Over four decades, businessman Sergio Filograna has left his mark on Italy’s fashion advertising, agri-food production, human resources, and hospitality industries by creating companies that brought something new to their respective fields. His enterprising approach prompted the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in 1999 to honor him as a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. Filograna’s latest endeavor, Il Giro dei Venti (“The Tour of the Winds”), a combined biking and sailing competition engineered for ambitious, adventurous, and curious travelers, is hosting its second edition in 2023. The competition which includes cycling and sailing rounds, takes place May 27-June 3, 2023 and covers Salento–in his native Puglia–and Greek and Corfu coasts.
Like Filograna’s other pursuits, the race effectively brings a fresh spin to hospitality and business networking while perfectly encapsulating his mindset when building companies with global potential. Filograna began his storied career in 1978 by opening a shoe shop that led to a chain of five stores, before purchasing the Moretto Danilo shoe factory and developing styles for internationally-recognized designer collections for Mariella Burani and Costume National. Filograna continued to blaze a trail across many industries, founding advertising and marketing agency SDAM & PI, Milan-based agri-food products producer Isotta Sapori Mediterranei in 1996, and human resource management firm Work & Progress in 2011.
A decade later, with the worldwide rise of virtual and brick-and-mortar co-working spaces devised to accommodate the needs of entrepreneurs and business travelers, Filograna introduced the first Workness location in Milan. Under his direction, Workness creates a new industry niche converging the co-working space business model with luxury hospitality. The locations are designed for discerning professionals looking for that ideal mix of meeting spaces, high-level business services, lodging, dining, and other amenities.
Taking a page out of that playbook, Filograna next took on the challenge of developing and promoting the first edition of Il Giro dei Venti. CSQ recently caught up with Sergio Filograna to go behind the scenes at this year’s event, learn about how competitors can enrich their lives through participation, and what prompted him to create the competition.
WHAT MAKES IL GIRO DEI VENTI SO DIFFERENT FROM OTHER TEAM-BUILDING
EXPERIENCES, BESIDES ITS RICH BLEND OF BUSINESS AND LEISURE?
Il Giro dei Venti is intended to be an exclusive sport and travel experience in which the sporting dimension becomes an opportunity for discovery. While teamwork and achieving one’s personal best are a big part of the experience among the teams of cyclists and sailors and individually, participation in cultural immersion, gastronomy, and the exploration of the natural terrain and bodies of water fully round things out.
WHAT ORIGINALLY INSPIRED GIRO DEI VENTI AND WHAT’S DIFFERENT THIS YEAR?
I liked the idea of combining biking and sailing because it would attract different kinds of participants and present an original way to showcase the very best of the Mediterranean. This year, we’ve added new experiences and excursions covering sports, food, art, and dance which provides greater depth to the Mediterranean’s past, present, and future. We will tour farms and other local businesses linked to sustainable production. There will also be opportunities to experience tastings and workshops dedicated to the rediscovery of ancient techniques in food production and conservation.
WITH 50 TEAMS WILL BE PARTICIPATING IN THE RACE, IN WHAT WAYS DO THEY ALL
“WIN” IN TERMS OF MAKING PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL CONNECTIONS?
In many ways, Giro dei Venti is less about competition and more about connection. The most precious rewards of participating are a unique immersion in Italian and Greek culture, forging friendships and connections, and enjoying the natural attributes and beauty of each unique setting they cross on bike and by boat.
WHAT CAN RACE PARTICIPANTS EXPECT DURING THE SECOND EDITION OF THE RACE,
BEYOND THE RACE ITSELF?
The sailing and cycling participants will be able to apply individual efforts and collaborative strategies with their teammates to get the most out of the experience. And they will do this against the backdrops of seascapes and terrain that are inspirational and breathtaking.