Team Building – Sicily 2022: Take The Cannoli, Leave The Gun

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Written by Neda Mijovic

Team Building – Sicily 2022: Take The Cannoli, Leave The Gun

Spectacular. Every time I see it, it gets better. From its flawless direction to its exceptional cast, to its (near-)flawless schedule, I have no doubt it is one of the best made.

It’s sensational because it’s beautifully crafted and completely flawless down to the minutest detail.

Apart from being a masterpiece, the casting crew is one of the best that could be chosen.

These sound like the typical reviews of a cinematic masterpiece of your choice, but they could easily be the impressions from the after movie of our EPIC TEAM BUILDING IN SICILY, from which we just returned.

Even though we arrived less than a week ago and are sooo exhausted from the three-day rollercoaster we had, we wanted to transfer the overwhelming impressions before they get mixed up with daily errands.

So, let me grab my fifth cup of coffee for today, and I’ll guide you through the most spectacular three-day event one could ever spend with colleagues!

A Prequel: Preparation for the Team Building 2022

Here’s a short intro: The destination for our 2022 team building was kept as a surprise until a month ago.

To spice things up, we organized a charity game where we were all trying to guess the destination, and the winner chose the organization we would donate the money collected. (Coinis as a company donated as much <3 )

Our HR team took care of every little detail so everything would go as planned. From the tickets and accommodation to team-building games (which have become a staple of our trips), we had everything covered. And the countdown has started.

More about the team-building game: Inspired by The Godfather (we all watched it together as a cute preparation for our Sicily team building), we were randomly split into groups that represented Sicilian mafia families. The rest was kept a secret until the trip.

Part 1: Airport Games and The Opening Party

As the first rays of the sun were hitting Podgorica on a calm Saturday morning, you could see grannies taking strolls to the market, a person walking their dog here or there… And there, a group of 70 unusually happy people who looked like they were on a mission gathered around a bus.

And we were.

After the epic team building in Antalya, Turkey, last year, we wanted to prove to ourselves that it was not a coincidence and that it’s us who make things special.

SPOILER ALERT: We have proven it!

Still sleepy, we boarded the huge bus that was supposed to take us to the airport, and you could already sense the joy in the air. Imagine how you felt on your high school trips – we were that excited, times a thousand!

Did you pack this and that? Are you excited to see a volcano? Can’t wait to take a sip of gin tonic on the beach! These were some of the things you could hear on the bus that took us to the airport.

Once we got there, we already had something else on our minds – the first of the two parts of our team-building game had started. As we grouped with our families, we received… A PAPERCLIP! Then the instructions came:

Exchange the paperclip for something more valuable than it. Do this as often as necessary to get an object that will be the most valuable among the others. The most successful team gets 100 points. That was enough for us to start sweet-talking random travelers at the airport to exchange their belongings for a simple paperclip. And let me tell you, we are incredible salespeople!

During the whole team building everyone did their best to get the most valuable item. Could you guess what was the top trade? Wireless headphones – can you believe this? Other gems collected were: a lighter, a travel pillow, a sweet, a keychain, earrings, a name-tag and more. So the team that got the wireless headphones got the maximum points.

The time at the airport passed quickly, and soon we were in a playful mood on the plane that took us to the largest island in the Mediterranean sea.

Fast forward to the landing – our happiness was through the roof! That is really happening!

We met our guide Vanda, who started bombing us with facts about Sicily’s beautiful, mysterious volcanic island. Thanks to all the interesting she told us during the ride from the airport, we became familiar with Sicilian history, culture, and social life when we reached our accommodation.

Our base was Giardini Naxos – a resort town with attractively painted buildings with pretty flowers and palm trees along the main streets. The plan was to explore the island’s wonders from there and spend the evenings at the beach.

Since we arrived late afternoon, we didn’t have much time to lose, so we decided to be efficient. We went to leave our suitcases and freshen up a bit. We were all dolled up and ready to party Coinis style an hour later.

Intoxicated by the warm Sicilian air and a couple of cocktails, we danced the night away as cliché as it may sound.

Part 2: The Godfather and the Night Under the Stars

A couple of hours of sleep was enough – by 9 AM, we were up, drinking proper Italian cappuccinos and waiting for our activities to begin.

That was the plan for the day: To visit Savoca, where the iconic scenes from The Godfather were filmed. Then, after that, an afternoon in the city of Taormina and the best pizzas on the island.

Our first destination was a delight for movie lovers. Do you remember the part of the movie where Michael Corleone takes refuge in Italy, meets stunning Apolonia, and gets married? Well, this was the place these scenes were filmed at!

Savoca is initially confusing: a couple of hilltops, churches, and typical village houses scattered everywhere. But with Vanda as our guide, it started making sense. We heard about the history of Sicilian villages, the everyday life of its habitats, and some lesser-known facts about the filming of the movie that brought fame to the place. We enjoyed the exploration of this charming town.

The village and its sights are all easily walkable. However, we took the heat as a perfect excuse to find the nearest shade and indulge in tonnes of ice cream. And, of course, make some Instagram-worthy photos to make our friends back home envious of the good time we were having.

Happy and high in sugar, we continued to Taormina, still recreating the most famous scenes from The Godfather.

A quick question – what do Goethe, Gustav Klimt, Oscar Wilde, Francis Ford Coppola, Federico Fellini, Cary Grant, Elisabeth Taylor, and Woody Allen all have in common?

They lived in and loved Taormina, our next destination. And we could see why it has been the most popular tourist destination in Sicily in the last couple of years.

We enjoyed another history lesson while walking through the breathtaking views of Taormina. We remember only a half of it – each corner, restored medieval building, local shop, and bar we came across took a bit of our attention. There was time for goofing around as well – this is us doing a flash mob at a random place in Taormina:

The choreography was short because we were beginning to get angry and uncooperative. 🙈

Nevertheless, it took only a bite of THE TASTIEST PIZZAS EVER and a sip of wine to get our mood back. We could live like this forever…

Soon it was time to get to the next activity of our overly ambitious schedules – a beach party.

Again, quick shower, dinner (yes, we were hungry again even after all that pizza), and we were already setting up an improvised bar, lighting the candles, and playing our favorite tunes through the giant speaker we dragged from Montenegro.

And since we’re full of talented people, we managed to get a guitar and organize a mini-concert that evening. So this is our colleague, Luka, playing our favorite songs, and this is us, singing out of tune, thinking that we genuinely sound wonderful and having the time of our lives.

It starts to look like I’m making things up at this point, but the night didn’t end there – we decided to add a bit more depth to the evening with some get-to-know-each-other games.

So, it almost started dawning, and we were still sitting in the circle, turned in all ears, sharing personal stories with some light music still playing in the background. But then, someone thought it would be a good idea to get at least a couple of hours of sleep because we were (well 🤷) supposed to climb a volcano the next day.

Day 3: Mordor Mount Etna, Catania, and the Awards Ceremony

As we imagined, waking up after such an eventful day behind us was a bit harder. But remembering the schedule for the day got us out of bed. On day three, the plan was to visit Mount Etna and spend the afternoon in Catania, the city below it.

The geek inside me was screaming: OMG, WE ARE VISITING MOUNT ETNA! It’s the highest volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world! And as we slowly gathered in the lobby of our hotel, I noticed the excitement on the faces of others.

More competitive among us were excited about another thing, though. After the visit to Etna, we would play the second part of our team-building game in Catania.

Towering above the city of Catania, Etna has been growing for about 500,000 years. It’s amidst a series of eruptions that began in 2013. That didn’t scare us, though – we were thrilled to be there even more.
We drove along the Southern side of Etna, through the traditional small villages made of lava rock. That was a scenery we’d never seen before, and after approximately an hour of driving, we reached Silvestri craters.

As we climbed a couple of them, we witnessed the most unusual scenery you could think of. The craters were covered with thick ash and volcanic rock, with patches of vegetation here and there. The view was magical! At times we felt like we were on a quest to Mordor.

After exploring Etna, some souvenir shopping, and the delicious food in a nearby restaurant, we headed to Catania.

Once again, we stopped being friends and colleagues and became dangerous Sicilian families with a mission to rule all the others. By doing silly little tasks all over the city, of course. This time, the game consisted of 40 tasks. They were sorted from the easiest to the most challenging one. You could win 350 points if you do them all. And man, we did take them seriously!

In the following hours, you could see a bunch of grown-ups:

  • Climbing trees
  • Singing happy birthday songs to random people
  • Walking as ducks across the streets

And doing 37 more random things that had our inner children screaming with joy.

We spent the ride back to our base sharing the funniest moments from the game. And since we are one competitive crew – calculating points and trying to predict the winning family.

Since we had such a good time the night before, we decided to repeat the beach party with something extra this time – an awards ceremony.

Coinis has a thing where we have an awards ceremony on the last night of every team building. That is a way to show appreciation for all those little (and a lot bigger things) our people do to make our company a place we genuinely love being at.

We gathered at the beach close to our hotel once again. This year’s ceremony has started after a bit of music and a couple of drinks.
From the medal for the support in the organization and brilliant covering of our adventure on social networks, through the ones for the worst joke and the “coolest” injury on the team building, we made sure that everyone feels appreciated for their contribution to the event.

We reserved one extra medal for the crew who traveled with us. They recorded every wonderful moment we had during the trip and really deserved it! These guys slept even less than us. Imagine that!

Day 4: Homecoming

Even though we wanted to believe we were superhumans and could explore Sicily all day and party all night, by day four, we started realizing that we were just overly optimistic regular mortals.

By this point, our energy levels had dropped to about 3%. Luckily, that was enough to pack and drag ourselves to the bus.

Some of us slept through the whole trip back home, with short breaks to move from the bus to the plane and then back to the bus. The rest recapped the best moments from the previous three days. And we were taking unflattering photos of our sleeping colleagues. 😈

Now What?

A regular day at the offices. It’s hard to believe we were on a volcano just a few days ago!

As I chatted with my colleagues this morning, I was curious to hear their favorite parts of team-building. Some loved the Italian food; some highlighted bonding with colleagues they don’t spend much time with at work. Most of them loved the cultural parts of the trips. And a couple highlighted the great parties we had every night.

There were the undecided ones as well, still gathering the impressions from the days behind us. But all of us unanimously agreed:

With this year’s teambuilding, the bar has risen!

We can’t wait for the next year to make a worthy sequel to this masterpiece of a team building and experience the same thrill all over again!

Neda Mijovic

Neda Mijovic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A passionate marketer with a love for copywriting. Currently on a quest of understanding the affiliate ecosystem in-depth, from both publishers' and advertisers' side.

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