How going ‘hyperlocal’ can help you discover Italy’s hidden treasures

While the coronavirus pandemic has strongly impacted our ability to travel, modern technology means we can travel 'virtually' even when we can't visit physically.

How going 'hyperlocal' can help you discover Italy's hidden treasures
Photo: Getty

Now, more than ever, it’s important to go ‘off the beaten path’ when travelling, in order to support the many small businesses that have struggled over the last year or more. This is particularly relevant in Italy, where small businesses account for a larger proportion of both GDP and jobs than in the European Union as a whole.

Those who look beyond the most obvious options will be well-rewarded, as Italy is a country brimming with products and experiences that are unique and utterly memorable. Together with the app for discovering hyperlocal products and experiences, Shoppi, we show you how to discover the country in a whole new way. 

Wondering what you’re missing when travelling through Italy? Download Shoppi today 

Living la dolce vita 

It’s a very common desire to want to ‘live like the locals’ and see through their eyes. One fantastic way to do this is through tours and experiences that bring aspects of Italian culture and society into focus. 

Joining a tour is generally a fantastic way to experience a city like Rome or Florence in a way that simply wouldn’t be possible as a ‘regular’ tourist. Whether you’re following in the footsteps of Dante in Florence, or cruising through the streets of Rome on a bicycle in a group, specialist knowledge gives you a wealth of sights, sounds and tastes to follow up on at your own pace. Most big cities have a wealth of small tour operators run by passionate locals for you to discover. 

Another way to place yourself in a local’s shoes is to take part in experiences. You could be cooking with locals in Tuscany, picking fruit or grapes on the slopes of Vesuvius, or learning to paddleboard off Capri. These experiences are more than just memorable, they give you the opportunity to make friends with the locals and forge bonds that will have you coming back again and again. As the world looks to recover from the pandemic, more and more experiences are available to travellers wanting to enjoy the outdoors. 

Buon appetito!

One of the very foundational ways we engage with a culture is through food. Food speaks to the very heart of what a society values, and nowhere is this more evident than in Italian cooking. Italians value the good life, taking the time to enjoy a meal with friends, they share love through food. 

We often think of pasta and pizza when we think of Italian food, but this does it a massive disservice. Each region of Italy has its own distinct cuisine, using fresh, local ingredients to create flavourful, delicious creations. Moving north up the Italian peninsula from Sicily, you encounter a transition from spicy, zesty dishes that are cooked in olive oil, to hearty, warming dishes that are cooked in butter as you arrive in regions such as Lombardy. 

If you’re living or holidaying in Italy, learning to cook regional dishes means that you relive some wonderful experiences over and over again. Worried about getting the right ingredients? Don’t be – the internet and smartphones have enabled small businesses to sell and send ingredients almost anywhere in the world. 

Craving the tastes of Italy? Discover what you can find on Shoppi, and have it sent to you

Photo: Getty

Bringing a little piece of Italia home  

Italy is one of the world’s largest tourist destinations, so of course there’s a lot of really terrible souvenirs on sale. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to take your mother a Colosseum fridge magnet, or a keyring of Michelangelo’s ‘David’. 

Italy is home to some of the world’s finest fashion, homewares and crafts. International brands that we wear and buy for our home the world over were once small businesses that served their regions to local acclaim. Visit any of Italy’s major cities and you’re likely to find small galleries and ateliers full of handmade goods that use local materials – think of the many leather workshops in Siena, or the wealth of fashion houses being established in Capri. 

Bringing home Italian homewares and fashion not only supports businesses that sorely need it, but also gives you a one of a kind look that your friends and family will be entranced by.

The new way to discover the best of Italy 

It’s clear that shifting to supporting small businesses across Italy can be incredibly rewarding. You get fantastic experiences and memories that will last for years, and they are assisted in recovering from their recent economic challenges. You’re ensuring that local handicrafts and traditions will endure for years to come. 

However, seeking such opportunities can be difficult if you’re not sure how to go about it. This is where Shoppi becomes such a valuable tool. Shoppi is an app for Android and iOS that not only allows you to find local products and travel experiences across Italy, but allows you to keep supporting those businesses from home wherever you are in the world. 

As Salvatore Vacante, CEO of Shoppi, tells us: “Going ‘hyperlocal’ is important to not only spot places out of town but also to discover street food and hidden places. It also helps keep Italian culture alive, since every product represents Italy, its past, future and present.”

Shoppi is easy to use, and not only covers Italy, but is rapidly growing to cover cities across Europe and the US. Wherever you go, you’ll constantly discover new offers and goods to keep your Italian experience going. 

Shoppi is available for download on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play

Begin your Italian experience today or keep it going once you’re home with Shoppi

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Copenhagen Airport delays: Air traffic controllers borrowed to ease shortage

Air traffic control company Naviair will loan air traffic control staff from the smaller Roskilde Airport to solve persistent flight delays out of Copenhagen.

Copenhagen Airport delays: Air traffic controllers borrowed to ease shortage

The loan of staff from Roskilde Airport will be in place throughout the peak summer season, Naviair said in a statement.

The decision has been made to prevent major flight delays affecting passengers at Copenhagen Airport.

Naviair said that the solution will give it enough cover for most of the summer flight traffic without lengthy delays or asking air traffic controllers to work overtime.

Capacity at Roskilde Airport will be reduced during the period.

“The plan is going to have some consequences. The reallocation of air traffic controllers means reduced capacity at Roskilde Airport, whose users we naturally apologise to,” Naviair director of traffic Thorsten Elkjær said in the press statement.

READ ALSO: Airline Norwegian threatens to ‘find alternative’ to Copenhagen Airport over delays

The shortage of air traffic controllers and related dispute between their trade union and Naviair, their employer, has resulted in delays for hundreds of thousands of passengers at Copenhagen Airport in recent weeks.

Naviair has asked its staff to take on extra shifts due to the shortage but has also said it has increased intake on training programmes to eventually increase the number of staff available. 

The air traffic controllers have said that the overtime is not at a manageable level, and that they have taken 1,500 additional shifts so far this year.

Figures from April show that some 45 percent of flights from Copenhagen Airport were delayed last month and the issue has continued into May.