Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Italy

An insider's guide to hosting meetings, events, conferences and incentives in Italy.

Why Italy for Your Next Meeting or Event?

This European country, famed for its beauty, art, food, fashion and history, is equally renowned for its excellent meetings, convention and incentive offerings. Italy held an impressive International Congress and Convention Association ranking (sixth) for hosting the most international meetings in 2019. Following a year that hampered the global meetings industry, the country is ready to welcome the MICE market again at its vast array of venues in the major meeting destinations of Rome, Milan and Florence, and to host memorable experiences throughout this well-loved country.

Only in Italy

With 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and countless attractions and activities, Italy offers myriad options for wowing groups. Whether it's gazing at the peaks of the Alps; swimming in the turquoise waters of Sicily; admiring Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper in Milan; exploring the legendary Amalfi Coast, or wandering through the seaside villages of Cinque Terre, the country dazzles in every way.

Travel Essentials


Taxes:
VAT, 22 percent;  additional hotel fee, 1 euro per person, per night for three‐star hotels; 1.40 euros per person, per night for four‐star hotels; and 1.70 euros per person, per night for five‐star hotels; total tax on hotel rooms, 22 percent, plus individual hotel fee

Convention Centers

Contacts:

Local Currency: Euro

Power: 230 volt

Time Zone: Central European Time (6 hours ahead of EST) 

Transportation

Flights between the U.S. and italy are offered at the following airports:

  • Milan Malpensa Airport, about 23 miles from Milan. Transfer cost by taxi, about $86‐$134, by bus, about $12, by train, about $16. 

  • Rome Fiumicino Airport, about 19 miles from Rome. Transfer cost by taxi, about $37, by bus, about $6.40, by train, about $10.

PARTNER CONTENT

Meeting and Event Venues

New & Coming Soon to Italy

• The city of Padua, in northern Italy’s Veneto region, will debut its new conference center in 2022. Located in the northern part of the Fiera di Padova exhibition center, the new conference facility will accommodate 3,500 attendees. Planners can make use of the venue’s two auditoriums, one with 1,600 seats and the other with 1,090, as well as five multipurpose rooms. 

• Set to debut in late 2021 is the W Rome. The 162-room property, located near the Spanish Steps, is set inside two revamped 19th-century structures, and will have 645 square feet of event space as well as a gym and spa. Dining and entertainment options include Giano, a Sicilian restaurant headed by Michelin-starred chef Ciccio Sultano, Zucchero x Fabrizio Fiorani, a dessert purveyor, and Otto, a rooftop bar and restaurant.

• Now open in Florence is Il Tornabuoni, a 62‐room luxury hotel set in the 12th‐century Palazzo Minerbetti. Part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, the property has five restaurants, a fitness center and one small meeting room.

• Extensive renovations have brought new sheen to the Helvetia & Bristol Florence, a member of Leading Hotels of the World near the Palazzo Strozzi. The property, which dates to 1885, has restored its historic wing, refurbished existing guest rooms and added an additional 25 rooms to its inventory. A new restaurant, the Bristol Winter Garden, features a 12-seat dining area available for private events, and a new pastry boutique, headed by Italian master pastry Chef Iginio Massari, is to open soon.

• Among the latest hotels in Italy to reopen its doors to guests and groups is Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts, perched in the Tuscan countryside. Designed as a nature-based retreat, the 151-room property offers various activities and diversions, including spa treatments, cooking classes truffle hunting, horseback riding, swimming in the indoor and outdoor pools and golfing at the 27-hole Castelfalfi Golf Club. Meeting and event space is also available on-site.

• Fans of Harry’s Bar Firenze, a legendary Florence bar and restaurant that dates to 1953, now have a new option for enjoying its legendary ambiance. The company has opened a second restaurant, Harry’s Bar The Garden, at the Sina Villa Medici hotel (https://www.sinahotels.com/en/h/sina-villa-medici-florence/), a 99-room luxury hotel in Florence that’s a member of Marriott International’s Luxury Collection. Located in the property’s poolside garden, the new dining venue serves specialties including antipasti, pasta, meat and fish.

• Two new luxury properties,perfect for incentive groups, are coming soon to Southern Italy. On Sicily, the Four Seasons San Domenico Palace in Taormina is to open in 2021. The 111-room property, set in a 14th-century convent and offers stunning views of Mount Etna and an ancient Greek theater, has 18,300 square feet of meeting and event space. In Puglia, on the southeast Adriatic coast of Italy, a 150-room Four Seasons property is being built. At press time, an opening date had not been announced. 

 More Meeting & Event Venues in Italy

  • In Florence, the Palazzo dei Congressi provides a beautiful setting for groups within the 19th‐century Villa Vittoria. The venue features a 1,000‐seat auditorium, as well as event spaces graced with painted glass windows and original mosaic floors. For large groups, the venue can easily be combined with another noteworthy nearby facility: the Fortezza da Basso, which was originally commissioned by the first Duke of Florence in the 14th century. With an overall surface of more than 861,000 square feet, the historic venue is often used for trade fairs. 

  • Groups looking for a truly rejuvenating experience can stay at the 124-room Terme di Saturnia Natural Spa & Golf Resort, which reopened in 2020 in Tuscany’s Maremma countryside. The property offers a variety of health-minded programs for attendees, including spa treatments with water from a thermal spring that has attracted visitors for centuries. The hotel has a 250-person meeting room and a championship golf course.
  • In the magical city of Venice, top choices for meetings and events include the Venice Convention Center, which includes the 1,032‐seat Palazzo del Cinema, host of the famed Venice International Film Festival. The Palazzo del Casino, meanwhile, hosts gala dinners, meetings, with multiple theaters, meeting rooms and more than 37,673 square feet of exhibition space. 

  • Another Venice venue of note is the Arsenale di Venezia, a historic group of former shipyards and armories that dates to 1104. The facility provides a variety of dramatic backdrops for events, including indoor and outdoor spaces for meetings, receptions, dinners and exhibitions. The largest single indoor space measures 37,674 square feet.

  •  Punta della Dogana, a former Venice customs house, was built in the 17th century on the San Marco basin. The beautiful tower and sculpture of two Atlases creates visual intrigue for temporary art exhibitions as well as meetings and events. Reopened to the public in May 2021, the venue features the Cube, a 2,110‐square‐ foot central event space, a 743‐square‐foot café and three terraces, each of which measure nearly 260 square feet.

  • The northern Italian city of Rimini is another popular destination for hosting meetings and events in Italy. At the Palacongressi di Rimini, planners can make use of a high-tech, eco‐friendly space that includes more than 118,000 square feet of exhibit space and 39 meeting rooms, and offers an on-site studio for hybrid events.

  • In the southern Italian city  of Naples, the Stazione Marittima di Napoli offers 18 meeting rooms that accommodate between 20 and 1,800 delegates. Adjacent to the venue is the Smart Hotel Napoli, which opened in 2020 with 59 rooms, a business center and meeting space. 

Things to Do in Italy

Rome

  • Groups can experience Rome's spectacular history at Viaggio Nei Fori, a multimedia show that takes place nightly between July 8 and November 8. Attendees travel through 2,000 years of Rome's past as they witness ancient life and architecture through lights, sound and projections at the Forum of Augustus. A similar high‐tech show, set at the Forum of Caesar, is to resume at a future date.

  • Near Rome is the lovely Villa d’Este, a 16th-century villa that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guided tours make it easy for attendees to appreciate the beauty of the main villa, multiple gardens and fish ponds.

  • What's a trip to Italy without some indulgence in its gastronomical delights? Delegates can sample the country's famous frozen treat, gelato, at seveal famed spots in the Eternal City. Among these are Il Gelato di San Crispino, which serves creams, sorbets and meringues close to the famous Trevi Fountain, Fatamorgana, which specializes in creative flavor combinations made with all‐natural ingredients, and Gelateria della Palma, which scoops up more than 150 flavors; eggnog and Kit‐Kat are two delicious examples.


Milan 

  • Among the many noteworthy historic attractions in Milan is Duomo di Milano, a cathedral that dates to 1386 and was completed over nearly six centuries. Participants can learn the history of this magnificent architectural landmark as they tour the expansive terraces and the Duomo museum. Groups can also arrange personalized tours and make use of several spaces for private events.

  • Planners can infuse their events with artistic flair by organzing a visit to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, an historic library in Milan founded in 1607. A variety of guided tours are available, providing informative viewings of the facility's collection of works by great Renaissance masters, including the world's largest collections of original da Vinci drawings. 


Florence 

  • The legacy of famed Italian poet Dante Alighieri lives on throughout his birth city, Florence. Visit Tuscany has created a self‐guided walking tour called Dante's Florence that highlights a number of important landmarks from his life there. Stops include the Santa Maria Novella Basilica, which hosted theological and philosophical classes attended by Dante, and Palazzo Vecchio, the former palace and seat of the city government, which now houses a museum that displays Dante's funeral mask.Visit Tuscany can also arrange private group tours of Dante's Florence.

  • Organize a tour of Florence's Palazzo Strozzi, an art museum set in a 15th‐century palace. Rotating exhibitions grace the expansive halls throughout the year. The venue also hosts seminars and training sessions for groups from other museums, as well as educational and university faculty.

  • The Legends of Florence evening walking tour offered by Accord Solutions introduces groups to Florence’s attractions while highlighting some lesser-known aspects of the city’s history. The tour even throws in some ghost stories for atmospheric effect. Participants receive a “Mystery Tuscany” DVD that explores the region’s rich history.