October 15, 2008

Very special guided tours…

Dear blog friends,

You need to know that at the Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio in Florence the theory of LIFE BEYOND TOURISM is being experimented with some very interesting tools and availabilities such as itineraries in the hidden and less known areas of Florence, local dishes and drinks to try at the restaurant and in the minibar of each room, films and books about Florence, etc.

Moreover, every guest is welcomed by a representative of the project who makes them feel comfortable offering a cup of italian coffee and explaining that in that particular hotel something new is happening and that they are a fundamental part of an important project!

Guests are given a questionnaire about the project and they are kindly asked to fill it out with their comments and suggestions to help us to improve it.

Till now we have collected more than 800 questionnaires and guests have been very helpful to us with their suggestions!

One of the guests has attached a very interesting article from the International Herald Tribune and it’s about some very original guided tours in Paris.

Thank you very much for the news and… here is the article:

Paris, Guided tours offered, and the price is right

A group of friendly Parisians has banded together to show strangers around their city, the one not found in travel books – at no charge.
The members of the group, the Paris Greeters, are happy to speak English or nine other languages.
The local volunteers are not certified tour guides, but rather ordinary citizens eager to show off their favorite boulangerie or point out a tranquil park perfect for watching autumn shades fill in the skyline.
“City officials wanted to change the image tourists have of Parisians,” said Dominique Cotta, president of the Paris Greeters.

I think that this should be a great idea also for Florence and other cities in the world, isn’t it?

Who can show tourists a city better than its inhabitants?

What do you think about it? Do you know other similar examples to tell us?

Have a nice day!


August 28, 2008

The Zahir – Part two

Hi Blog Firends,

Here is another passage from the book The Zahir by Paulo Coelho.

Enjoy the reading and let us know your opinion about it…


[…] After supper, it’s the usual routine: they want to show me their city’s monuments, historic places, fashionable bars. There is always a guide who knows absolutely everything and fills my head with information, and I have to look as if I’m really listening and ask the occasional question just to show interest. I know nearly all the monuments, museums, and historic places of all the many cities I have visited to promote my work – and I can’t remember any of them. What I do remember are the unexpected things, the meetings with readers, the bars, perhaps a street I happened to walk down, where I turned a corner and came upon something wonderful.

One day, I’m going to write a travel guide containing only maps, addresses of hotels, and with the rest of the pages blank. That way people will have to make their own itinerary, to discover for themselves restaurants, monuments, and all the magnificent things that every city has, but which are never mentioned because ‘the history we have been taught’ does not include them under the heading ‘Things you must see‘.

I’ve been to Zagreb before. And this fountain doesn’t appear in any of the local tourist guides, but it is far more important to me than anything else I saw here – because it is pretty, because I discovered it by chance, and because it is linked to a story in my life. […]


[…] Dopo la cena, il solito programma: vogliono mostrarmi tutto – monumenti, luoghi storici, locali alla moda. E sempre con una guida che conosce tutto, che mi riempie la testa di informazioni – io devo assumere l’aria di chi presta grande attenzione e, ogni tanto, domandare qualcosa per dimostrare il mio interesse. Conosco quasi tutti i monumenti e i luoghi storici delle moltissime città che ho visitato per promuovere il mio lavoro – eppure non mi ricordo assolutamente di nulla. Nella mente restano soltanto le cose inaspettate, gli incontri con i lettori, i bar, le vie che ho percorso casualmente: ho svoltato un angolo e, all’improvviso, ho visto qualcosa di meraviglioso.

Un giorno, voglio scrivere una guida turistica che contenga soltanto mappe e indirizzi di alberghi: lascerò le altre pagine in bianco, così ciascuno dovrà fare un proprio percorso, unico, scoprire i ristoranti, i monumenti e le meraviglie che ogni città possiede, ma delle quali non si parla mai perché “la storia che ci hanno raccontato ” non le include nella voce “Da non perdere assolutamente“.

Sono già stato a Zagabria. E questa fontana – benché non compaia in nessuna guida turistica – è molto più importante di molte altre che ho visto in questa città: perché è bella, perché l’ho scoperta per caso ed è legata a una storia di vita. […]

If you should write your own touristic guide, what would you speak about?

Let us know which is your idea of VISITING A PLACE!!!


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