy – Authenticity and Tradition Are Key
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Italian Travel companies center on creating happiness for their guests
Authenticity and sharing traditions are at the heart of creating long-lasting happiness and memories that travelers will bring back home after their trip to Italy. This year at the TTG Travel Experience I found companies in Italy looking to create joy in travel. The TTG Travel Experience is a B2B travel fair held every year at the Rimini Fiera. This year it had over 2500 exhibitors and 75,000 visitors. I was one of the 300 bloggers invited for the Meet Your Blogger event held Thursday, Oct 11, 2018.
Walking into the TTG Travel Experience the international travel expo, colorful light displays and striking photos of luxurious destinations entice travel buyers, tour operators, and journalists to visit the booths to learn about the destinations and hopefully do business together.
I walked into the Italy pavilion and the first thing I saw was one of the seminar-workshops in action. A stage in front of a multiscreen display and an audience of about 100 people were intently listening to a speaker. What struck me, in particular, was the huge picture of a smiling woman and the title “A happy customer is a returning customer.” The speaker was Giada Cipoletta, expert in content marketing and digital strategies and author of the book Customer Experience: fai marketing di valorenell’eradell’esperienza. She was explaining how our behavior – a gesture as simple as a smile can change and make a difference. She went on to explain that the experience of a product or service starts from the very first contact whether it be in person, an email or telephone call. Our actions and words have an important impact on the customer.
As I explored more of the expo, I realized that there was an undercurrent in the sea of B2B networking; HAPPINESS is trending!
It became clear to me, that not only style and luxury are being offered, but the value of creating joy and wellness for the visitor is becoming a priority. It’s something that goes beyond good customer service and a nice place to stay. Authenticity and sharing traditions are at the heart of creating long-lasting happiness and memories that travelers will bring back home from their trip to Italy.
The Apulia region
Cultivate positive and rewarding experiences
Maurizio Testa and associates of Artès
I talked with Maurizio Testa of Artès Experiential Tours who explained the happiness curve. “During a tour, a guest is usually already happy – they are on holiday and doing something new, which is in itself already fun and exciting. It’s our job as guides and travel companions to keep that enthusiasm active during the tour. Happiness has two aspects; a temporary short-lived feeling and a long-term lasting feeling. The temporary feeling of euphoria and excitement can quickly decline if the deeper aspect of happiness is not nurtured. What we aim to cultivate is a more profound aspect of happiness, which is a longer lasting feeling that comes from an understanding of the culture and the joy of a positive and rewarding experience. We want to leave the guest with a lasting memory and a story to share with their friends and family.”
Experiences with Artès:
Become a Knight for a day and save a village. With a bicycle as your horse, you will have the opportunity to take some great photos, pick fruit and enjoy the amazing landscape of Valdorcia.
Become a lemon and limoncello sommelier and ambassador of the Amafli Coast in Vietri su Mare, Salerno.
Tradition and authenticity are key to creating a memorable travel experience
The Molise region
L’Olio di Flora
Michelino Lucarelli of La Piana dei Mulini in Molise holds up a tray of freshly cut bread drizzled with golden olive oil as if it were a holy offering. “Taste this!” he insists. Before I put the slice in my mouth, he stops me, “Smell it!” I dutifully follow his instructions and get a nose full of earthy olive aroma. Both my eyebrows raise as I eat. “Mmmm!” is all I can say with my mouth full. He says “That is the fragrance of my land!” There’s a video running on a flat screen tv showing men and women working in a field. Another scene shows women and children crafting handmade carpets, there’s a scene of a local festival followed by pictures of romantic farmhouses that have been converted into hotels and guest houses. Michelino said, “We are hardworking people and we love sharing our traditions.” Smiling, his colleague adds “These are real events, we didn’t set it up for the video – we really do these things!” Tradition and authenticity are key to creating an experience for visitors to Molise.
The women from the Masseria Chicco Rizzo were wearing their traditional dresses and singing folk songs as I approached the booth (main photo). Barbara explained to me that it is an ancient farmhouse and ranch dating back to the 1700s in Sternatia in the heart of Apulia. The estate hosts traditional weddings and local events and festivals. Everything is made by hand, made locally and with traditional methods. A video on her iPad showed ladies making bread in a fire oven, a farmhouse table setting on a flowery terrace, comfortable suites and a swimming pool. It looked like the best of both worlds; tradition with elegance and style.
For people who collect moments, not things
Bellagio, Lake Como
Elena and Laura of Lake Como Food Tours
A magnificent photo of the Lake Como panorama covers the wall near the Lombardy section. The tagline on the poster says “For people who collect moments, not things.” Laura Sanvito and Elena Pittinacchio of Lake Como Food Tours not only want to feed your belly but also your soul. Laura said “A trip to any destination should be enriching and fulfilling. We want to show our guests our enchanting territory, have them taste our flavors and live like a local, even if just for one day.” Pointing to the poster Elena adds, “All of our guides, including myself are locals and proud to share our culture and the beautiful natural landscape with our visitors.”
Experiences with Lake Como Food Tours:
Visit the most beautiful areas of Lake Como on their Boat, Food and Villas Tour. Take a boat cruise on a vintage taxi boat, visit Villa Balbianello and eat a traditional meal at a local restaurant.
Wine and Cheese tasting in Valtellina. A tour of Valtellina wine country just north of Lake Como where you can try authentic, local products that are rarely exported. An exclusive and authentic experience.
Another group looking to share traditions while feeding your soul are Home Food, an organization of home cooks called Le Cesarine (little Cesars), emperors and empresses throughout Italy who open their homes to travelers working as ambassadors from their own kitchens. Francesca Comolli explains “It started as a small eno-gastronomic association in Bologna that welcomed international customers in their houses for homemade meals. The association has grown and now there are more than 600 Cesarine in Italy. It’s an opportunity for travelers to have a home-cooked meal and share it with a warmhearted family.”
Travelers to Italy can find a home-chef in over 150 cities in Italy at www.cesarine.it
These are just a few of the many companies looking to share their traditions, values and create memorable travel experiences on your visit to Italy.
Originally from New York , I am now living La Dolce Vita in northern Italy. I'm founder of Italy Travel & more and editor at EasyMilano.com. I freelance for Forbes Travel Guide, HuffPost, and Italo-Americano. Twitter: @CeliaAbernethy