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Doing what comes naturally

by Elena Guarneri last modified 2008-06-20 15:14

If you're still looking for ideas for your holidays, worry not. Just pick one of our eco-tours - there's something for everyone . . .

(Italian Federation of Urban Cyclists and Bicycle Tourism)Welcome aboard to ecotourists everywhere! There's something for everyone here, from the spartan to the luxurious, from helping others to looking after ourselves. Indeed our own health and the health of our environment are so closely entwined that the two may sometimes become confused , but that's another story . . . Once you have read through our guide to ecotourism, just choose your destination and off you go.

Luxurious hotels
Who ever said that ecotourists couldn't travel in comfort? Indeed the Legambiente (an Italian environmental organisation, site in Italian only) along with Riccione's hoteliers and town council are sponsoring eco-alberghi, an interesting new initiative where all the participating facilities (including 5-star hotels) respect basic rules set up to protect the environment. The project has also taken off in the Conero area (south of Ancona), Liguria, Sardinia and the Gargano promontory in the Abruzzi area.

A break in the country
Country farmhouse and guesthouse holidays are becoming one of the most popular tourist choices in Italy. Favoured by both Italian and foreign visitors many agriturismi can offer all the comforts of a top hotel (don't be surprised if your 'farm' is more like villa or period home than traditional notions of a homestead!) If you opt for this type of holiday you'll by spoilt for choice -we suggest Biobank's list of organic farm and guesthouses.

On your bike!
The car, as we all know, is one of the environment's worst enemies. So why not choose two of the most environment friendly means of transport - your bike and your own two feet. Okay, they may not be the quickest way to see around but you will see lots of the countryside, and who says that quantity is always synonymous with quality?
For bike enthusiasts everywhere we recommend FIAB's (Italian Federation of Urban Cyclists and Bicycle Tourism) portal, where you'll find plenty of ideas and information. Check out the "UK Cycling Web Ring" for some tried-and-tested cycling holidays in Central Italy - plus lots of useful advice for the would-be cyclist.
Those of you who prefer shank's pony should contact Trekking Italia for information on walking holidays in your chosen area.

Demential Yoga and biolifting
Even ecotourism can go over the top. The more flamboyant ecotourists should head for über-alternative Alcatraz, an organic guesthouse in Santa Cristina di Gubbio (Umbria), where you can regenerate body and soul thanks to an uplifting regime of demential yoga, salt water massage and biolifting. If you prefer opulence head for the Hotel Golf (Italian only) in Riccione, where nothing, not even the air vents (strategically placed in order to avoid neck and back pain) are left to chance. If you really want to be at one with nature book into the Convento di Agghielli, near Spoleto, where you can do courses in the sensory perception of woods.

A helping hand
Fed up of the rat race? Feel you need to give something back to the world? Then voluntary work may be the answer for you. There are lots of voluntary work camps dedicated to the environment and neglected aspects of our cultural heritage. You can consult Unimondo's site to discover more about voluntary work in Italy.

Last but not least . . .
These words of advice come from Alex Langer, (Italian only) the Italian pacifist and ecologist, who sadly died in 1995: "Tourism is only compatible with our environment in homeopathic doses. It's a dual relationship and tourists must always remember and respect the local inhabitants. Even the best-intentioned ecotourist can turn into an irritating, pedantic nuisance who unwittingly damages what he set out to protect. "
So, whatever you do, don't overdo it . . .

>> back ,,,
What is ecotourism?

Links - - Environment friendly tourism (Italian only)
The Golden Rules - - The golden rules of the ecotourist, from The Ecotravel Centre's site.
Voluntary Service - - The official website of the Italian Federation for Voluntary Service
Bakpaka - - A backpacker's guide to Italy.
Biobank - - A comprehensive list of organic farm and guesthouses throughout Italy.

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