From our correspondent, Giancarlo Dell'Orco, Destination Manager
In this short introduction we will focus on the transformation of a territory into a destination, towards a "new tourism" and the continually evolving demand for experiences in contact with residents and real places.
A region is a setting, so when transforming a territory with potential into a real tourist destination you cannot ignore an analysis of all its points of interest which understands precisely how they are perceived by the local population, and how it interacts with them. Furthermore, the territory can no longer be defined simply through physical and political boundaries; it is instead a "mutable" and mobile context for developing new ideas, promoting new professions and playing an active, central role in sustaining the growth of the local economy.
A territory becomes a destination when the market becomes aware of it and this translates into real demand, thanks in part to how well the region communicates the services it offers and its own identity.
When facing an ever more competitive tourist market, it becomes vital to involve professions and professional figures who know how to take advantage of new opportunities in the sector. However, they must also give value to the unique resources of a given territory in order to respond to the demands of the modern tourist.
Calabria Ispirata® (which could be translated as Inspired Calabria) shows us a region you can discover all year round, which doesn't follow the seasons, but instead constructs itself on the unique personalities and features connected to this point of reference. It is a land that starts from human resources, from the details linking places and people, every time creating an experience impossible to repeat.
Educational tourism, in-depth travel, and the possibility of a holiday that clears the mind, is what makes Calabria a region to get to know and appreciate.
Hospitality is not a job, but rather a talent, and as such, it changes and reveals itself in the different faces you meet on your journey, as "those who travel without meeting the other don't travel - they only move".
And it is precisely themes such as hospitality, welcome and experiential tourism that were hotly debated at the recent Hospitality Fest in Nicotera (Calabria), an event where the Calabria Ispirata Tour was a prologue.
Our correspondent, Fabrizio Lodi, tells us how it went at this link.
1st STOP: Conflenti (Catanzaro)
I arrive in the splendid village of Conflenti for a trip with friends from the "Felice & Conflenti" association, dedicated to valuing and recovering antique musical instruments.
The village offers opportunities for an experience beyond the hotel - you can attend lessons in traditional dance, and, for small groups, carving workshops for making musical instruments.
It is also possible to trek across the ancient village to discover artisans who weave wood (gathered in the woods for making baskets), walk among the organic olive groves, and taste the excellent extra virgin olive oil made at the olive oil mill.
2nd STOP: Montaldo Uffugo (Cosenza)
An ancient rural farmhouse, restructured and shared with anyone who can appreciate the beauty of silence: this is the message of a new model of hospitality, the co-living of Home for Creativity.
A place to meet people, share ideas, projects and collaborations, as well as the opportunity to have a unique experience - the "Philosophical Walk", an urban trek - “Le Siliche” - that crosses the ancient city and comes out into the surrounding countryside.
3rd STOP: Altomonte (Cosenza)
Another pearl of this wonderful tour is Altomonte, a lively town full of history and traditions, from music, to craft, to typical Calabrian cooking.
The incoming tour operator "Vita Calabra Tour" from our Vacanzattiva network is based here, guided by the young technical director, Danilo Verta.
Danilo will accompany you to discover real, authentic Calabrian experiences, through outdoor activities such as trekking, horse-riding and e-bikes, everything strictly local.
4th STOP: Cirò (Crotone)
You go down towards the coast to arrive at Cirò Marina, an immense stretch of vineyards that spreads from inland to the sea. The native variety, Gaglioppo, is the king of this land.
Breathtaking landscapes and panoramas will accompany you on your walk through the vineyards, and the grape production is a very high quality tradition.
5th STOP: Mongiana (Vibo Valentia)
Another evocative place immersed in the Regional Natural Park of Serre. The fascinating village of Mongiana stands out from the crowd. It is an ancient centre for Calabrian ironworks. Not to be missed is a visit to the ancient "Certosa", a monastery immersed in the calm quiet of natural scenery.
In the splendid Natural Park of Serre, which also hosts an adventure park, you can go climbing, horse-riding, or on trips by bike or on foot, and to deepen your knowledge of the local flora and fauna you can visit the Mongiana regional biodiversity centre.
6th STOP: San Floro (Catanzaro)
The last stop on the Inspired Calabria tour. This initiative has led to the mapping of regional themes, companies, residents, museums, attractions, artisans, guides, tour operators and local authorities to create tourist packages to include as part of the VacanzattivaTour platform.
San Floro is a little centre of agriculture and artisan production, which every year attracts travellers from all over the world. One particularly interesting excursion finishes at a silkworm farm, where it is possible to follow the entire process of silk production.