1. Tell us something about your background, travels and experiences
I was born in a small village of the centre of Italy where I had a great childhood & adolescence until i was 20 years old. After that, I started to travel, and the more I was travelling the more I wanted to…I quickly realized that there was something else out there, away from the place I was born. This was probably the spark that lit up my curiosity.
After a few years of vagabonding throughout Europe I arrived in Valencia and, for the very first time in my life, I had the feeling that I had found a place that really suits me. It was not the greatest place in Spain, there were more known and more beautiful cities but for me it was the place. It had everything i was looking for and above all it made me feel like at home (like never before).
So, together with my best friends, I started my professional career opening an Italian restaurant (now there’s a surprise!) and then another one and another and so on. I was lucky and things were going very well. I was not even 30 years old and I had the money and the time to do what I wanted. I kept on travelling. I sold my company shares and dedicated the rest of my life visiting new places, new countries and meeting new people until today.
Meanwhile, I started new businesses between Valencia and Barcelona, principally the hotel business. I lived in many other places, for short or longer periods but my base was always Valencia. I always came back. One of the best choices I ever made was to make an enterprise out of a journey with an old friend in a tough old car (Méhari) throughout Africa, South and Central America. It was a great project with a great goal, to make people laugh (movingslowly). It took us about 2 years, lots of laughs. Lots of things happened, all good. Now, since my second child was born, together with my wife and my kids we spend 6 months in a small island of Thailand and the rest of the time we are still here in Valencia.
2. How does living in Asia compare to living in Europe?
Living in Asia is different. It has a different vibration; it’s quiet and pleasant. Every place has its own flavour and I believe there is a place for each moment in our lives. In Asia, we live on a small island and we stay in a hut, so the living is very basic and modest. I have everything I need. When we get back to Europe, everything goes fast and it is more confused. We get stressed about money and possessions. We have lots of things and we are still not happy.
We could say that Europe is less spiritual than Asia; that Asian people are more polite, or nicer or wiser…I’m not very sure about it. I think there is a bit of everything in everywhere, it depends on us and on the way we look at it. We make our own films most of the time, but what really matters is if we are happy or not. The vibration of the ground has something to do with it….
3. Could you explain to us about ‘Beach Bol’?
‘Beach Bol’ is a project we developed with the Council of Valencia. It is a training camp for Beach Volley and other Beach Sports (beach tennis, foot volley etc) situated on the Playa de la Malvarrosa at the beach. It is a public place where people can enjoy the beach doing sports for free. We provide the nets and keep the courts organized and everything is totally for free. We also give classes to people of all ages, clinics for higher levels, social duties and organize tourneys, events and daily activities. We have a healthy beach bar with great fruit shakes and fresh food. The bar is also the headquarter of ‘Beach Bol’. From there we manage the centre and we take care of our friends. Thanks to the bar, the entire project is sustainable.
4. What is the philosophy of this new concept at the beach?
The idea is to promote the beach in Valencia by doing outdoors activities in a great spot and to feed people with good energy, keeping them far from the stress of the concrete jungle. Beach Bol is great. What we have achieved in only 4 years is awesome. The ambience and the happiness on the faces of the people participating is the best prize for us. Every day we host people from everywhere who socialize with locals and have a great time together. We would like to make them happy and for a couple of hours a day and make them forget the bloody crisis….
5. You have travelled a lot. How do you see the future for Valencia regarding tourism?
I think Valencia has great potential as a tourist destination but maybe in recent years it has not been maximized in the right way… well, that is my personal opinion. It is very well located, has easy accessibility, great weather all year round, delicious food and good human resources but it has to be optimized in a better way. Lots of big events but few services for the town is not good. Big events are important for a place, it is a great tool to take advantage of but little things also have to be done to make the offer more attractive for tourists. There should be a coordinated tourist programme and, first of all, a pool of good professional people who are able to design a coherent list of plans, with the same aims and not just for big, commercial events like Formula 1 and the America’s Cup!
Interview by Owl