Anna Andersson is the Nordic Markets manager for the Italian National Tourist Board. She tells us why Italy is the ideal destination for the LGBTQ+ traveller.
Anna, you’re the Manager for Nordic Markets at ENIT-ANT / The Italian National Tourist Board. What is the most enjoyable part of your work?
The product! You simply don’t ever get tired of Italy, it is so very much diversified – there are always new areas and villages to explore, always activities yet to experience, new concepts and culture expressions to live and to convince people to go find.
Italy as a united country is just 160 years old, so every region has developed local traditions, art and way of life – not to mention the local food! It is quite hard to reach the moment you can say, “Well, I have visited Italy, I know Italy” – just choose the neighbouring village next time and you will be amazed again!
Why is Italy the ideal destination for the LGBTQ+ traveller? What can it offer them that other destinations cannot?
One of the precious values of Italy is the genuine hospitality, the open-hearted and loving attitude of the Italians. I think it’s as simple as that. But the Italian National Tourist Board is also very much committed to support initiatives to develop awareness on LGBTQ+ inclusiveness, for example the IGLTA Convention that will be hosted in Milan next year, and the website QueerVadis.com of AITGL, the Italian National Association for Gay and Lesbian Travel. When we decided to be present at Copenhagen World Pride we invited partners representing different destinations in Italy to join us, and we immediately got enthusiastic replies. So, the idea of inclusiveness is very much a call to action also for the regional tourist boards in Italy, and I hope and do believe the LGBTQ+ traveller will feel the welcoming spirit.
How is the country managing with the Covid situation, especially in terms of
I’m happy to say: just fine! Meaning, we have had tough times, you all know that, but we are back on track, and you can go ahead with the planning of your next trip to Italy. Just in time for summer, as the number of new Covid cases has been steadily low for weeks, and, as the vaccinations are proceeding very well, the Italian government has released the reopening letting us enjoy Italy in quite a normal way. If you have worries or questions you can always find updated information of the status at our web site italia.it.
If you could only visit three attractions in the whole of Italy, which would they be?
This is the most common question and always the hardest one, because I always find new favourite spots! Also because it depends on the season, who you travel with, and what kind of stay you are looking for. You will find some of my favourite destinations here, but I also very much enjoy the south of Italy, as well as historic towns like Genoa, Parma and Trieste. And the lake district! A slight extension of “three”, sorry…
Describe to me a perfect one week’s stay in Italy.
If in summer – and summer continues at least all of September – find accommodation in a historic village by the sea, from where you can enjoy also hiking or biking in the closeby hinterland and take the train to a bigger city for a culture and shopping day. If in winter, stroll the streets of a city yet to discover, taking my time to explore hidden angles and with lots of restaurant pleasures. Or skiing in the sun!
Let’s talk about food. What is your idea of the ultimate Italian “foodie” experience?
The one that you find accepting the menu of the day written only in Italian! If that sounds terrifying, be sure to order local dishes made of local produce. Let go of the idea that a dish must be complicated – “less is more” is very much the key to Italian cooking, but always with a focus on high quality products. Start the dinner adventure with “antipasti misti”, enjoy it with a nice wine, and end it up with a visit to a nearby gelateria.
Finally, sum up Italy and the Italians in three words.
LOVE – HAPPINESS – AMAZE