VivaToscana presented at event BTO Buying Tourism Online

Year 2017 will see the tenth edition of “BTO – Buying Tourism Online” event in Florence, important Italian exhibition dedicated to the inditstry of tourism: stories of future scenarios, start-up competitions, experiments on the use of digital tools to connect companies, analysis of the ethical issues in the age of artificial intelligence, proposals to discover magic places where travel is still considered a valuable experience.

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VivaFirenze will be present during “Short Stories form Tuscany” session, on November 30th, at 3.30 p.m. in the area called ARENA dedicated to “presentations”.
We will be within a panel coordinated by the director of Toscana Promozione Turistica Mr. Alberto Peruzzini and we will share the panel with other two realities that narrate the story of a Tuscany that enhance sustainability, accessibility, and responsibility.

It will be the opportunity to present the home page of the new VivaToscana booking portal, regional versione of the current VivaFirenze. The regional portal will be online at the end of the year with the new territorial projects to be supported, in the style of Life Beyond Tourism.

We remind that the competition launched in September, within the “World Tourism Unesco” event in Siena to candidate new projects for conservation and enhancement of Tuscan heritage, has been extended until December the 15th, to give another chance to associations to propose their ideas. The winning projects will be included in VivaToscana portal. Interesting news is that travelers can – if they wish – visit the selected projects, know them and perhaps “live them” through the experiences that will be proposed and managed by the associations themselves.

With VivaToscana, the network of sustained projects and accommodations get larger to give the opportunity – for those who travel in this extraordinary region – to be more aware and to feel deeply in relation with the visited territories, with their heritage and the communities they live in.

Vivafirenze was awarded “The Italian responsible tourism” with Travelability

We are delighted to announce that our website Vivafirenze.it has been awarded the “Italian Responsible Tourism Award”, conceived by the important Italian magazine “The Travel Agency”.

The prize-winning proposal was conceived and formulated together with Travelability, a company specialized in assisted tourism for the elderly and disabled: it is a touristic route between Florence and Chianti, fully accessible and able to support the local artistic and cultural heritage with a donation generated by booking the accommodation on Vivafirenze.it. The acknowledgment will be delivered on Saturday September 23 in Siena within the WTU – World Tourism Unesco event.

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Year 2017 was declared by the UN General Assembly “Year of Sustainable Tourism” with the aim of strongly emphasize the need for a conscious tourism respectful of cultures and environment. The award comes to us and to our friends of Travelability in this particular year, devoted to the promotion of responsible tourism and we believe It can be a small contribute to developing a culture of closer attentiveness.
Vivafirenze.it is the first portal that combines and integrates the services of hotel booking with a collection of funds in favor of the local artistic, architectural and cultural heritage. An innovative business in the tourism industry, created on the experience of the “Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco – Life Beyond Tourism”, which since 1991 has launched projects and activities to support Cultural Heritage and to foster interpersonal knowledge by giving tourism a renewed sense. Vivafirenze.it is a business with a cultural soul, an academic seriousness and an international spirit, replicable to other destinations in the world as part of the Life Beyond Tourism orientation.

On Sunday, September 24, at 4 pm in WTU – World Tourism Unesco in Siena, the day after the prize ceremony, Life Beyond Tourism will attend a public presentation in an event dedicated to the good practices of responsible tourism, announcing news about Vivafirenze.it and the international news from the ” Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco – Life Beyond Tourism “.

 

VivaFirenze applies to the Italian prizes “Italian responsible tourism” and “Unesco culture tourism”, year 2017

“The Travel Agency” is the first multimedia tourist information network in Italy, whose publications – both on paper and online – are addressed to tourism professionals, therefore in general to all those involved in the Italian and international travel industry.
In 2010, the Travel Agency established the “responsible awards”, that are the Italian Responsible Tourism Award (TRI) and the UNESCO Culture Tourism Award (TCU), both dedicated to Cristina Ambrosini.

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The first acknowledgment is aimed to tourism companies and professionals who, through their work, promote a culture of responsibility and sustainability: respect for the environment, biodiversity, culture and local populations.

Vivafirenze.it has decided to take part to it together with Travelability, submitting a focused project. Travelability – which was introduced to you in the post of January – is a leader in personal assistance and in tourism and organizes assisted and customized travels for all people with disabilities, non-self-reliance (even temporary) or with particular health needs who desire to spend a holiday in Tuscany, offering a top-level support and so a unique experience out of the traditional circuits.
The synergy between our portal and Travelability therefore aims to offer a concrete answer for a sustainable and responsible tourism, replicable in time, possible for future generations, careful towards a heritage to be discovered but also to be preserved, to territories, local communities, travellers, in the specific sense of accessibility for all, because beauty can be really available and also be each one’s heritage.
Vivafirenze.it has chosen to apply also for the second award, as it is pointed to tourism companies and professionals who, through their work, promote national and international cities, sites and territories included in the World Heritage List. The historic center of Florence was listed on the world heritage list in 1982. It is also remembered that – in the surroundings of Florence – there are other UNESCO sites, as San Gimignano since 1990, the Medici’s Villas from June 2013 and finally the National Park and Sasso Fratino’s Integral Reserve right from July this year, designated for its ecological and conservation significance.
The two awards ceremony will be held on September 23, during the WTU – World Tourism Unesco – at the Museum Complex of Santa Maria della Scala in the city of Siena.

Cycle tourism: a new “slow tourism” proposal

Recently, we often hear about cycle tourism. First of all.. What is it cycle tourism?

Enit – the Italian Agency of National Tourism – defines cycle tourism as “tourism practiced by cycling”. An alternative way of approaching “places and people” through itinerant trips or daily trips without competition, along easily accessible routes, on low-traffic roads or paths reserved for bicycles.

Cycle tourism therefore proposes a slow journey, in which movements are not only tailored to men, but also considered as the goal themselves: the heart of the journey. A sustainable travel that allows you to enjoy a direct relationship with the environment by preserving it, creating a deeper relationship not only with the landscape but also with the people and with the culture of the territories you visit.
Furthermore, cycle tourism makes It possible to enhance unknown places, with positive effects on local economies. Therefore It brings both an economic and a socio-cultural worth.

Even a city as Florence can offer a truly rich and interesting cycling tour to discover unknown places. This is called the Renaissance Ring. It starts from and arrives to the castle of Calenzano, along a 172 kilometer long path, divided into sixteen stages, which surrounds the city and which has its ideal cornerstone in the Dome of the Cathedral of the city – a Brunelleschi’s work.
Through woods, hills and trails immersed in nature, the itinerary crosses monasteries, castles, country squares, ancient walled centers, hospitals to host pilgrims, fragments of streets from the Roman or Medieval times. Anyway, if you travel each section separately, you can always reach Florence via public transport links.
Surely it is an extraordinarily and unusual way – and to everyone’s reach – to visit Florence and to appreciate its history and traditions, but also the environment, in a joyful harmony.

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Cycle tourism, with its slowness and alternative routes, allows you to experience the journey, interpreted as a movement, and everything that is part of it, discovering it and enriching travellers thanks to the knowledge they have lived.
To put it a bit with the words of Monsieur Ibrahim, while with a red car crosses together with Momo all of Europe directed to the south, without taking the highway because “they are good for fools who want to go as fast as possible from one point to another” (from the novel Monsieur Ibrahim e i fiori del Corano, di Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt).

Here are a selection of accommodation along the itinerary:

 

Calenzano (start and arrival, stages 1 and 8)

 

La Certosa (stages 6 and 7)

 

Signa (stage 8)
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Ecotourism: when travel meets respect of environment and local communities

The term ecotourism was born in 1988 when Mexican architect Hector Ceballos-Lascurain defined It as “that tourism that involves travelling to relatively undisturbed natural areas with the specific object of studying, admiring and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and animals, as well as any existing cultural aspects (both past and present) found in these areas”. da fiesole shutterstock_122441557 Over a decade later, in 2002, when the United Nations declared that year as “the year of ecotourism”, the World Summit of Ecotourism was held in Quebec, Canada. On this occasion, delegates from 132 nations approved the text of the “Quebec Declaration on Ecotourism”, in which the concept of ecotourism was expanded, including not only the respect for the environment, but also towards local communities, from a cultural, social and economic point of views. In this perspective, travelers’ demand for the use of different resources of the visited places must be conciliated with the need to ensure their integrity, enhancing their potentialities in the future.

Therefore ecotourism, turning around a biocentric definition, aims at a sustainable development of the tourism sector, trying to reduce the degradation of natural resources, preserving local knowledge and culture, without requiring their adaptation to tourist demand, but inviting to their discovery and welcome.

One of the mainly shared definition is that of International Ecotourism Society, which states: “Ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people”.

Many characteristics of ecotourism idea are very close to the “life beyond tourism” philosophy and to our portal Vivafirenze.it: for sure we support a socio-cultural compatibility of the tourist and the territory he/she visits, as well as the focus on local communities and their economical development, but we also we like the attention to the environment.

Finally, we recommend a Tuscan cooperative called “Walden Walking Tours” www.waldenviaggiapiedi.it, which proposes walking tours all over the world, because “…walking with no hurry allows you to discover the places step by step … walking makes one feel good, invites to comparison, to make true contact between people”. For Walden It is crucial to “walk in small groups to share the travel experience and to know the culture and traditions of places even through meetings with locals”.

HERITAGE for Planet Earth®: 19th General Assembly of the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation

11st – 12nd March, Centro Congressi al Duomo, Florence: 19th General Assembly of the International Experts of the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation and international conference HERITAGE for Planet Earth®.

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The conference took place at the presence of 250 participants from 104 cities of 48 countries on 5 continents, with the participation of the Tuscany Region, the City of Florence, UNESCO, UNWTO, ICCROM, ICOMOS, ICOM, Nasa and ESA experts, with 62 patronships granted to the event.

Turning around the centrality of the word “culture”, was discussed the issue of the communities involved in the industry of travelling, called “Learning Communities”. They consist of residents, travellers, providers of local services, cultural institutions, intermediaries, public authorities and administrations, research centers, training and education institutions, designers who must provide structural responses to market needs.

Sure enough, the market wants to impose its rules and its direction of development, which actually only replies to the logic of profit.

Each geographical area – instead – may propose its own cultural and natural heritage, in particular the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which have extraordinary features that attract visitors from all over the world. And above all, they have the opportunity to promote intercultural dialogue, giving a tangible contribution to the international community. It’s time to propose a new commercial offer based on a new ethic for the growth of the international community, also through proposals useful to protect the environment from market manipulations that could impose an unsustainable development.

The objective is generally to ensure that each region obtains awareness and self-knowledge, deciding independently upon its own development, so reducing the risk of being dominated by a leveling market, which does not often value local peculiarities and concentrate resources for its own purpose to enrichment, in a logic of mere enrichment, the only goal of the current tourims paradigm based on services and consumptions.
Instead, if the travel experience, traveler, heritage and local communities become essential, it will be possible suggest a different commercial and cultural offer, both culturally and environmentally sustainable for the international community, in a context of peaceful coexistence and respect for the Planet Earth.

2017: Year of sustainable tourism. 2013-2022 International Decade of Rapprochement of cultures. A new concept of tourism and travelling can help to promote dialogue among cultures. This was the initial intuition of the president Paolo Del Bianco: heritage – to be preserved and conserved for future generations – as an instrument to exercise ourselves towards dialogue. The income generated by the flows of travellers should be kept locally and reinvested in the territory of travel destination itself. Business is to be perceived as a strategy and not a goal. Cultural development and promotion of intercultural dialogue to be inserted as one of the millennium goals, with the example of what is being concretely realized by the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation.

Vivafirenze and AITR together with the same purpose: spreading a new culture of travel

The end of February brings an important news to Vivafirenze: there is a new partnership in fact with AITR, Italian Association for Responsible Tourism. The round table that was held last February 15 in Florence at Palazzo Coppini has highlighted immediately an extraordinary harmony of values, attitudes, vision of the journey and of the traveler.

Going beyond the thought of a tourist as a person distracted and superficial, the traveller rediscovers to be part of a complex dynamic, in which everyone must respect and preserve the balance for a sustainable and profitable survival of all the actors involved in the touristic experience.

From the term “tourism” the emphasis shifts to the word “journey“: the knowledge, the discovery, the excitement of visiting new and enchanted places, full of art, should be included in a synergistic way in connection with the travellers and the local communities, so that no one is impoverished or deprived of something, but the widespread, continuous and common experience of travelling enriches, improves and enhances all parties involved, with a special attention to the context in which the adventure of the journey takes place, that is the environment.

From all this, the idea and the will to cooperate together.

AITR is an association that brings together associations, organizations and cooperatives that operate in the field of responsible tourism.
It does not pursue profit, either direct or indirect. It works to promote, qualify, disseminate, research, update, protect the cultural content and the resulting practical actions related to the term “responsible tourism”; It promotes the culture and the practice of Responsible Tourism journeys and promotes knowledge, coordination and synergies among members.

Vivafirenze and AITR are working on a partnership, thanks to which there will be the opportunity to work and participate together in one another’s activities and initiatives, particularly in the education sector with the involvement of the International Institute Life Beyond Tourism.

A non-profit portal and an association committed to promote the values ​​of responsible tourism together because every journey can leave a gift to every traveler and every land visited.

Picture by Dom Weeks

2017 International Year of Sustainable tourism: travel is for everyone and It contributes to the well-being of the territories

2017 International Year of Sustainable tourism: It is a statement of the United Nations, which commits all tourism operators to “to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental - while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued.”, as per mouth of the UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

The resolution, adopted on 4 December 2015, recognizes “the importance of international tourism, and particularly of the designation of an international year of sustainable tourism for development, in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and in bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world”.

This will be discussed in Florence on Friday, January 27th with an event organized by Travelability, Tuscany Region and Federalberghi. We asked Travelability to tell us its mission and its objectives.
They, like us Vivafirenze, are engaged in a challenge that concerns a more just and equitable tourism for all.
“Travelability was formed in Florence in order to create a new system of accessible tourism in Italy, for all those people who need a tourist support and / or care when planning a journey. The idea was conceived by its founders inspired by a tourism model that is becoming increasingly popular in Anglo-Saxon countries, in order to overcome all those barriers and difficulties that may be encountered in the organization of a trip in the event of non self-sufficiency.”

website travel-ability

home page of Travel-ability website

The slogan of this company is “Beyond the Challenges”: they want to go over the initial difficulties in travelling, allowing all people to travel and to feel free, finally realizing that journey to Italy, desired for a long time, but always postponed for the fear not to find abroad the attention that you have at home.
Travelling allows to know not only other worlds and cultures, but also to open your mind, activate yourself; this is the mission of Travelability, mission that VivaFirenze fully embraces! We are ready to live with travelers arriving in Florence this international year of sustainable tourism!

ELIA turns mirrors into windows with Vivafirenze.it

Once again we are very glad to be able to sustain out territory, with the help of the International community!

Vivafirenze.it is very proud to announce its partnership with ELIA (The European League of Institutes of the Arts) for their 14th Biennial Conference “Turn Windows into Mirrors” being held in Florence from November 30th to December 3rd, 2016.

ELIA-conference

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Win Florence thanks to photos of “Travel and Dialogue for Expo 2015″

Vivafirenze.it is proud partner of an initiative promoted by the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation of Florence for the Universal Exhibition held in Milan since last May.

The photo contest “Travel and Dialogue for Expo 2015. Feeding the planet, energy for life” is an opportunity to decline the main theme of EXPO2015 through original photographic works placed on the cultural portal www.lifebeyondtourism.org.

Travel and Dialogue

Participation is free and open to anyone who would reflect on the themes of education and enhancement of food, environmental and cultural heritage and how landscape and food production are part of the cultural heritage and expression of the place. The photograph that will be voted by users of the community’s photoblog will receive a generous prize consists of:

  • Life Beyond Tourism® AWARD €500,00
  • Publication of the photos in the Magazine of the Community Life Beyond Tourism
  • Certification of results, delivered during the opening ceremony of the exhibition of a selection of photographs in Florence
  • Voucher for two nights for two people in the Pilot Scheme Life Beyond Tourism Hotels (Hotel 4 Stars) spendable throughout 2015

You can upload photos on the page at this link by July 10, 2015, and vote for your favorite until 20 July 2015.

ENGPhotocontest  Travel and Dialogue for Expo 2015. Feeding the Planet  energy for life    Photoblog   Life Beyond Tourism

Vivafirenze.it is practical application orientation Life Beyond Tourism promoted by the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation, which promotes intercultural dialogue worldwide through the enhancement of cultural heritage, tourism and travel.

Have you been in Florence? A pictures of that trip could be the winner.
Always dreamed to visit Florence? This is a good opportunity to try it

‘Human’: an exhibition at Forte Belvedere

Florence is an open-air museum to which we add the heritage preserved in more or less famous museums and galleries. It is not common to have also a particular area as ‘Forte Belvedere’ where organize intense-exhibition in the open. It is one of two forts that offers a view of Florence from above in an atmosphere of unique tranquility.

'Critical mass' A. Gramsley

‘Critical mass’ A. Gramsley

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Knowledge and Food: integration on the table in Florence

The table joins and aggregates , tells the history and traditions of the people and carries a huge economic boost . On this assumptions it was born the project “Knowledge and Flavours in the chair” that Vivafirenze.it supports with great conviction . The students of schools for hospitality of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary meet the Florentine ones and work together for a week.

It is a moment of mutual understanding, to learn new recipes and ingredients in an international environment of cooperation and professional growth.

Vivafirenze.it is proud to contribute to the running of the event “Knowledge and Flavours in the chair” given by the Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic for Tuscany under the Life Beyond Tourism® ethos created by the Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco® – Life Beyond Tourism® education with the Assessor of the City of Florence, the Ambassadors of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary and the International Visegrad Fund.

2013 edition

2013 edition

The final event will be held Friday, 7th of March at 8 pm in the armory of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence and it will be open to the public. Students will prepare a dinner consisting of appetizer, first course, main course and dessert with traditional recipes and innovation experiments of their own country. They will look after the service of this tasty buffet that will speak five different languages ​​for a single common table.

We look forward to taste the delicious fruit of this experiment. The proceeds from the dinner will be donated to Italian non-profit organization “Gocce di vita” to support the Professional School “Leila Biagi Dani” activities in Kisoga for the training of women in Uganda.

St.Valentine’s day in Florence: not the same candies!

This year the St.Valentine Day gives to lovers, boyfriends, couples, friends and future brides a good opportunity for a weekend out thanks to the calendar with romanticism and cuddles.

Florence was the cradle of love between Dante and Beatrice and offers the ingredients for the perfect weekend: a rich artistic heritage, an offer of theaters, museums and much varied entertainment , great food, famous wine in the world and then the streets of the historic center, the dome by Brunelleschi , the view from Piazzale Michelangelo and the windows of jewelers in Ponte Vecchio for a “simple” walk.

St. Valentine's day in Florence

St. Valentine’s day in Florence

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Christmas time in Florence: presents at markets

Christmas time for gifts, partying … and flea markets! They came from the Nordic tradition but are now entered in the Christmas events not to be missed in Florence. Excellent destination for shopping and to find more or less traditional Christmas decoration to dress the home for the holidays. It can also become an opportunity to have original products or crafts and to  join a beneficial purchase with an interesting itinerary in the historic centre of Florence.

Christmas market in Santa Croce

Christmas market photo by Alba Beatnoir photo studio

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News from Pisa airport to Florence

Today we talk about a news service of interest to those coming to Florence for tourism and for those who live here.

A large percentage of travelers who move to and from Florence using the nearby airport of Pisa also for the large number of international arrivals and the presence of the major low cost airline Ryanair.

Pisa Airport train station

Pisa Airport train station

By car the distance of 90Km is covered in about an hour’s journey but in our opinion the most comfortable way is a special train called “Regiostar”. It is a no stop regional train that, starting from the Santa Maria Novella station in Florence (passing through the Rifredi station), arrives directly at the airport of Pisa without any change in about 50 minutes .

From the next 8th of December 2013 we will have to do without this great convenience: the train station inside the airport of Pisa will be closed for about two years to complete the People Mover project, a link to the rope to 2km from the railway station of Pisa . The twelve trains planned for this route will arrive in Livorno, with a stop in Pisa centrale station.

People Mover - rendering

People Mover – rendering

To arrive in the Pisa airport we can choice between:

  • the direct shuttle service offered by the companies Terravision and Autostradale departing from the bus stop of the front of the station of Santa Maria Novella
  • a train to Pisa Centrale and then a public bus to the airport.

At this point we are curious to see how it will change the mobility thanks to the People Mover that will bring a breath of fresh air in the Tuscan world of transport.

In the meantime, do not despair will always find a way to get you to Florence!

What to do on Halloween in Florence?

The summer holidays are a faded memory and christmas time is still too far away to be taken into account. In Italy the All Saint’s day on the 1st of November is a national holiday, public offices and schools are closed and this year the calendar gives us a long free weekend at our disposal.

If you have decided that this is the right opportunity to visit Florence (excellent choice!) or if you were in town and you are looking for ideas for your free time, this post on what to do in Florence is for you!

What to do on Halloween  in florence

What to do on Halloween in Florence

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A trip in Florence with good resturants and discounts: is it possible?

Florence has an immense historical and artistic heritage in museums, palaces, galleries. The big names of Italian and international fashion have their shops in the fashion streets in the center of Florence. Lots of small shops displaying unique and quality crafts. What is missing to complete your tour of the beauties of Florence?

T-bone steak and soup

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