Half a century ago its Vital family adventure has begun in the open air
edited by Pietro Licciardi
The camping we deal with is special this time; firstly, because of its 50th anniversary and secondly because it was one of the first places in Italy of Camping Management. Now you can book the place not only as a person with impaired mobility but with many other occupancy, including expectant mothers and families with small children, the elderly, the young maybe a little bit reckless who find themselves temporarily forced in a wheelchair or using crutches after a serious fall or a descent on skis. In short, all potential holidaymakers without adequate facilities prefer to spend their holidays at home rather than in some nice camp.
The main place of Holiday Village Florenz is Camping Bungalow Park near Ferrara: comfortable houses, bungalows, large shaded pitches surrounded by lush pine forest protected from the sea by a strip of sand dunes among the best preserved of Delta Po river and of course, all the facilities you would expect from such a place: two restaurants, a pizzeria, supermarket, sports, spa area, swimming pool…
Comacchio, Florence, 50 Years Of Friendship
Owner, promoter and manager of Holiday Village Florenz is Gianfranco Vitali who inherited the family business. In fact, the beginners of the business were his parents started in 1958 in the dawn of mass tourism; they decided to grope the adventure of the open air. Of course, because at that time there were only the sea and the beauty of a small “wild places” remained more or less the same as a hundred years ago, and to open a camp in Italy when there were practically no caravans and only a few had a tent might have seemed the most real and good idea.
"But at my home we have already started to make tourism" recalls Mr. Gianfranco, "in summer we leased the bedroom out to vacationers where I and two of my brothers were sleeping and we just borrowed my father's family car to sleep in; today we would say in the station wagon. So it was almost natural for me to think about something more challenging. " I've got the idea of a campground, or a simple place of 15,000 square meters on the Lido Pomposa. "There was virtually nothing", still remembers Vitali, "except a gas station outside. So, I started my working career at the gas station".
In 1965 Vitali family rented Holiday Village Florenz's Camping Bungalow Park and a year later they had already bought the land and began to radically transform it with significant investments. Eight years already passed from the beginning of outdoor tourism that had made great strides: he saw circular trailer and not only with foreigners, alongside the Canadians in two or four seats there were also the first family houses and tourists demanded some essential services such as toilets, showers, market ..." we retracted all the planting at Florenz, replacing the poplar trees with well-twelve hundred pines; we rebuilt the bathrooms, the common services and a restaurant. Fortunately, my parents had the foresight to preserve the natural sand dunes which are still a feature of our campsite and that is why we maintain with the utmost care. "
Florenz Camping since then has continued to become better in step with the demand from increasingly loyal clientele, Italian and foreign, this place attracted not only by its proximity to national borders but also from a strategic position for tourism being Camping Bungalow Park a few kilometers from the beautiful city of Ferrara, Ravenna and Venice in particular. Without speaking, Po Delta river is one of the most fascinating areas of the North to explore by foot, by boat, on horseride or by bicycle; there you can see colonies of birds that glide over water in the largest wetland in Italy. And for the less sporty there are some attractive destinations such as the Castle of Mesola, the Pomposa Abbey, the Gorino lighthouse, the Tower of the Abbot or the historic center of Comacchio with its bridges and canals. Without neglecting there you can have a refreshing break in one of the numerous restaurants, taverns and restaurants which offer typical local dishes, especially for fish: fish and seafood, with oysters, mantis shrimp and mussels, as well as the inevitable eels.
But an important year for Florenz is 2006 when with the help of Roberto Vitali, the president of Holiday Village Florenz, the path to success has begun. "With Roberto we have discovered a world," confides the owner of Holiday Village Florenz, "in fact, consolidated experiences abroad and a new awareness on the issues of disability in our country show that there is a significant number of potential customers who renounce holidays in the impossibility of finding structures to satisfy some of their needs. Above all, we discovered that it is simplistic to think only in terms of the accessibility barriers to be removed, to allow wheelchair users to move freely".
Make camping accessible meant to make more than 37 comfortable houses without barriers appreciated by customers without particular problems, rethink the internal road and especially to equip the beach to allow wheelchairs and strollers to move on the sand while the pool has been equipped with special aids to immerse people with reduced mobility. The result, as pointed out by Gianfranco Vitali was impressive: "Today the tourism revenue is available for 15 per cent of the total but our greatest satisfaction was to enable a strong integration between the customer and the other able-bodied. This project has led us in 2014 a prestigious award, conferred by the European Commission. In fact, we were the only Italian company awarded accommodation."
But this is not the only satisfaction for the management and all the staff of Florenz. Moreover, as it was mentioned in the opening Florenz - that in 2014 a "4-star" has changed its name to Holiday Village Florenz - turned fifty, fifty years of activity through the whole evolution of the open air in our country. Certainly, an event to be celebrated, "and in fact, we have prepared a full calendar of events, mostly musical," announced the owner "thanks to our customers. And thanks to them we have reached this milestone.We are friends, because it would be simplistic to call them even customers who are continuously for fifty years with us, as Manfred Vaubel, a German who was also honored by our mayor. Such constancy is the best recognition for our hospitality; I talk about my family, but also of the territory which in recent years has increasingly developed its tourism.
Yet after half a century, the world of “open air” has changed and even much more than we expacted; is not that true? "It radically changed. Now you do not go camping because it is more economic vacation. Many years ago you slept in a tent, you did food on gas stoves and it was more than satisfied if there were fresh running water, some shower and toilet. Now you choose the camping which also changed its name to the recreational center most of the time and always to stay in closer contact with nature having the opportunity to be immersed in green, literally a stone's throw from the beach and most of the time out of the towns but with all the amenities of a hotel: restaurants and swimming pool are included. Today the most developed campgrounds offer a wide choice of accommodation: from luxury to budget and pitches each equipped with services and then free wi-fi, internet, TV and air conditioning ... as I said, all there “It is a first class hotel”.
Mr. Vitali with his more than fifty years of experience will be considered the doyen among entrepreneurs of outdoor tourism in his area.
"I am president Faita Emilia Romagna for the past twenty years and I know the reality of my region. I have witnessed a steady growth of companies that have invested and are now aligned with market demands. I always urge colleagues to focus on quality, because I think this is the only possible way today; I reckon that the task of such an association is also indicated to shareholders market trends and facilitate the exchange of the information and experience in order to accelerate the process of growth and avoid mistakes."