Category Archives: Italian Cities

Historic Hotels: the Grand Hotel in Rimini and its Liberty Style

We continue our posts of the serie “historic hotels”, this time we remain in our beloved Italy.
We visit the Grand Hotel in Rimini  http://www.grandhotelrimini.com/en/#.WUktL8ZabR0,  in the Emilia Romagna region.

Our Clients needs and ideas enriches our hotels portfolio

The idea of this post comes from the Chef Tour of Tourissimo, one of our Clients. Tourissimo has recently ended its itinerary https://www.tourissimo.travel/emilia-romagna-chef-bike-tour  with a stay at the Grand Hotel . We ‘ve been involved in the hotels rooms booking process.

So we immersed ourselves in one of the most sparkling periods of italian twenty century: the period of Art Nouveau, that in Italy is called Liberty.
Italy has a huge heritage of Liberty art and the Grand Hotel in Rimini is one of the main examples of Liberty buildings.

History of the building

The hotel has 200 rooms, spaciuos terraces and a magnificent faceade Liberty style.
Inauguration was in 1908, the south american architect Paolo Somazzi designed the hotel few years before.
Internally still today we can admire french and venetian furntitures of XVIII century that commemorate a pompous past. And don’t miss the exotic gardens!

The hotel doesn’t directly face the sea. That’s because in that period nobility and upper class had no interest for the seaside, that would be an absurd concept nowadays!

In 1920 a big fire destroyed upper rooms and the 2 big ornamental domes were lost in the event.
Also the second world war damaged seriously the hotel.
However the hotel has been reconstructed and still has its original charme. Furthermore In 1994 the Grand Hotel Rimini was recognized as a national monument and it is under the protection of the Superintendent of Fine Arts.
In july 2008 the hotel celebrated 100 year with dedicated events.
Since december 20017 the hotel is part of the italian Hotel Group Select Hotels, owned by the Batani family. Select Hotels is one of few italian Hotels Group.
The onwer Antonio has revealed that

“after being engaged with this wonderful lady for many years, finally I got married with her!”

Many famous guests has onoured the Grand Hotel during its centennial story…actors, politicians, rich and famous people.

The Grand Hotel and Federico Fellini

Surely an important famous person for this hotel was the italian director Federico Fellini. Fellini was born in Rimini and had been fascinated from the hotel since its childhood.

In his famous film “A’Marcord” (dated 1973) the Hotel was the ubiquitous background of many scenes, even if in a dreamy and magic interpretation.

A friendly and modern Staff

Nowadays relating with so impressive hotels, with their memories and glorious past, can be a little bit frightening.
But from our part we’ve been delighted and surprised by the extremely friendly staff, very attentive and efficient.

A hotel that doesn’t live only basing on its fame but that is able to renew its appeal every day.

Carnivals in Italy

“A Carnevale ogni scherzo vale”

Every italian has this phrase in his/her memory and has used this “excuse” to make jokes to friends during masks parades. Every joke is valid during Carnival, and this has been useful for people to concentrate in one moment of the year the insanity that often is necessary to live!
Carnival in Italy is an important moment of the year, when winter time reaches is final expression and after which we all prepare to springtime.

An antique tradition

The origins of Carnival date back to the Roman Saturnalia festival that rang in the new year (Julian calendar) – similarly to the Lupercalia and Dionysian feasts.
From North to South, Italy marks Carnival with long standing traditions that are internationally-known, and that attract thousands of visitors from around the world this time every year.
The multiplicity of Italian cities, town and hamlets that renders our Peninsula a rich opportunity for Tourists, at Carnival as well is represented.

An embarrassment of riches.

Many are famous Carnivals, as Venezia or Viareggio, both represented by masks, elegant and sophisticated the Venetian ones

more ironic and goliardic the Tuscan.

But there is plenty of minor Carnivals as Acireale in Sicily, Cento in Romagna or Putignano in Puglia.

My favourite one…honestly!

I am lucky to live in Ivrea, where an important historical Carnival http://www.storicocarnevaleivrea.it/english/ takes place every year and in which, among many other moments, the Orange Battles take place in different areas of the city astonishing and amusing inhabitants and visitors.

Wherever you’d decide to go, this event is attracting tourists to our cities every year and are an inestimable richness of our Country.
Buon Carnevale a tutti!

Italian Tourism and its Reform [Constitutional Referendum, Dec 4th]

On December 4th in Italy an important Constitutional Referendum, a recall one, will take place.
Politicians are discussing and at today it’s difficult to say if YES or NO will win.

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Among many items in discussion, we want to focus on Tourism Reform and on what will change in this sector if YES will win next month.

Tourism is a key asset for Italy

Tourism is one of Italian main important economical sectors, corresponding to 10% of Gross National Product and employing more than 2.6 million of people ( data from World Travel and Tourism Council http://www.wttc.org/)
In Italy we have the hugest number of UNESCO’s sites in the world and in 2015 statistics said that more than 50 Millions of foreign tourists have visited our Country spending more than 35 Billions of euros.
Numbers that lead heads to spin.
But that should be even higher than this.

Italian Tourism is at today under the control of 20 different regions

Nowadays the jurisdiction on tourism is under the Regions’ control. In Italy there are 20 Regions and, since 2001, every region has its own rules, marketing campaigns, transportation policies and investments strategies.

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Often it happens that Regions are in competition among them and that lead to costs increase.
Also the criteria for hotels classification are different from Region to Region, so that a 4 star in an area is sometimes merely a 3 one.

If YES wins the control of Italian Tourism will be in State Government hands

The Reform talks expressively of Tourism in the article number 31.
The Reform will assign to Central State the competence on Tourism, assigning to Regions local tourism developments.
A cooperation system would be effective in place of the actual legislative division in this sector.
From this point of view the Reform would obtain a new and full national strategy, competitive among the global market.

“Entrepreneurs need to invest in Italian Tourism and advocate the homogeneous promotion of Italy”

– says Bernabò Bocca , President of Federalberghi (the national association of Italian hotel owners http://www.federalberghi.it/index.aspx).
Surely some Regions among others would greatly benefit from this.

We are talking of the so called Mezzogiorno, the southern part of Italy that, except few exceptions, at today is really a hidden treasure.

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Hence stay tuned and let’s see the results of this important election day.

Venice is becoming a postcard?

This summer I’ve been to Venice for a couple of days.

Perhaps for an Italian person, who should go there whenever during the year, this has not been a smart choi. August in Italy is one of the most crowded periods of the year, but that was the spot I had available! I caught the occasion to stay there with my kids and to check some hotels for my job.

No need to say how wonderful Venice is. Tons of words are written about that on worldwide pages, blogs, newspapers and magazines. Beauty and magic are in every corner, every canal, every building.

But Venice risks to become a postcard.

Venice risks to belong to everyone and to none

Venice is fully crowded of people and smartphones, cruise ships arriving and departing, groups following a guide with a microphone…that is disappointing and scaring.

Crowded Venice
Venice is becoming a postcard

It happens to all famous places in the world, in Italy however we have a high concentration of historical cities.  Perhaps Venice is a borderline case also because Venetians are leaving the city year by year, due to its islander nature.

The best thing is to wake up very early and visit them before masses of tourists invade it like ants.

This is however a philosophical topic…am I or not also a tourist like all the other ants…?!

Comment: Reading the “ITB World Travel trends Report 2015/2016” http://www.itb-berlin.de/media/itb/itb_dl_all/itb_presse_all/WTTR_ITB2016_8_Web.pdfduring these days, I have found a pertinent discussion about our latest blog. Tourist experts are concerned about the impact of large masses in very popular destinations. “Venice -says the Report -is worried about the impact of high number of cruise passengers arriving simultaneously and then flooding through the city’s narrow streets to see the main sights all at the same time. IPK president Rolf  Freitag confirmed and predicted that some cities might consider limits on the number of visitors in the next few years”. This will be certainly be a topic item in the future of many Italian cities.

Just an apartment

In Italy Christmas vacations are very long, kids are home from schools for 2 weeks and it takes a lot of job for parents to entertain them all along.

Those holidays end on January 6th with the “Festa della Befana”, beloved by kids.

Let’s try Airbnb Guests Experience!

This year I combined my family’s needs with a professional curiosity: 3 days in Firenze using Airbnb. I never tried it and since I think that as a professional in tourism I have to live the “Guests Experience” in all its possible shapes…well I convinced my husband to skip hotels and go for it.

Great service with their website and customer care approach, I quickly created an ID and chose between quite a good number of apartments still available even if very close to the date, so busy for Italy.

Ok ragazzi…si parte!

The apartment was exactly as described, a little bit smaller than the idea I had of it only joining in my mind the photos on the web but…it was good.

An impersonal sensation of hospitality

A kind boy was waiting for us, not the owner, who probably had many apartments all over the city (lucky man!), but we just saw him for 10 minutes the first day then we left without meeting anyone else there.

Moreover it was national holiday and we didn’t even meet anyone in the building, going back and forth from the city center, climbing the stairs or in the lift.

We had a great stay in this beloved city, that always surprises me for its poetry and Renaissance elegance.

homesuitehome_airbnb-guests-experience

Of course this was only one case among thousands, but returning home I felt that we had an impersonal experience, we just used a room, even if nice and honestly described.

Just an apartment.