23 international travel advisors joined an Italiabsolutely fam trip to Messina and Reggio Calabria.

Meetings, networking and local experiences

ItaliAbsolutely brought 20 international Italy travel specialist buyers to Messina and Reggio Calabria on a fam trip, organized by Travel Open Day, on the occasion of the Meet Tourism Messina programme of meetings and networking. The business sessions were followed by visits to the main attractions in the two southern Italian cities, and local experiences including a swordfishing boat excursion, a visit to the famous Riace bronze statues and wine and food tastings.

The occasion wasMeet Tourism towards the Mediterranean”

The 6-day fam trip kicked off at the Palazzo della Cultura in Messina with the plenary opening of “Meet Tourism towards the Mediterranean,” the city’s first experiential meeting which was attended by the mayor of Messina Federico Basile, the councilor for tourism Enzo Caruso, the councilor for productive activities Massimo Finocchiaro and the president of the Strait Port Authority, Mario Paolo Mega.  The event continued with B2B sessions that brought together local inbound operators and the 20 international buyers from Slovenia, Poland, Portuga, Lithuania, Spain, Romania, Russia, Hungary, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Brazil, and the United States. 


Messina’s cuisine is the best in Italy”

The participants spent a morning on a “felucca” fishing boat to see firsthand the local swordfishing traditions and also visited the Ganzirri Lakes and the Fort Cavalli belvedere as well as visiting the Messina Brewery. For many of the buyers it was the first time in the south of Italy but Romanian journalist Dana Enache of “Viva!” magazine said it was her fifth time in Sicily. “But it’s my first time to Messina. It’s a wonderful city and much more relaxed than Italy’s big cities.”  Svetlana Trushnikova of Palomino Tour Travel said people often tell her there is not much to see in Messina, but that she found it full of interest. “Being able to use the airports of Reggio Calabria and Catania is an absolutely exploitable convenience, and for me Messina’s cuisine is the best in Italy.”  


Reggio Calabria also hosted the buyers

In Reggio Calabria, just across the Strait of Messina on mainland Italy, the participants visited the Museum of Reggio Calabria to admire the famous Riace bronze statues and spent two days discovering the city’s attractions as well as towns like Gerace, Bova and Scylla which is one of the area’s most popular coastal resort towns. The final day in Reggio Calabria was dedicated to business with a round table to present the companies attending followed by B2B appointments between local DMCs, DMOs, suppliers and the buyers.   

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Calabria is a region for all seasons

“We had a very positive reaction from the buyers, - said Reggio Calabria’s mayor Giuseppe Falcomatà. – Our region has experiential potential. At certain times of year you can ski on the Aspromonte in the morning, have a swim on the Costa Viola in the afternoon, visit the Riace bronzes in the evening and end the day with an ice cream on the sea promenades of Catona or Pellaro. Reggio is delightful, engaging, and captivating."

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Published in MICE & Events

Hellofly, the Maltese airline that operates in collaboration with the best European carriers, has inaugurated new weekly flights connecting Perugia with Lampedusa and Verona. 

Flight schedules for tourist and business traffic

Thanks to the operational synergy with the carrier Luxwing the Maltese airline will operate these new flights every Friday, departing Lampedusa at 9:10 and arriving in Perugia  at 10:40 while the return from Perugia will depart at 15:20, arriving in Lampedusa at 17:00. The Perugia-Verona Friday flights will depart Perugia at 11:30 arriving in Verona at 12:15, and then leave Verona at 13:30 to land in Perugia at 14:15

Adding to the appeal of Perugia’s San Francesco d’Assisi Airport

The two new routes represent a further step forward in expanding the network of connections offered to and from the Umbria airport, offering passengers departing from Perugia’s airport greater flexibility and travel options for both tourism and business. Departing from San Francesco d'Assisi Airport passengers will now have the opportunity to discover the natural beauty of Lampedusa, with its breathtaking beaches and crystal-clear seas, as well as the rich cultural heritage of Verona, which boasts historical monuments and a unique romantic atmosphere.

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"Thanks to super competitive fares and operating levels"

For HelloFly's CEO, Teodosio Longo “The collaboration with the Umbrian airport is a splendid one, which in addition to the connection between Umbria and Lampedusa allows us to activate a new route such as Verona, thanks to super competitive fares and operating levels.” Tickets can be purchased on www.hellofly.it or through agencies.


Published in Transportation

The fortress of Rocca Calascio is considered the Abruzzo’s picture-perfect historic movie set.

The fortress was a military observation point

Located at an altitude of 1,460 metres asl in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, it is one of the highest fortifications in Italy, and dominates the Tirino valley and the Navelli plain in the province of l'Aquila, about two hours north of Rome. On a military layout the fortress is unique for the way it blends into the impervious surrounding territory, a position chosen as it was formidable from a defensive point of view. Made of very white limestone it is on a square plan, has four cylindrical towers at the corners and a square keep in the centre which is the castle's innermost military defense structure.  The castle was an excellent military observation point, allowing communication with other castles as far as the Adriatic coast, using torches at night and mirrors during the day.

Destroyed by an earthquake in 1703

At the foot of the fortress there are also the ruins of the ancient village, to which it is connected by a wooden bridge. In 1703, a disastrous earthquake damaged both the fortress and the village. Conservative restoration work was carried out in the late 1900s and this has allowed the entire area to be discreetly preserved, and open to visitors today. 

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A popular film set

Rocca Calascio is a magical place and is famous for having been the location for many successful movies like Lady Hawke, Padre Pio and The Name of the Rose. For the beauty of the surroundings, the film industry considers the entire area, from Rocca Calascio to Santo Stefano di Sessanio, the movie set par excellence. 

In the Gran Sasso-Monti della Laga National Park

A visit to the castle is included in many of the itineraries and tours of the Gran Sasso-Monti della Laga National Park. On the road leading to Santo Stefano di Sessanio, listed as one of the Most Beautiful Small Towns in Italy you will encounter the Church of Santa Maria della Pietà, which can also be admired from the fortress.

Published in Cities & Regions

Delta Air Lines will extend its nonstop flights between New York-JFK to Venice until the first week of 2025, then resume the connection in March with the new summer schedule. 

“Venice is a popular destination for Americans” 

"We are very pleased to extend our connection from New York to Venice, a key airport in Italy," said Matteo Curcio, Delta's senior vice president EMEAI. "Venice is a popular destination in Europe for Americans, while New York remains an extremely popular and iconic city for Italians.”

Taking advantage of the seasonal adjustment of demand

“The extension to the winter season is a strategic turning point for the airport and its catchment area,- confirmed Camillo Bozzolo, aviation sales director SAVE Group. - Of all the airlines flying from North America to Venice, Delta Air Lines is the first to take advantage of the seasonal adjustment of demand, thus returning to its original operations, introducing a new travel experience that allows passengers to reach New York or Italian tourist attractions such as, among the many, the Dolomites, during the winter months.”

Four different cabin configurations

Delta Air Lines operates the New York-Venice flight with a 211-seat Boeing 767-300 aircraft, which features Delta One service classes with fully reclining seats, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and the Main Cabin. All passengers can choose from a selection of food and beverage options including carefully curated menus, specialty snacks and premium beer, wine and spirits choices. Passengers also enjoy a wide choice of entertainment options on board.

Published in Transportation

The Catacombs of St. Callixtus, on Rome’s ancient Appian Way were the official cemetery of the Church of Rome in the 3rd century A.D. 

Martyrs and popes are buried in 12 miles of galleries

Around half a million Christians were buried in these Catacombs, many of them martyrs and 16 popes. Named after the 3rd-century deacon St. Callixtus, since 1930 they have been entrusted to the custody of the Salesian Brothers of Don Bosco. Among the largest and most important catacombs in Rome, they and occupy an area of 90 acres. The network of galleries is some 12 miles long, on four levels and over twenty meters deep. The crypt of the popes, the most important and venerated in the cemetery, is called Little Vatican as it was the official burial place of nine popes. It is still possible to see the original Greek inscriptions of five popes. On four of three tombstones, near the name of the pope, there is also the title of bishop, since the Pope was, and still is, the head of the Church of Rome.

St. Callixtus Rome

The Crypt of Saint Cecilia 

Cecilia is the popular patron saint of music and was the daughter of a noble Roman family. She was martyred in the 3rd century and entombed where the state now stands. Venerated in this crypt for at least five centuries, in 821 her relics were transferred to Rome’s Trastevere district to the basilica dedicated to her. The statue in the Catacombs is a copy of the celebrated 1599 work by the sculpture Stefano Maderno.

Rome’s Catacombs were lost for centuries

When the Barbarians invaded Italy they systematically destroyed monuments and sacked many places including the city’s catacombs.  In the course of time landslides and vegetation hid the entrance to these burial chambers and all trace of their existence was lost. The exploration and scientific study of the catacombs stared centuries later with Antonio Bosio (1575-1629) nicknamed the Columbus of Subterranean Rome.  The systematic exploration of the catacombs, and in particular those of Saint Callixtus, was later carried out by Giovanni Battista de Rossi (1822.2894) who is considered the father and founder of Christian Archaeology. 

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Guided tours for visitors

In 1930 the Holy See, as the owners of the catacombs, entrusted the Catacombs of Saint Callistus to the care of the religious Congregation of the Salesians of Don Bosco. There are guided tours for visitors. For information: www.catacombesancallisto.it/en/index.php


Published in Cities & Regions

Many tourists know the elegant water city of Treviso only for its airport, Venice-Treviso, which is used by low-cost airlines thanks to its vicinity to Venice, which is just 40 minutes away by train and an hour by car.   

Frescoed facades and a historic bridge

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This charming walled city, just 20 miles from Venice, has canals, and rivers, frescoed facades, great art, wines and food, and one of Italy’s, and the world’s, most popular desserts: Tiramisù, was invented here. For over 400 years the city was part of the Venetian Republic when it boasted over a thousand frescoed facades with scenes from legends and religious themes, some of which, though faded, can still be admired today.  On the tree-lined banks of the Sile and Botteniga rivers there are ancient waterwheels and contemporary art pieces, and the Ponte Dante bridge known as Ponte dell’Impossibile Bridge, so-called because it was seemingly impossible to build a crossing on this stretch of water.

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A great city for food and wine

Treviso is closely tied to its surrounds and the vine-covered hills of the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin) area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many of the local wineries offer tours and tastings and Treviso’s most popular aperitifs are the Spritz and a glass of Prosecco. Another favourite is the Panino al Prosecco for which the bread is first soaked in Prosecco and then filled with thinly sliced mortadella, aioli garlic sauce and cheese. And no visitor can resist the local Tiramisu! 

Treviso is a city to be explored

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Treviso is also famous for its red-leaved Radicchio Trevigiano chicory which is the basis for the Risotto al Radicchio, a local and worldwide favourite. A visit to Treviso means much more than just avoiding the crowds (and the city taxes) in Venice, it is a delightful way of discovering one of Italy’s most elegant water cities.

For information: www.visittreviso.it/en/

Published in Cities & Regions

Universal Air has added flights to the Campania Salerno Costa d'Amalfi Airport from Malta.  

Universal Air operates two weekly flights on the route

This is the Maltese company Universal Air which, from 25 July, started to operate twice weekly flights from Malta, on Mondays and Thursdays. "With this route we offer a convenient and value-for-money connections from Malta to one of Italy's most beautiful regions, - said Simon Cook, managing director of Universal Air. - It has always been important for us to connect travellers with the different cultures of the Mediterranean and this route is proof of that philosophy. We are excited about the potential this new route has for both leisure and business travellers, and the wider economic impact for the destination.”

Three airlines are operating on Salerno airport

Salerno joins a number of new Universal Air routes, including Ibiza, Corfu, Nice and Pécs. In Italy, the company already operates Malta-Palermo, with three weekly flights, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Salerno airport network is therefore initially seeing the following airlines operating: easyJet, Ryanair, Volotea and, most recently, Universal Air.

Published in Transportation

Etihad Airways' connection from Abu Dhabi to Rome Fiumicino celebrated its 10th anniversary recently. 

Providing premium travel experiences

"For the past ten years the Abu Dhabi-Rome flight has been a milestone in our European operations,- said regional general manager Europe Gregoire Becouze. -Celebrating this anniversary is a testament to our dedication to provide premium travel experiences and strengthen our international connections. We are grateful to ADR for their invaluable collaboration and look forward to many more successful years together.”

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Abu Dhabi-Rome
 twice daily from 1 November

As previously announced, the flight will become a twice-daily service from 1 November 2024,  offering passengers greater flexibility and convenience, and boosting Etihad's commitment to even better service and connectivity.

"Zayed International Airport offers seamless connectivity”

"Travellers flying with Etihad Airways now have the opportunity to experience the newly opened, state-of-the-art Zayed International Airport. This modern facility offers first-class services and seamless connectivity. From Abu Dhabi, passengers arriving from Rome can connect to Etihad's network of destinations including travel hotspots that are not directly accessible from Rome Fiumicino such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai and Sydney."

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The Middle East is of growing relevance for Fiumicino airport

"The Middle East is a market of growing relevance for Fiumicino airport - added Federico Scriboni, aviation business development director Aeroporti di Roma. -Having achieved a historical record in 2023 with 1.6 million passengers carried to/from the Arabian Peninsula, in the first five months of 2024 we are seeing growth reach +27% compared to the same period last year. The success of the Abu Dhabi-Rome flight, with 11 weekly frequencies for summer 2024, is a welcome confirmation of the ongoing growth trend."

Published in Transportation

Two new passenger digital services have been introduced by Aeroporti di Roma at Rome’s Fiumicino airport.

Updates on a flight’s status 

Accessible through the Digiport platform, and designed to improve travellers' experience, the services provide real-time updates on a flight’s status and monitor boarding operations directly from smartphones thanks to the use of AI. The first service, a chatbot via WhatsApp, allows passengers to get notifications on flight status and detailed information on Fiumicino airport services. Travellers can access this dedicated chat by framing a QR code in the lower section of the Flight Info Monitor.

Livestreaming of a flight’s progress on smartphones

Smart Boarding is the name of the second service, available for gates E11-E24 of the non-Schengen boarding Pier E area. Through the use of micro-cameras coordinated by AI, the system collects and processes real-time data on boarding operations, allowing travellers to view livestreaming of their flight’s progress from their mobile phones. Updates include the percentage of completion of the boarding process, allowing passengers to decide when to join the queue.

The services were developed in partnership with Airport AI and ZestIot, two of the startups participating in the Call4ideas launched by Aeroporti di Roma at the Innovation Hub located in Fiumicino's Terminal 1. 

“We are revolutionizing the passenger experience”

"With these new digital services, we are continuing to revolutionize the passenger experience in the airport,- said Emanuele Calà, vice president Innovation & Quality Aeroporti di Roma. -Today travellers can find all the information about their flight at their fingertips, without having to check on information screens over and over again. By directly activating notifications on their smartphones and monitoring the boarding status in real-time, travellers can spend their time exploring the airport while waiting for their fight to take-off."

Published in Digital

Monte Sant’Angelo is Apulia’s cultural capital this year.

A destination for pilgrims from all over the world

This little town in Apulia is unique for many reasons: not only does it have two UNESCO sites, but an archangel chose it as his earthly home. The archangel is Michael and his home is Monte Sant'Angelo which has the Sanctuary of Saint Michael Archangel. This grotto church, where the archangel is believed to have appeared, is one of the town’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a destination for pilgrims from all over the world. And now the town is in the spotlight as the Apulia region’s Cultural Capital 2024.

Monte Sant’Angelo is in the Gargano National Park 

Monte Sant’Angelo also has an enchanted forest of thousand-year-old trees - a true nature sanctuary - which is the little town’s second UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the Gargano National Park the town is about 35 miles from Foggia which is a key transportation hub, offering various services, amenities, and connections to other parts of Italy.  

Monte Sant'Angelo ph credits: Matteo Nuzzielloph credits: Matteo Nuzziello

Not far from the Adriatic seaboard

For nature lovers the Gargano National Park offers numerous trails for hiking and nature walks and has a wide variety of flora and fauna, as well as panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea and the splendid Gargano Peninsula. Worth visiting are the 11th-century Norman Castle and the Romanesque Church of Santa Maria Maggiore with its stunning Byzantine frescoes. 

A summer packed with events 

This summer sees the UNESCO awards being celebrated with a programme of music, comedy, contemporary art, theatre, cinema, poetry, food and wine that will draw visitors from all over the world. On Saturday 6 July "A Night in the Forest” will feature food tastings and a night walk, and on Sunday 7 July the “Walk of the Two UNESCO Sites, from the forest to the sanctuary, will be both on foot and by e-bike.  On Tuesday 6 August Daniele Silvestri, one of Italy's most popular singer-songwriters, will entertain visitors and on 28 September it will be the turn of Nino Frassica, one of Italy’s best-loved comedians.

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A symposium on the Via Francigena

Contemporary art will feature in the iconic exhibition by Michelangelo Pistoletto, and from July to October the Cultural Residences will feature theatre, cinema, and poetry, ending on 18-20 October with the European Assembly of the Vie Francigena, a symposium on the historical, and still very popular, pilgrimage route known as the “Road to Rome.”   

Published in Cities & Regions
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