If you ask us, our friends or any other person living in a van what it means to live there, you will most likely get the same answer: freedom.
The vanlife philosophy is about exploring the world and embracing a nomadic lifestyle.
It is about living life on one’s own terms, without being tied to an eight-hour job or a specific location.
You can go wherever you want and still make a home wherever you end up.
This lifestyle is incredibly freeing and has been adopted by those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life, like us!
It is a lifestyle that encourages personal growth, exploration and adventure, as most of the time we don’t know where we will end up and every day is a discovery, finding ourselves in new places and meeting people we have never met before.
We do not have to worry about the daily grind or the stress of everyday life as we can focus on what interests us, being free to explore the world at our own pace.
Taking your time
Vanlife encourages people to explore, always creating new memories, and to take their time, instead of always rushing.
It also encourages us to live a minimalist lifestyle, appreciating even the simple things that life has to offer, as a van like ours has only limited space available and you can only carry what is strictly necessary.
For example, before life in the van, we never expected that a washing machine and freshly laundered clothes could make us so happy!
The experience of living in a van is different for everyone, and there is no two people who can experience the same, but one thing we all have in common is the excitement that comes from being on the open road.
Many vanlifers find that they have a strong connection with the places they visit, the people they meet and the nature that surrounds them as they travel, and they seek out more and more destinations that can give them these feelings, and so do we.
The vanlife philosophy also involves a lot of do-it-yourself, in fact building your own van is an integral part of this lifestyle and also a great way to save money as well as to have the freedom to design your own home to your liking.
Building your own van
Building starts from the design of the interior to the customisation of the exterior, all the way to the installation of electrical and water systems, and that is exactly what we did!
After buying our empty T5, we created our own little home on four wheels.
There is everything we need: running water, electricity, a bed and space to store our luggage. We can even climb to the roof using a fixed ladder, on which we have installed another water tank with storage boxes and a solar panel for self-generating electricity.
The interior is designed to have a large seating area during the day, transforming into a bed during the night with a few simple steps.
It was also important to us that the design was photogenic, small details such as garlands and fairy lights make our van even cosier.
When arriving at a tourist destination such as a holiday village, van travellers must consider how to park and how to access services such as electricity, water and sewage. It is therefore important to find out about these aspects before arriving in order to ensure that your stay is as comfortable and trouble-free as possible.
Furthermore, it is essential to be aware of all local laws and regulations that may apply.
Life in a van becomes much easier when we choose a pitch in a holiday camp.
For example, since we do not have a toilet in our small van, we are grateful to have a toilet and shower, which are obviously available on the campsite.
Even cooking or washing dishes is more fun when you have hot running water at your disposal and do not have to worry about safety.
BiHoliday resorts are located in Caorle, Italy, and in Fazana, Croatia.
In addition to the availability of mobile homes, apartments and a hotellerie service, they have numerous pitches for tents, caravans and RVs, ideal for those wishing to spend a holiday in nature and relaxation.
Pitches are spacious and shady, with electricity connection and shared toilets and showers (also equipped with private bathrooms).
A service RV area, with black and grey water drainage, is also available.
The Villages offers a wide range of activities for their guests, including large swimming pools with slides, an aquapark, tennis courts, five-a-side football, beach volleyball, padel etc, a mini-club and an outdoor fitness area.
In addition, the villages organise animation for both adults and children, with games, tournaments and evening shows.
For those wishing to explore the surrounding area, San Francesco Village is strategically located close to Venice, Caorle and its beaches, the Livenza River and the many tourist attractions nearby.
The BiVillage is just minutes from Fažana and Pula, overlooking the beautiful Brijuni Islands archipelago.
Moreover, our staff is always available to provide information and assistance to guests, ensuring a pleasant and comfortable stay.
We are Annika and Mathias, German travel photographers.
We developed our passion for travel and photography over the last few years together and have travelled to all 7 continents ever since.
Photography has been our main job for the past year and half of it has been spent in our van.
Pula is one of the most dynamic Croatian centres in Istria, the small triangular peninsula bordering the northern waters of the Adriatic Sea, and is known, like the rest of the Istria region, for its mild climate, calm sea and unspoiled nature.
Like any seaside town, its history is a layering of different peoples, traditions, constructions and bombings, making it one of the most interesting centres in the entire area.
Pula and its Arena
Although a legend says that the first inhabitants of Pula were Jason and the Argonauts, the actual founding of the city took place thanks to the Romans, who conquered the area in 177 B.C. and built the city around 46 B.C. as a colony of Roman citizens (known then as Pietas Iulia).
The city’s glorious Roman past can still be felt as you stroll through its streets, dotted with emblematic monuments, first and foremost its amphitheatre, the best-preserved ancient monument in Croatia.
The amphitheatre, also known as the Arena of Pula, dominates the entire city centre and is its most iconic symbol. It is the sixth largest surviving amphitheatre and was built between 2 B.C. and 14 A.D. at the behest of the first emperor, Augustus.
However, the shape we see today is the result of an extension ordered by Vespasian, the same emperor who built the Colosseum. Vespasian wanted the Arena to host gladiator fights that could be admired by 23,000 spectators.
The reasons for the Arena’s renovation
However, the story goes that the intention to bribe the public was not the only reason behind this renovation; there was a very personal one: to pay homage to a woman, Cenis, a native of Pula and the emperor’s official mistress.
The Arena, named after the Latin word harena (the sand on which gladiators used to fight) is the only one surviving today to preserve the square corner towers that characterised this type of building.
Here, aromatic water was stored in special cisterns, two per tower, which was used to supply some fountains or to be sprayed on people during hot days.
The amphitheatre was located just outside the Roman walls, on sloping ground, an inconvenience overcome by its architects with a basement higher towards the sea, on whichtwo levels of round arches supported by massive pillars and, above these, an attic, pierced by quadrangular openings, still stand today.
The entire building was made of limestone, unfortunately partly used in later centuries to construct other buildings in the area.
An interesting fact
In the Renaissance period, when the city was under the rule of the Venetian Republic, known as La Serenissima, some nobles even suggested dismantling the entire amphitheatre stone by stone in order to rebuild it in Venice.
Fortunately, the Venetian senator Gabriele Emo vigorously opposed this, and the inhabitants of Pula, in order to thank him, dedicated a statue to him, which can still be admired near this imposing monument.
The Temple of Augustus
The Arena is not the only evidence that Pula was a flourishing city of the Roman Empire, with its lively harbour and ancient forum. One of the most important buildings of this area still exists today: the Temple of Augustus.
This elegant monument of soaring dimensions was built between 2 B.C. and 14 A.D. at the behest of Octavian Augustus, who had already commissioned the Arena.
The sacred building, with its fine Corinthian columns, experienced similar vicissitudes to those of the Parthenon in Athens: transformed into a church and then into a granary, it was eventually damaged by the Allied bombing raids during the Second World War, a period when the city was in the hands of the German army.
Fortunately, a careful restoration has fully restored its beauty.
The atrocities of war only in very rare and fortunate circumstances can bring benefits: this is the case of an extensive floor mosaic, discovered by the very same Allied bombs that collapsed part of the forum temple.
Its decoration sees an orderly alternation of geometric motifs and natural elements belonging to flora and fauna; however, among these more common subjects, the central panel of the left-hand section stands out, depicting the punishment of Dirce, a subject that was not very common in ancient times.
The triumphal Arch of the Sergii
There is one last Roman monument that deserves to be seen for its incredible state of preservation and for how much it has been loved over the years by artists, among them the famous Michelangelo Buonarroti.
This is the triumphal Arch of the Sergii; the matron Salvia Postuma had it built in honour of her husband Lucius Sergius Lepidus next to one of the city gates between 25 and 10 B.C., as the dedication inscription on the attic reads erected.
It is a single-arched arch, framed by two pairs of elegant, slender columns of Corinthian style. Its decoration is much more refined than that of the contemporary Arch of Augustus in Rimini: quadrigas, putti holding festoons laden with flowers and fruit, and the ever-present winged Victories, which have always been essential elements of this type of monuments.
Not only treasures from Roman times
Pula does not only preserve artistic treasures from the Roman period. In the city centre, there are several monuments that testify to the Medieval period, Venetian rule, and later periods: Austro-Hungarian, Italian, Nazi and Yugoslav.
The Town hall and the Pula Cathedral
The Town hall, located in the Forum Square, which was repeatedly altered in the following centuries, and the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was also enlarged and underwent several subsequent interventions, date back to the medieval period.
One of these, dated between 1671 and 1707, led to the construction of the bell tower, for which a large amount of material from the Roman Arena was used.
The Chapel of Santa Maria Formosa and the Monastery of St Francis
Two other sacred buildings should certainly be mentioned for their value: the first is the Chapel of Santa Maria Formosa, part of an abbey complex that was later demolished. It is one of the main early Christian monuments in Byzantine style in Istria, whose appearance was very similar to that of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna.
It was inspired by this small Italian masterpiece, with the difference that for the Pula Chapel, stone and not brick was used as a building material.
The interior must have been extremely majestic, decorated with precious mosaics, the remains of which can be seen in the Archaeological Museum of Istria.
The second building worth mentioning is the Monastery of St Francis, whose church was built in the early 14th century and features the characteristic simple style of Franciscan complexes, with late Romanesque elements combined with Gothic decorative details.
The Castle and the Fortresses
Moving on to the period when Pula was under Venetian rule, it is worth mentioning one monument of great importance, from which one can enjoy a stunning view of the city: the Castle, a Venetian fortress located on the top of the main hill overlooking the harbour.
Its quadrangular shape surrounded by four pike-shaped bastions was designed around 1630 by the French architect Antoine De Ville, commissioned by the Venetian government, which was interested in defending Pula, a centre of fundamental importance for maritime traffic in the Northern Adriatic, from possible external attacks.
This is not the only military monument in the city, there are several fortresses dating back to the Austro-Hungarian period that can be visited today; they were part of an efficient and complex defensive network designed to protect the most important military harbour in the empire. These include the Varudella fortress, reconfigured to house the city’s aquarium, the largest in Croatia.
The statue of James Joyce
It is impossible to end this walk in search of the beauties of Pula without mentioning one of the last artistic masterpieces the city has endowed itself with. It is the bronze statue of James Joyce, placed between the tables of the café “Uliks” (Ulysses in Croatian) just like the title of his most famous novel.
The artwork, created by the famous Croatian sculptor Mate Čvrljak in 2003, pays tribute to the Irish writer who for a brief period of his life taught English just a few steps away from this café from which he continues to sip his coffee even today under the shadow of the Arena.
There would still be many details to be told about the city of Pula and its varied and unique heritage, but to really discover them, all you have to do is stroll through its streets, explore its museums, attend its events, and immerse yourself in its history.
BiVillage and the Brijuni Islands
The BiVillage, located in Fažana on the coast of Istria opposite the Brijuni Islands, is the ideal place for those who wish to explore this beautiful archipelago.
This group of 14 islands was proclaimed a national park in 1983. Each island has its own natural beauty and the national park offers numerous activities for visitors, such as hiking, horseback riding, boat trips and scuba diving.
One of the most exciting attractions on the main island is the Safari Park, where visitors can see exotic animals such as zebras, elephants, etc.
In addition to nature and wildlife, the Brijuni Islands also offer a rich cultural history.
The first historical mention dates back to 384 AD and during the following centuries, the archipelago was inhabited by peoples such as the Romans and the Venetians. Throughout history, it was also used as a military base during World War I and as the summer residence of the Yugoslav President Tito in the 1950s and 1960s.
Today, the Brijuni Islands are an important tourist destination in Croatia, offering visitors an unparalleled experience of nature, culture and history.
The islands are easily accessible from the mainland and offer high-quality accommodation, restaurants and bars where you can enjoy local cuisine and fine Istria wines.
The journey from Venice to Croatia of the artwork briccole by Enrico Marcato
In Munich, in the elegant surroundings of the Lodenfrey Park, the BiHoliday group presented the summer season 2023 to the foreign press.
To do so, they chose an original art project, entitled “I Say Art“: narrating a journey. The project involves the two villages managed by the group: BiVillage in Croatia and San Francesco Village in Caorle.
What are briccole?
Briccole are wooden poles – installed up to thousands already at the time of the Serenissima, on which the city physically stands. They characterise the Venetian lagoon and have many uses: they are precious “signposts” fundamental for finding one’s way among the shallows, they are instruments used to moor boats along the canals, they are also supports – they can be recognised by their T-shaped head – indispensable for holding up piers..
Three briccole, first exhibited in Venice on the occasion of the recent Biennale Arte exhibition, have been resettled from the atelier of the artist Enrico Marcato to a stretch of coastline in Croatia, at the BiVillage.
The artworks have been placed in such a place that guests of the village and anyone walking along the promenade will be able to admire them. In order to give the idea of the project, a smaller measuring briccola was brought to Munich and exhibited for presentation.
Once such wooden poles come to the end of their lives, Marcato initiates them for reuse, turning them into artworks.
I tried and experimented until I found something specific to Enrico: the Venetian briccole, depicted from 1500 onwards by any artist in their paintings: from Tintoretto to Canaletto, just to name a couple. They are the silent guardians of Venice.
Therefore, 15 years ago I started to retrieve them and apply strokes of colour to make them look alive again. If we talk about this BiHoliday-related project, the one thing that gratifies me, from the human point of view, is knowing that my artwork has travelled from Venice – the mother city – all the way to Croatia.
And the BiVillage in Fažana, where they are installed, is a mirror image of Venice.
Where else is it possible to see artwork briccole other than in Croatia?
Many of them are held in private collections. However, in Miami you can see them, standing outside the Cipriani Restaurant.
In Montreal, Canada, they are located at the Aldo Bensadoun Foundation. Then some are in Paris, in Ibiza. And now also in Croatia.
Art as a language of values
BiHoliday embraces Art as a language of values, as well as expressing that Art-Activism which today allows us to talk about socially significant issues.
These include BiHoliday emphasising the value of an area and its respect for everything that surrounds it, such as the reuse of materials (and the revival of the briccole is an actual example of this).
But the project does not end here. There is also a second part that will be revealed shortly, and that will complete the Italy-Croatia journey, in the opposite direction.
Enrico Marcato, 47, lives between Padua and Venice, where he has his atelier. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice.
He worked as an artisan and pursued his passion for painting.
Subsequently, he had an inspiration that led him to work on briccole. Among the first to believe in his artwork was Arrigo Ciprian, owner of Harry’s Bar.
Travelling with your dog is an enjoyable and enriching experience, but it requires some attention and precautions.
In this article, I will explain what to do before leaving for a foreign destination, when travelling and how to behave at the beach and in the mountains, so that you and your four-legged friend can have one of the best holidays of your lives
Travelling with a dog abroad
Travelling with your four-legged friend in Italy is definitely easier than travelling abroad, but only in terms of documents and means of transport.
There are now many pet-friendly countries that welcome your furry friends with open arms, but you need to check and plan everything in advance to avoid wrong choices that would ruin the holiday for you and your pooch.
If you are planning a trip abroad, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure the safety and comfort for your four-legged friend while travelling.
Here is some useful information on everything you need to know when travelling abroad with your dog:
Before leaving, make sure your dog has all the necessary documents and vaccinations for the destination country.
In general, most countries require the dog to have a European pet passport, certifying its identity, vaccines and anti-parasite treatment.
Some countries may require additional documents or vaccinations, such as the rabies vaccine or malaria prophylaxis. Always check the specific requirements of the country of destination by obtaining information either at your travel agency, embassy or by asking your veterinarian.
When travelling, your dog must be transported safely and comfortably.
If you are travelling by plane, contact the airline to find out what their policies are for transporting pets and book a seat for your dog in advance, but be careful: not all of them allow dogs on board. The general rule is that only dogs weighing a maximum of 10 kg (including the carrier) may be transported in the cabin; bigger dogs are transported in the cargo hold with all that this entails.
Food and water
During the trip, make sure to bring enough food and water for your dog’s needs. In general, it is advisable to take the dog’s usual food to avoid stomach issues and diarrhoea. If you travel by plane, check the airline’s rules for transporting food and water for pets.
Transport of medicines and accessories
If your dog needs medication or special accessories, such as leashes or harnesses, be sure to take them with you on your trip. Check the local rules for importing medicines for pets, as some substances may be banned in some countries.
Local rules and restrictions
Before travelling, check the local rules and restrictions concerning dogs in the destination country. In some countries, dogs may not be allowed in certain areas, such as national parks or beaches.
In addition, some establishments, such as restaurants or hotels, may not accept dogs. Check carefully before making your reservation. You can contact the tourism authorities of the places that you plan to visit, they will provide you with all the information you need.
Dog care and hygiene
While travelling, be sure to take care of your dog, keeping it clean and hygienic. Have bags for faeces collection with you and behave as you would in Italy. Respect for others must always be at the top of your priorities.
Enjoy your travelling!
If you love the sea and don’t want to give up the company of your four-legged friend, BiHoliday villages are the ideal solution for the whole family’s holiday.
You will enjoy an unforgettable stay in a natural and welcoming setting, with many services dedicated to you and your pet.
BiHoliday facilities are the ideal place to experience the sea and nature with your faithful companion, in a relaxed family atmosphere.
Book your pet-friendly holiday now and get ready to have fun!
The BiVillage (Fažana, Croatia) and the San Francesco Village (Caorle, Italy) are located within walking distance of beautiful beaches, both of which have been awarded the Blue Flag!
Each village has a portion of beach reserved for those travelling with their pet: the Bi Dog Beach and, at the San Francesco Village, you will also find a dedicated agility area.
Andrea Petroni turned his passion into a job years ago. He is the creator of the vologratis.org project, which was launched at the end of 2009 and has quickly become one of Italy’s most important travel bloggers.
He loves travelling with his family: his wife Valentina, little Nicholas and Victoria and his basset hound Gastone.
Since 2017, he has also been an author of travel literature: through his books, he keeps advising travellers and tourists on hidden gems to visit in Italy and around the world.
Today he is a multi-million view travel content creator!
Amazing creativity: what will be your next journey?
How would you explain the concept of the metaverse to your grandmother?
GIOSUÈ – Like a movie. I would tell her to close her eyes and think of herself right inside the TV box showing the movie. The advantage over the movie, however, is that this time she will be able to perform interactive actions: she will be able to walk, interact with actors, buy products, participate in conversations, and much more. All of this by means of visors (like glasses), which immerse her in this dimension, and joysticks, remote controls, with which she can actually perform those interactive actions mentioned before – shopping, conversations, participation in events…
If my grandmother had ever seen a video game, I would tell her to think of herself as the character I play with the joysticks, i.e. the remote control. What I do is move within a reconstructed world, where I meet other characters, enter houses, forests, eat virtual food, and wear clothes that I can change… Well, the metaverse allows this, but in an enhanced manner. While the video game is played within the TV frame, with the visors (glasses) in the metaverse the user will be able to turn 360° and see an entirely immersive world. There are metaverses that are even attempting to introduce smells, tastes and the senses, which the most common technologies simply lack.
I also believe that many grandmothers use video calls to see their children and grandchildren around the world. One of the limitations of these calls is that often, in order to see what is going on around the family members, it is necessary to turn the camera, rotate the mobile phone, and move around the room; with immersive realities, these operations are minimised and one can enjoy a round, panoramic, multisensory and immersive experience.
From the armchair at home, from the bed or from the wheelchair, these grandmothers (and not only!) will be able to take many journeys. It started with phone calls, then video calls, and who knows, maybe one day the metaverse will be the most used mode. I don’t think it will take long, in the meantime: buckle up!
SIMONE – If I had to explain the concept of the Metaverse to my grandmother, I would tell her that whenever we find ourselves interacting with something that is not only physical, we are in the Metaverse. People often associate the Metaverse with virtual reality, but this is only one aspect. One can speak of the Metaverse as the Extended Reality or, for a more academic definition, one can say that the Extended Reality is the gateway to the Metaverse. It can be anything from digital overlays in the physical world, like a simple Snapchat filter, to VR experiences or mixed reality games like Pokémon GO. To simplify, all technologically enhanced realities are, in fact, the Metaverse. Another way to understand the Metaverse is simply to see it as the next
evolutionary step of the Internet. The term may have been introduced for marketing purposes, but the technology behind the Metaverse is not necessarily innovative and will probably follow the same path as other past trends.
Let us use the analogy with the World Wide Web. Remember the 90s? Accessing the Internet then required a pro-active effort, like disconnecting the telephone line and connecting to a noisy 56k modem… With the spread of wearable devices, IoT and constant connectivity via smartphones, we are now always connected and no longer have to actively “enter” the Internet. The Metaverse will probably follow this trend and become an integral part of our daily lives, like our refrigerator or washing machine, without even having to think about accessing it. So, grandma: we will be in the Metaverse when we no longer think of the Metaverse….
What will be the greatest benefits of the metaverse for the public?
GIOSUÈ – As I mentioned in the previous question, we usually think of travel as something ordinary, predictable, almost natural. Yet, this is not the case. “Travelling” is not so democratic. It may be expensive, tiring, debilitating, or unthinkable for some people.
The metaverse can be used from home,from the wheelchair, from the remotest of municipalities and geographies; by now you know the necessary equipment: visors, joysticks and an internet connection. Not that this is affordable for everyone, but the speed with which these tools fall into out-datedness is such that the costs come down quickly.
Precisely because of its limited requirements, the metaverse is used in a variety of fields. There are universities that, for instance, hold dual lectures (in the classroom and in the metaverse), allowing students who do not live in the city to cut down on rent and relocation costs and enjoy an immersive, yet home-based lecture. This means that anyone, from anywhere, can attend (even) the best universities in the world, from home, thus cutting costs considerably.
Therefore, from tourism to education, rentals, transport and the environment, the metaverse presents itself as an interesting – and certainly improvable – opportunity for different fields, knowledge and industries.
SIMONE – This is an interesting question. We are already seeing the benefits of the so-called “Industrial Metaverse” in various sectors, including R&D, healthcare and automotive industry. I like to categorise the Metaverse into two types: self-referential and instrumental. The self-referential Metaverse refers to those use cases where the Metaverse is the ultimate goal rather than just a means to achieve it. For example, when playing a video game like Call of Duty, the experience and all related economic activities begin and end within the game. However, if we see the Metaverse as a tool or a medium, its potential becomes even more interesting. Simply put, the Metaverse can bring value if and when it solves real IRL problems. An example of the virtuous use of the Metaverse that I recently encountered comes from Italy, so I am
particularly proud of it. ourteen young patients at the Santobono Hospital in Naples were able to watch the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool through VR visors, feeling as if they were watching the match from the perspective of the players at the Stade de France stadium in Paris instead of from a hospital room. This was a brilliant social use of VR technology in a hospital setting, to make children smile and offer them a unique and memorable experience.
How long will it take this new high-tech frontier to become an integral part of our daily lives?
GIOSUÈ – In October 2021, Marck Zuckerberg announced that his group – which besides Facebook also includes Instagram and Whatsapp – would be called “Meta” – short for meta-verse. The announcement was followed by a video, which shows just how the technologies we are used to using – Whatsapp, Instagram and primarily Facebook – are intended to evolve and become immersive. Therefore, there are plans for our Facebook profiles to soon have an avatar – already many have created one by themselves – that will enter a world with services, activities, and events.
Although there are no already concrete and executive cases of this process of “meta-versalisation,” in some way, all of us are already actors in the waiting queue.
SIMONE – The answer is not clear-cut. Technologically speaking, we are getting there. However, we may still be a few decades away in terms of widespread techno-acceptance. Have you ever read anything by Douglas Adams? Besides being the author of the hilarious Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, he was a great advocate of innovation. In a 1999 essay entitled “How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet“, published in the Sunday Times, Adams outlined some guidelines for our relationship with technology. He believed that anything that exists when one is born is considered normal, anything invented between the ages of 15 and 35 is seen as innovative and exciting and anything invented after the age of 35 is, well… unnatural! Do the math… For many people, the Metaverse might seem unusual and unnatural. However, having an open and receptive attitude towards technology is crucial if you do not want to be left behind.
Which points will we have to pay attention to?
GIOSUÈ – There have been situations in which avatars have carried out acts of violence and forcible touching towards other users… This may sound comical and perhaps surreal when put like that, but let us not forget that behind those avatars there is always a human being, and therefore victims and executioners. It is the same as with social media and the famous “keyboard lions” – it is true that we do not see them physically, but we still perceive their malicious intentions to insult us, expose us, and denigrate us publicly… Therefore,
it will be necessary for the postal police, our legislators and the digital communities themselves to denounce, report, formalise and control these worlds, which as such need rules, vigilance, ethics, deontology and social responsibility.
SIMONE – Interoperability, no doubt. This is certainly a crucial aspect of the development of the Metaverse. Without it, investing in a particular metaversal platform may lead to disappointment, as there is a risk that it will become obsolete within a few years. To achieve a decentralised, open and cohesive Metaverse, it is crucial to ensure that digital assets, such as 3D environments, avatars, NFTs, terrains, avatar skins and other elements, can be seamlessly transferred between platforms.
This means, for example, playing a game, earning a digital good, selling it on a secondary market, receiving payment in crypto currency, buying an avatar skin in another game and wearing it in any virtual world one wishes. This interoperability is the very essence of decentralisation and the foundation of Web 3.0. Although we still have a long way to go before we reach this level of interoperability, it is a crucial step towards the development of the Metaverse.
What will not be replaced by the metaverse in our real world?
GIOSUÈ – I assure you that the metaverse will make us more and more passionate about our beloved (?) humanity. Those immersive sessions, gradually increasing in performance, efficiency and evolution, will entail, in addition to the many hours spent in those worlds, a parallel sense of saturation, claustrophobia and need for oxygenation, which we already experience when we enter other immersive dimensions; think about zoom calls, the hours spent in front of a video game, or simply in front of the TV. When we realise that we have spent hours in front of those screens, we long for fresh air, a walk, a real chat at the bar. Well, I believe that the metaverse will make that second phase more and more unique and rare, to the point where I believe “detox days“, i.e. technology detox days, will be instituted. So probably more metaverse, but also more humanity!
SIMONE – I just can’t think of anything… Most people seem to perceive reality as a binary concept, with the distinction between what is real and what is not. However, it is important to recognise that this perspective is limited and may soon become obsolete. In his book “Reality+”, the techno-philosopher David Chalmers proposes a new way of understanding reality, in which extended reality is considered as real as physical reality.
With technology progress, Chalmers predicts that the Metaverse will soon become so indistinguishable from our physical world that even trying to distinguish between the two will become meaningless. I call it the “Roblox Effect“: for my son, playing with an avatar in a virtual world 1,000 km away or with a friend in the physical world makes no difference. The boundaries between perceivable reality and virtual reality will blur and the distinction between the digital and physical worlds will be erased sooner than we think or want…
What are the major benefits of the metaverse within ART/ TOURISM?
GIOSUÈ – We’ve talked about this before, but I’ll give a few more concrete examples to understand this technology even better. A few months ago, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the state of Tuvalu, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, sent out a very strong message: during COP27, the international event to coordinate on the current and future environmental challenges, this politician, Simon Kofe, decided to deliver his speech from the ocean, pulling up his trousers to make visible the rising waters due to climate change.
In addition to this, Kofe announced that the entire state would be digitised (precisely mapped and digitised in its geography) and released into the metaverse. Because of the potential disappearance of the country, in fact, this technique, although contestable, will always make it possible to “visit” it. Thus, future citizens of Tuvalu will always be able to enjoy their country, the way it was, the way it looked… Although the case seems strange to us, imagine Italy: 7500 kilometres of coastline also threatened by these dangers. While the metaverse cannot save these “Atlantis-like” places of the world, it certainly provides a side solution, one of recovery and preservation.
SIMONE – There are many of them, actually! he Metaverse has several benefits for the tourism industry, such as enhancing direct booking experiences in virtual worlds with seamless graphical user interfaces, promoting urgency to purchase, providing immersive MICE experiences,attracting younger audiences through gamification, increasing direct sales, community engagement, AR overlays on historical real-world destinations, targeted advertising through data collection, overcoming the limitations of Web 2.0, DAOs, native advertising, travel experiences for those with mobility limitations, interactive staff training, improved levels of privacy through blockchain, and sustainable alternatives to mass travel, to name a few.
The Metaverse’s impact on tourism is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. It will not completely replace the journey, but it will undoubtedly play a role, especially in the early stages of the traveller’s journey. Currently, we choose hotels based on photos, videos and reviews, but the Metaverse has the potential to provide a more immersive experience. We could get a “taste” of a destination and book a hotel room or a table in a restaurant, all from the comfort of our own home. This can be considered an advanced form of “try before you buy”. We are only beginning to discover what the Metaverse has to offer, and the potential of its impact on tourism is huge.
Giosuè Prezioso is a professor and researcher with international experience and currently Director of Studies at the Unicollege University of Turin – the youngest Academic Director in Italy. After his studies in America, he specialised at Christie’s – the world’s leading auction house – and then continued with a doctorate and postgraduate studies at the University of Reading and Harvard University’s Graduate School.
As a professor, Giosuè has lectured at prestigious international institutions, including the American University of Florence, the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, the Chamber of Deputies and John Cabot University. He is the first lecturer in Italy to have imported crypto art into an academic context, and among the first researchers to have published articles, television interviews and industry reports on the subject. As a professor for the University of Bari, he was also the author of the launch of the first NFT library and auction in an academic context, as well as of the university within the metaverse – achieving reviews in Forbes, The Cryptonomist, Arizone State University and RAI, among others.
He is currently publishing a book with the prestigious Cambridge Scholars Publishing, where, as an author, he brings together some of the world’s leading figures of the contemporary art-tech scene.
Simone Puorto is a visionary consultant and speaker with 25 years of experience in the industry. He is a multi-published author and was crucial in organising the first travel and hospitality event in the metaverse, Polybius. Simone is a sought-after MBA lecturer, and has taught at esteemed institutions such as ESSEC, Les Roches, 24Ore BS, University of Parma, Ca’ Foscari, Swiss Hotel Management School and IMHI. He is a member of the advisory board of several leading companies, including BWG, RobosizeME, Vision, TelltheHotel, E23 Delivery, GAIN and PlayHotel. As Metaverse Evangelist for Olimaint and Hospitality Net, Simone is dedicated to exploring the future of travel and hospitality. He is also the founder of the renowned consultancy firm Travel Singularity, based in Rome and Paris. Simone is passionate about shaping the future of travel through innovative and sustainable solutions.
GAME ROOM – Bivillage
The BiVillage in Fažana, in Croatia, offers plenty of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed with the whole family, but since last year, there is something new for all those who love video games and wish to approach the metaverse: a new gaming room.
In the Meta Z game room, you will find the latest gaming equipment, including Playstation 5, gaming PCs, VR and accessories, to enjoy games of all kinds and difficulty.
The game room is open daily from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM by prior reservation and has 55″ and 75″ 4K screens available.
There are a lot of activities you can do inside: from participating in the many organised tournaments, to challenging your friends, or you can play or experience the thrill of virtual reality individually.
The BiVillage is the dream destination for sea lovers who don’t want to give up their passions even on holiday. You can challenge other guests staying at the village or make new friends in a cheerful and friendly atmosphere.
Michela Bonafoni interviews Alessia Crocini, president of the organisation ‘Le Famiglie Arcobaleno’ (Rainbow Families)
Introduce us to your wonderful family
My name is Alessia Crocini, I’m 48 and I live in Rome. I work in the fields of communication, writing and teaching, but I am also a civil rights activist and for the past year I have been the president of ‘Famiglie Arcobaleno’, an association that brings together parents, would-be parents and supporters of the rights of families consisting of two mothers or two fathers or LGBTQI+ single parents.
I am the mother of an eight-and-a-half year old boy born from the relationship with my ex-partner thanks to a MPA (medically assisted procreation) done in Spain.
We can say that every rainbow familybegins with a journey because there is no law in Italy that allows two parents of the same gender to bring sons and daughters into the world, so most of us would-be mothers travel to Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, while fathers go through the process of surrogacy mostly in Canada or the USA. Our families begin on a journey and the hospitality of people working in the transport and tourism sector can really make a difference at such important times in our lives.
Currently, mine is an extended and recomposed family as my partner has three children (!) and when we go on holiday together, we are a team of two women and four children ranging in age from 8 to 15, with different needs and interests.
What social constraints do you encounter in your daily lives?
The limitations encountered by a family with same-sex parents are sometimes the same as those encountered by any ‘sui generis’ family: I am thinking of single parents and adoptive parents, of recomposed, multi-ethnic or immigrant families, of very young or elderly couples. Every bearer of difference provokes in others a reaction of surprise and often inadequacy, not out of bad faith, but often due to simple lack of knowledge and preparation. It would be enough not to assume that every child has two parents of different genders, that parents and children have the same geographical origin, the same skin colour, the same DNA, the same surname.
For rainbow families, things have definitely improved over the years compared to 5 or 10 years ago: the law on civil unions, the increase and greater visibility of same-sex couples with children generated a positive change that is still ongoing. The only negative factor remains the legal one, as there is no law in Italy that allows both parents of a same-sex couple to recognise their sons and daughters at birth. Despite this, in everyday life, society’s acceptance and openness towards our families is definitely ahead of the laws.
The lack of legal recognition for both parents can cause practical problems because in my case, for example, only the mother who gave birth is the mother of our child and this obliges me to travel with proxies, photocopies of documents, and permits from the Police Headquarters to fly with a minor. And this can often lead to inappropriate and embarrassing questions for me and my child from the staff at the check-in or reception of a hotel.
What would you like to find as a mother in a touristic place?
I believe that in tourism, and particularly in an accommodation facility, staff training is an important first step to welcome a rainbow family in the best possible way: not assuming the number and gender of parents, creating inclusive forms for example for mini clubs where instead of ‘mum/dad’ there is the more inclusive wording ‘parent or guardian’, welcoming customers by not assuming that a woman has a husband and vice versa.
What are the criteria for choosing your holiday?
A family with same-sex parents chooses a holiday according to their personal tastes (sea/mountain, village/camping) but in the case of a trip abroad they certainly do not neglect the situation regarding the LGBTQI+ rights of the country they are about to visit, with a goal of protecting minors first of all.
It is difficult for a family to know before they leave, except by word-of-mouth from other rainbow families, what the level of hospitality and preparation of the staff will be in a particular holiday village or family hotel, and in that case you either rely on luck or end up doing live training within the accommodation facility!
How important do you think inclusive education and appropriate training are for reception and training staff?
As a parent, I would be happy to find staff prepared for every type of family, especially those who are in close contact with children and young people, so as not to put them in embarrassing or painful situations.
Do you think there are still many steps to be taken to achieve inclusive tourism?
Do you think that the ‘Famiglie Arcobaleno’ association can collaborate in recommending methods of communication and internal organisation in a tourist structure?
I think something is moving in Italy to create more inclusive environments in the tourism sector, but there is still much room for improvement.
The association ‘Famiglie Arcobaleno’ has always been involved in training for the public administration, schools of all levels, and the health and legal professions, and I am sure it can contribute to improving the level of inclusiveness of tourist facilities. Prejudices usually arise from non-knowledge; instead, encounter and dialogue create virtuous circles that increase the level of well-being by creating open and welcoming environments.
Italy is still at the bottom of the list in Europe for LGBTQI+ rights, but it is also the country where our boys and girls are always warmly welcomed and I can say that when my son calls ‘MUM’ at the beach and two of us answer, the reactions of the people around are perhaps curious or surprised, but certainly not hostile.
The San Francesco Village in Caorle (Italy) and the BiVillage in Fažana (Croatia) are excellent destinations for families seeking a relaxing and fun-filled holiday.
Both campsites offer many activities specially designed for children, such as animation, games, creative workshops and water sports.
One of the main attractions offered by the villages are their swimming pools, both for adults and children, with water slides and hydromassage tub areas.
With direct access to the beach, you can enjoy the sun and sea in a safe and controlled environment.
There are also special events organised for families, such as theme evenings and parties, where children can have fun together with their peers under the supervision of the campsite staff.
For the little ones, the villages also offer a mini-club, where they can participate in creative workshops and participating in games with qualified employees. This way, parents can enjoy some free time, knowing that their children are safe while having fun.
There are many dining options, including bars and restaurants, where you can enjoy Italian and international cuisine.
To summarise, the San Francesco Village in Caorle and the BiVillage in Fažana are an excellent choice for those seeking a fun and relaxing holiday.
With a wide range of activities for all ages, quality services and a welcoming atmosphere, they are able to meet the needs of all the families who choose them as their summer holiday destination.