What Maria Teresa can teach us about the value of a warm welcome

It takes many ingredients to make a place hospitable, and it depends not only on the tourist industry – ordinary people and individual traders can have a real impact on a destination’s image.

As an example from my own experience, a few days ago, my wife and I visited Fumone, a delightful little mediaeval town in Lazio.

It is clean, welcoming and brimming with character. Everyone we met was kind and generous – the postcard and souvenir seller volunteered directions on how to get to the nearby lake, while Maria Teresa at the biscuit shop gave us a free sample of her wonderful wares and a friendly smile.

Wending our way home, in stark contrast, we were exposed to the inconsiderate (and dangerous) side of travel in Italy, in the form of the impatient drivers on the Frosinone–Latina main road. Frankly, I wouldn’t recommend a motoring holiday in this country, unless you have nerves of steel. But I would warmly suggest a trip to Fumone.

The human details are what make the difference.

Anyway, there is always hope – anyone can learn … even the Londoners got into the spirit during the 2012 Olympics :).