Best Italian Creative Destination Awards: interview with Cecilia Del Re, Florence Tourism Councilor

Florence is one of the most loved cities in the world: every year millions of people cross oceans and travel kilometers to see its wonders for themselves. This is a city with a thousand faces: the best known of art with its palaces, churches, museum rooms; the historical one of tradition and know-how, up to the tasty aspect of food and wine culture and typical products. There is the historical face, a history that belongs to Florence and all of Italy; there is a language, which was the basis on which Italian was formed. But there is also a strongly creative vein, that of the artisan tradition and the care of the landscape, with which the whole territory has been shaped in search of beauty.

Best Italian Creative Destination Awards is an initiative created by the international organization Creative Tourism Network® with the aim of enhancing and promoting Italian tourist destinations that focus on culture, creativity and intangible heritage to reinvent their tourism model. The call is one of the various projects promoted by the global creative tourism network in the context of 2021, declared by the United Nations “International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development”.

Florence was awarded as “Best Italian Creative Destination” (city category).

To learn about the strategy adopted by Florence in the context of creative tourism, we interviewed Cecilia del Re, Councilor for Urban Planning, Environment, Urban Agriculture, Tourism, Fairs and Congresses, Technological Innovation, Information Systems, Coordination of Recovery Plan Projects, Smart City, Unesco Management Plan.


Congratulations again on the well-deserved award. Why do you consider it important to foster creative / experiential tourism in your territory?

The search for experiences, the personalization of the stay, the creativity applied to “staying” in a place, have become the new trends, from which tourism promotion cannot ignore. It is not just about doing different things, but it is a way to get more in touch with the place chosen for your vacation. The experiences guarantee authenticity and immersion in the local culture, creativity enriches the journey and stay, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the territory in close contact with traditions, values, customs and traditions. is the place where you can find suggestions, information, creative proposals for unusual itineraries, innovative visit tools, from APPs, to interactive maps, to the guided tours of the City of Florence Guides that we recommend you to experiment to truly discover the unique aspects of the city, but also of the territory and the naturalistic environment.

In your opinion, what are the intangible assets (gastronomy, traditions, music, crafts, etc.) of your territory with the greatest tourist potential?

The tradition of Florence in the artisan field is a very important resource not only as a productive activity but also as an identity of a territory. The skills of the artisans are handed down from generation to generation and this transmission of knowledge keeps alive the techniques that we can certainly define ancient, but which are able to produce unique objects.

Enogastronomy is also a heritage that every Italian region preserves with care and obviously also in Tuscany and Florence there are culinary traditions and typical preparations handed down from generation to generation. The many cooking classes, tasting moments and shopping tours to the markets are an example of this approach. In fact, linked to the typical recipes, there are local products, whose origin is often certified: from vegetables to meats, from extra virgin olive oil to DOCG wines. Through the product, the territory is rediscovered, through the typical recipes to taste, but also to experience directly, you come into contact with culture and tradition. Finally, the wine tours have fully entered among the most important tourist products.

Alongside craftsmanship and food and wine, we cannot forget the Italian language and culture, another intrinsic intangible heritage of the territory that is chosen and experienced by many people from all over the world.

Italian is the 4th most studied language in the world after English, Spanish and Chinese; Italian was trained on cultured Tuscan and the teaching of our language is taken care of in the city by many schools that offer language and culture courses, accommodation and related experiences. The Municipality of Florence has promoted and supported the Be.Long project which will soon be launched by the Destination Florence Convention & Visitors Bureau, intended precisely to provide all types of services and support to students, smart workers, start uppers and all those who wish to experience Florence. and its territory for medium to long periods.

Which of these resources would you like to promote more as it identifies and represents your local culture?

Craftsmanship is certainly a vital sector that we would like to see promoted. The pandemic crisis has hit him hard but when he starts again he will have the opportunity to be popular again. It is one of the most popular experiences: visiting an artisan workshop, seeing how an artifact is born, which tools are used, which techniques; see the finished object, have the opportunity to buy it, but also to participate in its creation; come into contact with abilities whose existence was unknown, which perhaps tickle us an innate creativity. This usually occurs in shops that are in the historic center, in buildings that are not noticeable or attract us from the outside. A visit to an artisan workshop and meeting a craftsman, hearing love and passion for your work from your voice means truly entering the heart of a culture and getting to know it from the inside. Creativity and craftsmanship have merged into a community that can be visited on the portal dedicated to all the energies of our territory known throughout the world as the cradle of creativity. An interactive network of characters, places, projects and activities that form the productive fabric of our city.

What kind of creative tourism proposals would you like to offer in your area?

Creativity resides for us in the innovative approach to an area already famous all over the world, a well-known brand that we intend to enhance and renew from time to time, highlighting its peculiarities and telling its story. The journey becomes a creative experience that the traveler can personalize by taking advantage of suggestions, itineraries and direct experiences: from craftsmanship to food and wine, from popular traditions to innovation in the arts … Discover the territory through its flavors, its famous characters, to literature, but also the landscape, naturalistic excursions, different approaches proposed in a creative and changing key, to be adapted to one’s expectations and preferences to make the experience unique. Experience must mean that series of emotions and actions that make a trip or a holiday unforgettable, a set of intersecting factors that also characterize the chosen place, making it unique in its kind. In 2006, UNESCO also provided a definition that we believe to be explanatory of the concept of creative tourism: “a direct journey towards an authentic and committed experience, with participatory learning in the arts, culture or life of local characters, which provides a bond with those who live in this place and generate this living culture ”.

Interview conducted by Ilaria Coribello