Renaissance offers groups ‘la dolce vita’ in central Italy
There’s a famous quote that says, “Traveling is the ruin of all happiness! There’s no looking at a building after seeing Italy.” I tend to agree.
Tuscany’s medieval buildings are particularly enthralling, as are its towering mountains and sunny landscapes. Along with these vistas, meeting and incentive groups can enjoy the fabulous food, wine and hospitality characteristic of this region of central Italy.
Flights into Florence or Pisa bring participants within taxi or van distance of the Sergio Valley in northern Tuscany. The hour-plus drive to the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco winds guests past centuries-old villages topped by ancient bell towers, small farms and vineyards. The hotel rests within 1,500 acres bordering the Garanfanga region near the Apuan Alps.
And in case you are working with VIPs, fly them to the property by helicopter and land at the resort’s private helipad.
Upon arrival, guests enter the lobby for check-in, but will likely return to this welcoming venue to converse over a glass of wine or morning coffee. Equally comforting are the guestrooms. Gregarious General Manager Georges Midleje jokingly says he gets so many inquiries about where to buy the bedding, he thinks he should open a franchise. Most Americans will find the marble-appointed bathrooms a bit small, but the balconies compensate with spectacular views.
The tiny medieval town of Barga lies across from the resort, presenting itself like a Renaissance painting. The town looks almost close enough to hit with a stone, but in reality it takes 10 minutes to drive down hairpin turns to reach the hamlet. Visitors enter the old city through ancient arched stone gates and meander along tiny cobblestone alleyways that lead to a surprising number of open piazzas. Attendees can embrace la dolce vita, the sweet life, and stop for an espresso, gelato or glass of wine and savor the ambiance of the moment as well as the view.
The Renaissance Tuscany’s meeting space is located in a separate building behind the main hotel (with adjacent parking), yet connected through the fifth-floor walkway. Glass walls provide glimpses of Barga and the bucolic countryside. Planners will find a combined 18,708 sq. ft. of flexible spaces within 11 venues, all with windows except one. Salone Pascoli provides the setting for a larger conference, with seating for 500 to nearly 1,000. All conference rooms feature state-of-the-art technology, and knowledgeable AV operators are on hand.
Outdoor patios and vine-covered terraces make glorious spots for cocktail parties, small group meals or breakout snacks. The Penthouse and Presidential Suites are ideal for a reception or intimate dinner party. In all, the hotel contains 180 guestrooms including valley-view rooms and three new Junior Suites.
The fifth floor of the resort houses a spa with 12 treatment rooms, a sauna, whirlpool, indoor pool and relaxation lounge. An outdoor pool, located below the main restaurant, is seasonally open to all guests. The surrounding National Park-like acres are ideal for teambuilding experiences such as horseback riding, ATVing and mountain biking.