A thirty minutes train ride away from Milan you find yourself in the hidden gem of Brescia. A historic town full of art treasures and incredibly pleasant walks among the Unesco heritage sites. We spent two nights there and where able to walk all the town and up the castle peacefully straight from our hotel, and enjoyed every moment.
We sat down with Nicola among the breathtaking scents of the hotel's garden to learn a little more about it's history.
Ciao! Tell us about you and what you do at Centro Paolo.
Ny name’s Nicola, I’m 33, I’m Sales Marketing Manager at Centro Paolo VI, in Brescia.
Formerly, I was a researcher in Developmental Psychology, living abroad and traveling the world doing conferences, giving speeches, etc. I returned to Italy in 2013 and 1 year and half ago I started to work in the tourism industry.
Thinking as a psychologist and social scientist, I’d outline in a few words my idea of hospitality we offer as follows: Focus is on the person, who’s a guest to meet, not a customer that purchases a service. Such a kind of meeting has to be shared, and, in this, social networks massively help. Most important is to make relevant the time the people spend while traveling: parallel and diverse peculiar times that, once shared with others, build together a fraction of life experience bearing our name.
how long has Centro Paolo been open?
The Centro Paolo VI exists since XVII century. Its genuine architectures are of Baroque taste - quite evident when our guests step up the monumental stairs that conduct to the noble floor while admiring the frescoes and stuccos, or they simply walk down the corridors of the gallery surrounding the inner garden with its centuries-old trees to get to their room.
The palace was originally held by two among the most eminent and noble families of Brescia: Maggi first, Gambara then. The Center as an hotel and convention center operates since 1975. In the last years its presence and visibility as an experience of unique kind of Italian hospitality - a monument where to stay and live, not merely to visit - has been increasing.
The former definition is at the heart of my vision and constitutes the core of our branding.
What can Brescia offer to guests visiting the area?
We recently launched an hashtag on Twitter: #CityOfLands, in order to define our city of Brescia.
We are an ancient town, whose foundation is earlier than the Roman Age. We have the greater Roman archeological site - the Roman forum - in Northern Italy, and we were a Longobardian duchy; the St. Giulia Monastery from the Longobardian Age is now the main city's Museum, hosting both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Both the formers are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
But we’re surrounded by wonders: Franciacorta wine region on the Western-side, together with Iseo Lake; Garda Lake and its panoramas on the Eastern-side. And in 1 about 1 hour traveling North, you reach the Valcamonica valley, the valley of signs, with its prehistorical heritage, also a UNESCO site. This is the “oil”, the richness of our territory, and any part of it is easily - and efficiently - reachable from Milan (in half an hour) or Verona (in 45 minutes).
In our daily activity of promoting us we believe it’s crucial to concurrently promote Brescia.
Our slogan could be: “Don’t limit to take what we have to offer you in terms of beauty but be part of that beauty, living it directly with us, from us”.
Tell us about the different amenities and activities Centro Paolo Brescia offer for international guests.
We are specifically committed to International guests, particularly - and even more - since my arrival. This is probably due to the fact that I lived many years abroad and I interacted with people from all over the world. Beyond English, with us you can speak French, Spanish, Romanian, Finnish, and Russian!
I believe that, when you choose us, you start declaring your personality profile: you’re a beauty lover, and the art is part of your intimate definition: you desire to live it rather than simply look at it. You want to tell a story about your experience, not just talk about your traveling.
In this sense, we offer a story, made of several interconnected parts: beautiful scenarios, an ancient - and awesome - garden where you can relax, for example at evening, moments of spirituality in the chapel from the XVII century - originally the Maggi and Gambara families’ private chapel - that holds an altar painting by a Brescian master of the Renaissance and is within our precinct, the opportunity of tasting local wines and food while being informed on their origin and history at our internal restaurant.
Then, we help you add a new chapter to your story by introducing to the city of Brescia, giving all the support you need to completely discover and live it.
What is your vision for where Centro Paolo will be in five years from now?
I love the dialectic between history and contemporaneity that characterizes us: you tweet to us, you tag us on Instagram as you’re sitting down under centuries-old pillars, looking at original paintings: “This really exists, not only on books :)”.
In a recent Instagram post we wrote, foregrounded on a photo of the monumental stairs accessing the noble floor: “Step up is forbidden to tourists: Call for travelers”. People want visions that impact on their lives; I envision Centro Paolo VI always more as a collection of experiences not only tailored on our guests but made by travelers themselves onsite, together with us, and concurrently online, sharing their photos on Instagram and Facebook, their real-time thoughts via Twitter, their stories on Snapchat and videos on YouTube. The concept is “We’re a page of the personal novel you’ve been writing about yourself”.
As for now, I’m studying to implement the use of internal communications via Twitter: meet us, talk with us, ask for anything you need by means of a specific hashtag or simply tagging us in your tweets!