Peter Giacomini has spent a lifetime travelling the world and is passionate about his experiences in the hotel industry.

Peter shared a synopsis of “The Cardboard Suitcase”: “It is a story of my life from my birth to my retirement in Praia da Luz in the Algarve. It tells the story of a poor boy born in the middle of WW2 in destroyed Italy, who was blessed to make a career in the world of luxury hotels in five continents and in excess of a dozen countries. It describes the ups and down of life from poverty to success, from working in a tap factory at age of nine to vice president and general manager of world-renowned hotel companies like Marriott and Disney.”

Peter was born and brought up in rural Northern Italy and entered the luxury hotel profession as a trainee waiter at only 15 years old. He later became a senior executive with Marriott International with whom he worked for thirty-two years. Peter is now a public speaker and consultant to the hospitality sector. Peter lives in Praia da Luz in the Algarve and he told me he first came here in 1986 and bought a house here whilst he was still working in Barbados. In February of 2013, he moved here full time, noting that “living here is quite easy, compared to what is happening in the world today, I am glad I am here.” Peter told me he walks up to 10km a day and is an avid reader, finishing a book every two weeks, recommending “Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World” by Niall Ferguson.

Adventure, travel, romance

His is a true story of courage, passion and perseverance – with a liberal sprinkling of sex and intrigue thrown in! In this novel you will find adventure, travel and romance, with reviewers stating that it makes a great travelogue as well as being an inspiring story for those especially in the hospitality sector but an enjoyable read for all those trying to become successful, with one review including one from author and retiree Lee Cockerell who was the Executive Vice President of Walt Disney World Resort: “Peter has written a fascinating book which details the ups and downs of life and how vital attitude and passion are in becoming successful, no matter what obstacles are put in your way. Peter’s courage, expertise and success are known around the world. Peter never underestimated what he could accomplished. This book will inspire you and teach you how to achieve more success than you ever imagined.”

Cardboard suitcase

The title given to the book is because Peter left his home at 15 with the cardboard suitcase and travelled to Rome with the equivalent of 50 dollars to work in hotels. Peter’s intentions were always set “to be a waiter and to make people happy and give them an experience which was instilled from my mother.” Adding that “being a waiter was a professional job and it was something you were proud to be.”

Additionally, Peter told me that it was his son who inspired him to write this book which he did once he retired, over the span of six years. “I decided to give it a go and I started to write it in 2012, on a flight from Saint Louis Missouri to Miami.”

I asked Peter about his writing process and he told me unlike some writers, he does not dedicate a set time to writing every day, “I have to write when I have the thought and the desire to do so, which meant some days I would not write for days and sometimes I would be inspired at 4am and write.” By publishing this book, Peter hopes that his story will inspire others “if I can inspire at least one or two people, I have achieved what I wanted to do”, adding that he felt “it was an important story to tell and that you can have all the experience in the world but if you keep it to yourself, it does not help others.”

Apart from being an author, Peter is also a dedicated speaker and a wonderfully motivational one at that as well as a Hotel Management Consultant. Peter has dedicated a lot of time to helping others through his lived experiences and has done numerous speeches at various universities and hotels all over the world as well as Portugal.

He told me that “I have two speeches that are very successful called, “The Essence of Service Speech” and “Learning the ways of the World”.” “Learning the ways of the World” speech is based on “having been in different countries, with different cultures, I speak to university students who are lost but know that they want to travel the world.” Whereas, “The Essence of Service Speech” emphasises “that you have to have an attitude with a certain discipline to give a level of service. It is all about having the right frame of mind; the idea that being a waiter is not being a servant and there are many misconceptions about this role.”

“The Cardboard Suitcase” is available on Amazon, similarly, Peter has told me he would be happy to deliver a signed copy of his book to anyone in the Algarve so if you would like to purchase a copy please do reach out.

Peter is part of the Algarve Authors group and has done many book signings with them in the last two years and plans to do more book signings in the future. Peter also hopes to do online conferences with a human library type approach and to continue doing speeches for educational purposes and it is important to note that he does not charge schools, universities or associations, affirming that “it is part of my contribution to the world”.

Finally, Peter told me that it would be great if any readers of “The Cardboard Suitcase” could leave a review as he would be happy to hear readers thoughts, which you can do by sending him an email.

For more information about Peter Giacomini or if you are interested in his speeches, please see, alternatively you can contact Peter at


Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.

Cristina da Costa Brookes