After hosting the Valdichiana Senese and il Vino Nobile di Montepulciano last week, the Italian National Tourist Board welcomed another Tuscan delegation on Monday March, 13th – after all, daydreaming about the Chianti region is a tough job, and someone has to do it… The purpose? To present Destination Florence, an ambitious project planned by Firenze Convention & Visitors Bureau in cooperation with the City of Florence, and to give the chance to two tour operators — ArtViva and Le Baccanti — and a luxurious accommodation facility — the Golden Tower Hotel — to illustrate their offer to the audience.
The Firenze Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official partner of the City of Florence that takes care of promoting the area. Their aim is to draw as many big events, conferences, international weddings and high-quality tourism as possible to the territory. Thanks to its 235 members, of which 80 are hotels, it represents the city’s touristic offerings.
After mentioning some of the numerous assets of the Tuscan region — its arts, culture, food, wine, shopping, wellness, accessibility and safety — the sales manager Eleonora Odorino introduced Destination Florence, the first portal for information, promotion and online booking services in the City of Florence to promote high-quality tourism. The purpose of this portal is to increase the number of high-spending-power tourists and their average stay in the city, while widening the offer and making it diverse. In addition, the platform is a tool for the organization of big events and conferences, as the EJOA 2017, DUCO 2018 and VIRTUOSO 2019.
Created with the support of the City of Florence, the portal will be up and running by July 2017 and will allow visitors to buy tickets for museums, theaters, concerts, sport events, as well as book taxi and chauffeur services, plane and train tickets, guided tours, tourist guide services and other kinds of packages.
Odorino then left the stage to Rose Magers, owner of ArtViva, a tour operator based in Tuscany and specialized in food-and-wine itineraries, gelato or pasta making classes, wedding planning and spas. As an Australian deeply in love with Tuscany and its lifestyle, Magers highlighted the importance of making culture and the arts accessible for tourists.
Then, the Golden Tower Hotel took the floor. The prestigious 5-star facility is located in Piazza Strozzi, in the middle of historical downtown Florence. The General Manager Lorenzo Mini disclosed the secret of their success: a human connection with the customer. “We like to create a relationship of total trust with our guests. We get to know them, we follow them in all their needs. If they have any problems, we solve them. The Golden Tower’s guests don’t have to worry about anything.”
The hotel consists of 30 rooms, giving the customer 11 different choices – from basic rooms to duplex suites. However, it is the Tower Deluxe that offers a truly unique experience: staying in the very same tower where the Strozzi family used to live in the 14th century.
Last but not least, Filippo Bartolotta, Le Baccanti’s CEO, addressed the audience. By planning luxurious holidays all over Italy, the tour operator encourages the discovery of high-quality Italian craftsmanship, from wine, to food and art. Founded in 1999 in London, Le Baccanti moved to Italy in 2004, and ever since it has been constantly growing.
One of their main assets is MaMa Florence, a culinary and wine school that opened three years ago and is available for corporate events and team-building activities. “Our secret is teamwork. Our team is made up by 10 people, each one of us specializing in a particular field, but we’re always willing to ask for advice and work with each other,” Bartolotta tells us enthusiastically. Their catch phrase “Experience Italy, become a bit Italian” will certainly seduce many Americans with the Italian dream.
The night ended with a delicious taste of some traditional Tuscan dishes, like pici with tomato sauce, ribollita and cantucci e vin santo, prepared by Piccolo Café’s chefs.
While the smell of snow is still in the air, New York seems so far away. At 686 Park Ave., we breath the essence of Tuscany.
Translated by Giulia Casati