The devastating toll that Covid-19 has taken on Italy has hit home hard among those who harbour a deep love for the country – and those lovers are legion; just check your social media if you doubt it. Tourism, which officially accounts for about 13 per cent of the country’s GDP (and, in soft numbers, quite a bit more) has been particularly hard-hit. But even in the face of such adversity, the Italian spirit – of collaboration and enterprise – shines on.
Witness this rather lovely charity drive created by four of the finest hotels on the Amalfi Coast: Il San Pietro and Le Sirenuse, both in Positano; the gorgeous Hotel Santa Caterina in Amalfi; and Palazzo Avino up in Ravello. They’ve issued a call to raise money for Together for a Covid-19 Vaccine, spearheaded by the G Pascale Foundation – part of Italy’s esteemed Istituto Nazionale Tumori – along with the country’s equally respected Melanoma Foundation and biotech company Takis.
The hotels’ goal is to generate €200,000 in support. How? Each of them is offering 10 vouchers, worth €5,000 and redeemable for two years from the hotel’s 2020 opening date; and every last Eurocent will go to a crucial research project already underway.
Each voucher is good for two nights’ hospitality for two people, in a sea-view room, with full board for one of those nights, and half board (breakfast and lunch) for the other – with the second night including a complimentary tasting dinner, with wine pairings, at Don Alfonso 1890, the legendary restaurant with rooms up on the hill in Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi.
Individual hotels are then throwing in a host of other perks. At the San Pietro, guests can have massages in the La Prairie spa and a cocktail-making class at the jewel-box L’Alcova bar; Le Sirenuse is also including his and hers spa treatments, along with a private guided walking tour of historic Positano. At Palazzo Avino and the Santa Caterina, the massages use products scented with local Amalfi lemons, and there are martini mixology lessons and some gorgeous ceramic souvenirs for the getting. Donations are paid directly to the Pascale Foundation; once it confirms payment with the hotel in question, the voucher is yours. Check the Instagram feeds of each hotel – @ilsanpietrodipositano; @lesirenuse; @palazzoavino; @hotel_santa_caterina – for details on how to purchase.
The Pascale Foundation, the Melanoma Foundation and Takis, long-time collaborators in the health field, embarked on a search for a genetic vaccine for coronavirus early in the New Year. Clinical trials on four potential vaccines have already been carried out; results are expected in just two to three weeks. But once a viable candidate is identified, the cause will rely entirely on private funds – Italian state ones have been crushed by the pandemic – to proceed with crucial trials.
It’s a weekend that’s wholly for a good cause; and a great way to show the amore.