The serene ambience and quiet of Riva Del Garda wins hands down as my preferred business travel destination. When travelling out of the country for business, I look for not just completing official engagements at breakneck speed but also someplace I can just let go and merge with the landscape and beauty, without having to worry about deadlines and protocols. Going often to Italy for work, I try to squeeze in two days to visit Riva Del Garda and though I cannot manage it everyone, when I do, I always come back feeling a lot lighter and happier. Seeking freedom from the regular humdrum of city life, this small city offers much needed solace and comfort. Europe has a lot to put on the platter for an international business traveller today - from large cosmopolitan cities to small towns that are almost always a pleasant experience. And I for one, do like to explore cities and towns that are not necessarily on the popular, must-do tourist circuit, having done that years ago.
The town of Riva Del Garda at the southern edge of the Italian Alps suits my sensibilities perfectly. In close proximity to Milan in Italy, the town is unique in itself and is known just as simply as Riva. The place with its unparalleled scenic beauty is probably Italy's best kept secret. The biggest tourist attractions here are The Museo Civico, the medieval fortress placed on the lake, Varone falls, Tenno Lake, Lago di Ledro (with its pale ethnographic museum) but it is the international shoe fair that is hosted by the city twice every year, that sees maximum attendance.
The city has a lot of cultural activity, especially during summer months when the afternoons are warm and windy and the nights witness thunderstorms. The International Shoe Fair usually takes me there for work. Italy is the Mecca of inventions and bold trends in the field of fashion--and this is not just limited to garments alone but also to footwear.
Often during the summer months, I extend my stay and dabble in some of the adventure sports that the place has on offer. While back home I play golf and tennis, when in Riva with time to spare, I end up going for conducted rock climbing expeditions. And more frequently, for sailing and windsurfing. Riva Del Garda has two well kept harbours and plenty of takers for the sport.
The city is also every food aficionado's paradise and offers authentic Italian food. I love one particular restaurant, which is built on a cave and is cut out into a Mountain rock. It is one of the oldest restaurants there and serves raw meat specialities. All around the lake there are local markets where you can find authentic Italian memorabilia. There are a couple of restaurants around the lake which whip up some truly delicious and fresh sea food. Top it up with Italian wine and you can make it one of your most exquisite culinary experiences. While, Riva Del Garda is in itself a perfect place to just be with yourself or with business associates, family and guests, you can always hop across to Verona and Milan which are a few miles away and add them to your travel itinerary.
When it comes to travelling to Europe, Lufthansa is on the top of my list as it is convenient and well connected all through.
Harkirat Singh, Managing Director, Woodland loves combining his visits to the International Shoe Fair with a quick dash to this small town