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A Philosophy of life
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TESTIMONIAL - England


 

England

Peter and Hiroko Macfarlane, Cheswick, London UK

I first heard of the Borgo a few years ago and registered interest online, but in a rather-half hearted manner as we had no particular plans to buy a property abroad at the time and when the regular updates came through I did not pay much attention. However, last year my wife and I decided to give some serious thought to purchasing a property in Italy and, having been to the Tuscany/Umbria region a couple of times before, we flew over for a short trip and looked around at a number of places in the region. At this time I recalled the Borgo newsletter that I had been receiving regularly and so we included a visit there onto our itinerary, to check it out and see how it compared with owning a property outright.

Like many others, I suspect, the visit clinched it for us and though we were only there for one night in rather dull March weather, we soon realised that fractional ownership made much more sense for us than owning outright. We were already getting cold feet about the prospect of spending a large chunk of every holiday in our “dream home” doing basic maintenance and that would be after we had manoeuvred our way around the Italian legal system and building regulations required for the purchase itself. With the Borgo the financial outlay was less, the fully serviced nature of the place (and friendly staff, of course) was a major attraction and we we would not be as financially and emotionally constrained as if we had gone through with our original plans.

Already we’ve been back twice, once on our own and once with our two adult sons and, though we are not through exploring other parts of the world, we would still expect to visit the Borgo two or three times a year and are also hoping that there will be opportunities for family to join us or indeed to enjoy the experience on their own.

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Nick and Sally Kuenssberg, Glasgow Scotland

Our love for Italy dates from the 1970’s when we lived for 3 years in Milan before returning to our home in Scotland. Later on, after many camping and villa holidays with family and friends in Tuscany, we bought into a fractional ownership project near Florence in 2011. This we enjoyed very happily for three summers until it came to an end when the owners of the project changed their business model. We then heard of another a special place near Cortona and on visiting Borgo in September 2013 we immediately fell in love with it… as so many do.

Its location in this beautiful region gives easy access to the delights of Tuscany and Umbria and the walks from the hamlet are enchanting. The charm, seclusion and tranquillity of the hamlet in all seasons more than compensate for the daunting ascent.

We see ourselves returning at least twice a year and offering the opportunity to other family members and friends. There is no doubt that the welcome from Fulvio and Lee, the efficiency and friendliness of all the staff, the secrets of Dina’s kitchen and the social contacts with other owners from many countries have totally confirmed the rightness of our decision to become owners at Vagli and we look forward to many happy holidays here.

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Jonathan and Veryan Nield, Marlborough, Wiltshire UK

A conversation during walk in a Wiltshire wood was our first introduction to Borgo di Vagli.  Very good friends had decided to invest purely on the enthusiasm generated from the visit to Vagli by mutual friends – ‘interesting ‘ we thought, and left it at that.  Then the same mutual friends sent us a brochure – one look and Jon was hooked.  We love Italy – the culture, food, wine and countryside, and knew that we would want to continue to travel there throughout our lives.  We had talked idly about a second home but soon realised that the bureaucracy and the ongoing time and effort for maintenance would make it a hassle rather than a pleasure.  The concept of Borgo di Vagli addressed all those concerns and provided a very attractive solution.    The flexibility of fractional ownership and the fact that you had some equity meant that it was much more appealing than a simple timeshare.

And so we bought a two-bed fractional – without having ever set foot in the place!  Despite the fact that this is SO out of character for us, we have never regretted the decision.  So our first visit was as owners.  We arrived in spring 2007 at Easter and were welcomed with sunshine, Easter eggs, bottles of wine and extremely friendly people.  The character and authenticity of the place was everything we had hoped for and the setting enchanting – remote and with its own special beauty. The flowering of the wisteria was the icing on the cake.

We have two boys and they love coming to Vagli – in fact to the point that one refuses to leave the place when we are there – despite trying to tempt him with ice-cream in Cortona. Depending on the time of year, time is spent in the pool, playing table tennis and board games and just generally relaxing, with great food and wine and the occasional walk in the surrounding countryside.  Forays to local towns & cultural sites have now become adults only!  At the moment we try to come at least twice a year but know that as the boys grow up and we have more flexibility we will spend more time at Vagli.  Our other weeks are used by friends – it is such a pleasure to be able to share it with them.

The unexpected, but wonderful, bonus to all of this has been the great friendships we have made with those people who are involved with Vagli – they play such a part in making it the special place it is.

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Mr & Mrs Tom and Colyn Moore Wiltshire – England

Two years ago we were captivated by the concept of the renovation of an old Tuscan hamlet. As we wandered around the overgrown and derelict buildings, we could only imagine the magnificent potential. To the astonishment of our young children, we committed to two and a half walls and no roof! It has been exciting to follow the progress and watch the butterfly emerge from the chrysalis.

Having just spent an idyllic week, Vagli has lived up to all our expectations and more. Daily we soaked up the timeless tranquillity and breathtaking views of Rocca di Perle. Surrounded by the unspoiled Tuscan countryside and with the strength and simple earthiness, we felt healed and rejuvenated in no time at all. Living close to nature, it was a time to re-establish ones priorities in life. Quite simply once we were there, we just did not want to be anywhere else.

We congratulate Fulvio in his vision and sympathetic attention to detail in his restoration, along with all those who have worked with him to realise this dream. Borgo di Vagli has enabled people like us to share in this little slice of heaven.

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Neil and Christa Jacob, Ophelia age 6 and Wilfred age 5 -Wiltshire, UK

Looking back on it, our discovery of Borgo di Vagli was, I suspect, similar to many other people’s in our desire to one day “have a house in Italy”. Our journey began in busy, hot Rome and ended in tranquil, refreshing Borgo di Vagli in September 2007. Christa and I were attending a wedding of Italian friends of ours in Rome. It was also our own belated honeymoon (!) and as we had the very rare opportunity to be away on our own as Grandma had very kindly offered to look after our two then tiny children, we decided to make the most of our week in Italy. Christa already knew Umbria, Tuscany and Rome well, having decided to spend a few years living in Italy before studying Art at University, and she was obsessed with the culture, people and of course the amazing food. Her slightly fantastical idea of buying a house in Tuscany soon wore off on myself – but at that time it was really just a romantic ideal, nothing else.

Planning our trip on a Sunday morning at home in our village near Bath, I noticed a newspaper advertisement for fractional ownership at Borgo di Vagli. It seemed the ideal location to spend a few days, being fairly equidistant between Rome and Pisa, and within day-tripping distance of Florence, Siena, Gubbio and Assisi to name but a few tempting places to re-discover. So, we booked a three-day stay thinking it would give us a comparison with properties for outright purchase.

After a fantastic, but exhausting, time in Rome, followed by a calmer first visit to Cortona, we found ourselves following the mysterious, winding track through the forest and up the mountain to Borgo di Vagli. We were like small children in our anticipation of what we would find at the end of the bumpy track. The contrast with the previous few days could not have been more dramatic; we were transported from the intensity of a massive, extravagant “Hello” magazine style Roman wedding to the tranquillity of the hamlet.

Tucked away, quiet, beautiful beyond words, it was quite literally worlds away from everything else.

We can still remember how initially shocked we were by both the beauty and the seclusion of the hamlet; as if we were in the middle of some wonderful dream and the hamlet didn’t really exist. I have to say that it still feels like that every time we return to it. Within a few days, after the reality of the place had eventually sunk in, we realized that it was everything we were looking for in a holiday home. Our planned efforts to search for a freehold property to purchase outright were curtailed (with something of a sense of relief as we had arranged to see as many as possible in the little time we had!), and we willingly succumbed to the temptation of relaxation.

Since purchasing a two bedroom, fractional interest in Borgo di Vagli four years ago, we have brought brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents to stay with us here. All have been stunned by the sheer beauty of this unique place, and, as our two young children grow, they increasing look forward to the many delights that the hamlet, Tuscany and Italy hold, forever asking “when are we going to ‘our home in Italy?'”…

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Andrew Rogerson and Brenda Brady and Emse London UK

In the summer of 2007, on one of those very soggy London days, we came across an article on Borgo di Vagli in The Hill magazine. It immediately grabbed our attention. We knew Tuscany from a previous visit, and found it the perfect antidote to city life. However, fractional ownership was a completely new one to us. Having quickly asked a few questions via email, incorporating an inspection visit into our summer holiday seemed the perfect excuse to get back to Italy.

Feeling quite proud to have found Borgo first time, as we turned into the ‘avenue’ from Pierle, Andy asserted that ‘just so you know, we are definitely not buying anything right now!’ Driving and distracted by the challenging path, I shrugged. Although I secretly harboured a dream that we might have access to such a place (and that was just from photos!), I didn’t have the will to persuade anyone, let alone Andy, to buy into it. We drove on, climbing to our three night escape in the Tuscan mountainside for a browse.

Parked at reception, we were immediately taken with the setting and the aura of Borgo, as well as the warm, collected welcome and the charming buildings. Enchanted! By the time Andy made his way back from the car park, he wanted to bring forward our meeting with Lee to find out all the details! We became owners three months later.

Our decision was heavily emotive and we approached it by coming up with reasons not to buy, but for us the boxes were ticked. It is a truly special place, an affordable holiday investment, limited time and investment in maintenance / administration, endless exploration opportunities in Tuscany and Italy from such a central location. It also has decent travel options, with four close airports and train access.

We wondered when buying how planning holidays so far in advance and returning to the same location would work out. To date the ebbing and flowing of our arrival as weary travellers and leaving rejuvenated from our visits just seems to improve. Within our first year, we explored all of the suggested walks, time we used to chat through and plan out our lives, a little at least, (but not on the Mt Ginezzo ascent that is!).

We became parents with the birth of our baby girl, Esme in 2010, and this begged many more questions about whether the Borgo could remain such a central holiday destination for us. But three years later Esme talks about our previous holiday warmly and regularly and wearily awaits our next visit. As do we!

It really is fun to mingle with the international members and guests who have found their way to the Borgo too. Somehow the random nature of the mix encounters adds to the charm. But one of the central factors to the enjoyment is the staff team! No matter what comes at them, the staff manage to hit the right notes of hospitality and helpfulness (and I am not going to mention how well the 24 hour late arrival for a birthday dinner was handled!)

Six years on, we are just as enchanted by Borgo di Vagli as on our first visit, if not, perhaps, a little more. We are now beginning to recognise that maybe you grow into ownership at Borgo di Vagli and that the charm runs deeper with it. Ask us in another six years!

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Mark Studer, London UK

As a student I spent 9 months at theUniversità per Stranieri in Perugia and I first visited Cortona at that time. I was learning Italian from scratch and even did a course in Etruscan Studies, which involved visiting Etruscan sites and museums throughout Etruria. That was when I first got to know and love Central Italy and I have been returning to the region ever since. I often thought about purchasing a property but never wanted the hassle of maintenance or letting at periods when I would be unable to use it. The Fractional Ownership concept suits me perfectly
I think I first learned about Borgo di Vagli from a press advertisement and then I came to a presentation made by Fulvio at Durrants Hotel in Paddington. He had brought wine, cheese and salamis from Italy and the party went with quite a swing, enhanced by the fact that the waitress assigned to the presentation by the hotel turned out to be a native of Cortona! I was especially impressed with the enthusiasm of some people who were already Fractional Owners and who came along to the presentation.
I was impressed when I attended Fulvio’s original presentation and said that I would visit one afternoon on a forthcoming trip to Tuscany, but he was insistent that I had to “wake up at the Hamlet” in order fully to appreciate it. So I drove over from Castelnuovo Berardenga where I was staying at the time to stay the night at the Hamlet. The white road was a little daunting when I first encountered it, but I had experienced much worse in the Florentine Hills (the equivalent of dried-up river beds!) and my hired Fiat Punto had no difficulty in scrambling up the hills. I suppose on first seeing it I thought that the Hamlet was quite stark, but the restoration has been entirely faithful to the setting and to the vernacular architecture and that is one of the things I now like best about it. On my first evening I had dinner in the Trattoria with Fulvio, his son Edoardo and Lee and was lucky enough to sample Dina’s fettuccine alla lepre for the first time. And Fulvio was of course absolutely right that nothing can beat waking up in the Hamlet and having the morning view down to the Castle of Pierle. As it happened, my first sight was in brilliant summer sunshine, but the view doesn’t fail to enchant in any weather, even (or perhaps especially) in snow!
I have always only ever regarded my ownership at the Hamlet as a lifestyle investment and a down payment on many future happy times in Tuscany.”

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Pam Chadderton-Poole, Cheshire UK

I love the total tranquillity of the hamlet. My favourite memory is watching a large family of wild boar one evening from my residence.

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Mr Tim, Valerie and Victoria Sharp Godalming, Surrey, England

“Before I got here my parents tried to describe Vagli to me but it is indescribable. And, no matter how hard one tries, you just don’t appreciate it until you get here.

How many places can you go where you can look 360 degrees and see nothing but a magnificent view? Where can you go these days to truly calm down and relax? We came here thinking we would use it as a base for day trips, but became so wonderfully relaxed we haven’t gone anywhere. The Trattoria is a delight and the traditional Monday pizza night is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced!

Fulvio’s passion for meticulous and true-to-history restoration never ceases to amaze us. But perhaps it is the sense of family that he has created that is most appreciated. Everyone is so friendly, it’s as though you are coming home to a family estate. My parents own it in perpetuity, so our family will enjoy it for generations. It has become so much more than a holiday – it has become a part of the fabric of our family’s life.”

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Judith and Roy Wade-Duffee, Southampton UK

Initially we had no real intention of buying in Italy and really fell into it. We had always loved Italy and visited on a number of occasions, including our honeymoon. We were ‘invited’ by another property developing company, involved in a completely different type of property / concept to undertake an inspection trip to view their project. Whilst researching this company on the internet I came across BdV, by accident, and this seemed so much more attractive to us not only the nature of the Hamlet but also the approach to selling the product and the up front information available. We organised an inspection trip with Lee, were subjected to his ‘soft sell’ techniques and the rest is history.

Roy and I, at the time of purchase, had stressful lives not only with work commitments but also with family issues which impacted on us significantly. We were looking to find some form of a haven, bolt-hole and a retreat where we could relax and unwind a little, still be in touch with the real world, if required and near enough to return home if a crisis arose during our ‘away time’. Bdv seemed to fulfill all of our needs at that time.

Suffering badly from vertigo and sitting in the outside seat on the way to the Hamlet, my first memory was OMG and the journey up being breathtaking (sometimes literally). I arrived requesting a very large gin and tonic and whilst being blown away by the views and scenery wondered how on earth I was going to brave it back down again or whether I needed to register with the Embassy in Rome as a permanent resident!

Over the course of the inspection trip my confidence in Roy getting us up and down alive gradually increased. Once I had survived going up and down in the DARK there was a serious chance that BdV could become the haven we were looking for. Everything else was idyllic … it was me being cowardly that held us back. We did sign on the dotted line by the time we left and have not regretted the purchase.

I still do pray, however, before we set off up or down the road that we will not meet either Fulvio or Lee coming Kamikaze style in the opposite direction!!!

One of the factors we considered was whether we would get sufficient use out of the Hamlet, at that time, to justify the expense.Or would we have insufficient time to be able to maximise our investment. We also were aware that we wanted to visit other places and not ‘feel obliged’ to return because we had bought at BdV. Roy’s brother Mark and his wife Janet were also interested in BdV and also had similar time constraints. We decided that the solution would be to purchase a fraction between us, with each couple choosing to take separate holidays or together and each having the ability to bring guests along as well if they chose.

Initially I calculated the cost- effectiveness of the purchase against the price of say ten year’s worth of holidays at a similar location (allowing for multiple trips a year) and once it stacked up against this then I felt any ownership beyond that was a benefit that did not need to be justified further. This combined with the fact that once the inventory was sold the fractional potentially had the ability to increase in value once demand exceeded the limited supply, increased the attractiveness of the proposition in the event that we wished / needed to sell at a future date.

My heart was already sold and the joy of knowing that BdV was ‘there when we needed it’ and to be enjoyed in perpetuity probably outweighed the financial cost analysis, in any event.

I think the first year following purchase Roy and I visited five times, Roy on one occasion going alone to do photography and mountain biking. Far too arty or sweaty for me!!!

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Jeremy and Pat Bilham from Dorset, UK

We first came across Borgo di Vagli almost by chance. Having spent a long weekend in Tuscany it gave us the taste to spend some more time there.

After some research we discovered Borgo di Vagli on the web and booked an inspection visit, or so I thought! Flights booked and we turned up, but we were not expected. Our booking had not come through. However, the team could not have been more helpful and put us straight into an available residence overlooking the castle.

When Fractional Ownership came along we jumped at the chance. It was absolutely ideal for us and fitted in with the way we chose to use it.

We had never normally planned our holidays in advance and we had always expected to get a last minute bargain, but that never seemed to work for us, ending up with accommodation that nobody else wanted, under the flight path etc. They might have been last minute but they weren’t bargains.

With Borgo di Vagli it was reliably high quality with no worries and we could book well in advance or just a few days. We know we will be able to just totally relax from day one.

As for always going back to the same place, Borgo di Vagli is not a problem for us. We have stayed in most, if not all, of the residences and they all have their own unique charm so we are never disappointed. Also, having visited many times, we find there is no pressure to visit all the tourist areas. We have done that already, so we seek out those places off the beaten track and then reward ourselves with a day by the pool.

It was definitely a lifestyle investment for us and it has changed our lives. We visit 3 or 4 times every year; as much as our work allows. Our children, now grown up since we started, still want to come with us and bring their partners (maybe because there is no cost involved for them!). We have brought friends along and they have come back on their own. So it is very flexible from that point of view.

Another bonus is that we meet so many great people from the rest of Europe and from the States. Sharing Dina’s meals in I’ cche c’è c’è certainly breaks the ice and we always seem to be the last to leave the trattoria. Then a glass (or two) of Limoncello on the terrace afterwards can extend into the early hours.

We have never failed to look forward to our time in “Vagli” whether with family or friends or on our own and have never considered exchanging

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John and Sandra Voyez, Wiltshire SN13 0HZ, England

My wife and I both like walking, and, as I am half Italian, walking in the Italian countryside is our ideal holiday. We had read an article on Borgo di Vagli in The Times, and as we had already arranged to walk a section of the Cinque Terre returning to Pisa, the obvious thing to do was tack on an inspection visit to our walking holiday.

We had toyed with the idea of buying in Italy for some time, but were generally put off by the fact that we would be absent for most of the year, and continually worry about the security of the property and its upkeep. Also, we did not want to spend a large part of our holiday each year carrying out maintenance work in order to keep anywhere we bought in good condition; so fractional interest seemed like the ideal solution.

If we are honest, we would probably have looked for a location slightly to the North, but when we first saw Borgo di Vagli we were immediately sold on the hamlet and its location, although the approach via the strada bianca was a little more than interesting !!! We both tend to go on first impressions, and we both knew immediately that this is what we wanted – there was not much “selling” to be done.

The main concern regarded what guarantees we would have that Borgo di Vagli would be maintained into the future, and would there be sufficient funds to keep the hamlet going at its current level of operation and upkeep – in short, would the owners cut and run once all the interests had been sold. The continuing presence of Fulvio at the hamlet provides a lot of comfort on that front, but this was very much a purchase from the heart, with relatively little consideration given to the financial investment aspect..

We visit at least twice a year, and would like to do a few more trips in the future, possibly a week at Borgo di Vagli, followed by a week somewhere else in Italy, and then returning for a week. We have been owners now for just under 5 years and we are still finding new things to do and places to visit.

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Tim and Ruth Wade Butlers Cross, Buckinghamshire UK

We are a family that has enjoyed travelling all over the world. Originally from Australia, but based just outside London these past 12 years, Ruth and I have experienced many adventures with our four children, Georgia, Thomas, Harriet and Prudence. To the beach, the snow, the countryside, the fjords, the major metropolises, the charming towns…by ship, by air, by river boat, by bicycle, car and train. In particular, we have routinely taken villas in the Summer all over Europe. Many of these experiences were brilliant, some good, and others, well, questionable. One thing we agree on however is the enduring appeal of all things Italian. We have spent many memorable holidays in the land of the risorgimento. Principally in Tuscany, in Umbria, in the Cinque Terre, Sicily, Sardinia, and finally in the magical Lakes district (Como, Garda and Maggiore).

After all this restiveness, the prospect of adopting a settled and known base in Tuscany, in a beautifully restored medieval hamlet, with helpful and welcoming staff was in truth not an especially difficult sale. We nevertheless made Lee work hard, simply because we had not encountered the fractional formula before. Turns out it really is simple, sensible, and uniquely convenient. After our initial inspection visit in November 2010, we signed soon after, and have been back another five times already. Door to door (via Stansted, to the rather rustic Perugia airport) can be as quick as five hours for us. It sounds bizarre, I’m sure, but we almost feel fondly about Ryanair.

The immediate attractions of Vagli are readily discernible, and its charms have been well documented by earlier accounts, and in the stunning new video. But here is what we especially like – there is something for everyone.

Ruth and I visit just to do nothing. We eat, walk (try the walk to Scoiattolo – views of Trasimeno and Cortona to die for), play golf, read, visit another hilltop town which has been impossibly well preserved (say, Castel Rigone, or Gubbio, or Orvieto), catch the train to Florence (recently, for a Medici exhibition), make a pilgrimage to a favourite vineyard (Antinori or Avignonesi), and sleep. And eat. Especially eat. Mostly at i’cche c’e c’e.

Our children all visited with us in the Summer, and we enjoyed a marvellously close ten day holiday in their company. Restful days around the pool under clear blue skies, interspersed with long, leisurely meals. With an age range of 18-23, the absence of bars, night clubs and other typically youthful distractions might have been problematic. Not a bit of it. They have talked enthusiastically about returning with their own friends at some point in the future. And, happily, with us too.

On another occasion I brought two golfing friends for a four day break which included two rounds at the nearby Antognolla Golf Club. This is as near to golfing paradise as I can imagine. A wonderful layout (Robert Trent Jones design) set in a lush valley, with water, pine trees, pristine fairways – and every hole under the brooding presence of the 13th century Antognolla castle. The brilliantly changing colours of the trees in late October provided a special treat. Lee has also proved to be a highly competitive and gracious golf partner.

We are extremely happy to have found Vagli. Thanks to Fulvio (larger than life), to Lee (and Cecilia), to Steffi (a complete darling), to Bianca, and of course to Dina, Roberta and Tizziana, who have made us feel so very welcome. We’ll see you again soon.

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Barry & Denise Clout Kings Lynn, Norfolk UK

Barry is a retired Pathology Manager and Denise is a Senior Scientist in Blood Transfusion in the National Health Service at the local hospital in Kings Lynn, Norfolk in the UK.

Having enjoyed a holiday at a Borgo in Colletta Sottana, we returned home and searched the internet for similar places in Tuscany, looking for something different, quiet, and suitably located to visit some of the beautiful towns and cities in Italy, as we particularly like visiting the many churches and seeing the art work hidden within their walls.

Also we have a love of wine and Italian food for which Tuscany is ideal, and the Hamlet’s Trattoria is a fine exponent.

We were also looking to invest some of my impending retirement pension for the benefit of the whole family so we can all enjoy relaxing and rewarding holidays for years to come, and we feel we have achieved this, and we will be bringing family from Canada next year to sample the delights of the Hamlet and Tuscany.

Although the investment has been considerable, it was never about finance, rather more a lifestyle investment, and something to pass onto our children and grandchildren. When we are both retired in a couple of years we hope to visit as often and long as we can, but at present we come twice a year.

Our first impressions of the Hamlet were immediate when we went off the road on the access road – not a good start, however that has been overcome and the remoteness and originality, mixed with peace and quiet, supported by excellent staff “sold” the Hamlet to us during our first stay.

With easy, cost effective travel to and from the UK to Tuscany, this was a final reason for us choosing Borgo di Vagli and hope to enjoy the Hamlet for years to come.

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Hannah Makings-Hone and her mother Shelia Makings Oakham, UK

For a number of years, Dad and I had been trying to convince Mum that it would be a great idea to have a family holiday home abroad to enable us to establish a discipline of taking holidays and enjoying quality time together, whilst embracing the culture of a different country and benefiting from a warmer summer climate. Mum struggled to see this as anything other than increased responsibilities and an unacceptable burden of ownership! We work together in our 2 family businesses and as our working lives are incredibly busy, sadly this means our holidays are limited each year. As time passed, we believed we had been rightly convinced against the idea by Mum.

One day, Dad returned from one of his many business trips to the Middle East with a magazine article in hand all about Borgo. This opened our eyes to the idea of ‘Fractional Ownership’. Mum and Dad wasted no time in arranging an ‘Inspection Visit’ where they were bowled over by the unique charm of this amazingly restored 14th Century Hamlet. Their discovery prompted an immediate family meeting and what they described with such heartfelt emotion, left little doubt in all our minds that Borgo was ideal for us! Mum and I became owners at Borgo in 2007. We now have the benefit of a beautiful holiday home in the Tuscan Hills with none of the anxiety and ties of sole-ownership.

I have 2 Daughters, Emma (11) and Sophie (8) and they along with my Husband, Michael, myself and my Parents have all fallen in love with our ‘Tuscan Home’ and thrive on our snippets of ‘Tuscan Life’ each time we are there. We have taken the majority of our annual holidays at Borgo and are in constant awe of the beauty, peace and tranquility the location which allows us, for the duration of our stay, to leave behind the pressures of our busy working lives and enjoy each other’s company as a family.

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Timothy and Valerie Sharp Godalming, England

Testimonial from their daughter Victoria

Before I got here my parents tried to describe Vagli to me but it is indescribable.  And, no matter how hard one tries, you just don’t appreciate it until you get here.

How many places can you go where you can look 360 degrees and see nothing but a magnificent view? Where can you go these days to truly calm down and relax? We came here thinking we would use it as a base for day trips, but became so wonderfully relaxed we haven’t gone anywhere. The Trattoria is a delight and the traditional Monday pizza night is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced!

Fulvio’s passion for meticulous and true-to-history restoration never ceases to amaze us. But perhaps it is the sense of family that he has created that is most appreciated. Everyone is so friendly, it’s as though you are coming home to a family estate. My parents own it in perpetuity, so our family will enjoy it for generations. It has become so much more than a holiday – it has become a part of the fabric of our family’s life.

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Mark Evans and Susan Borrett Boston, Lincolnshire UK

I can still recall the first time I read about Borgo as I was 6 months pregnant with our son Ben and commuting to work reading a copy of the Independent newspaper. In the property section were details of an award that had just been won my Borgo and I thought I would take a further look on the website which I duly did. I knew we would never be able to own a property outright and whilst my partner dreamt of buying a run down house in he hills and taking the next 10 years to complete the restoration we knew it was just a pipe dream. Having worked with clients that operated fractional ownership developments I knew the concept was one that worked for all parties and all I needed to do was convince my partner Mark, which took a number of years!

We had travelled extensively through the north of Italy and the Tuscan/Umbria regions following our passions of watching motorcycle racing so we had spend weekends, long weekends and even weeks holidaying in Italy and knew we both really like this area. Having lived in London for almost 20 years and then the last 3 in Mexico City we knew that any holiday destination needed to have some peace and tranquility from the manic city lives we were leading.

Almost 4 years later and whilst we were living in Mexico we finally agreed to make a visit to the hamlet but as our time back in Europe was so short last summer (and we could only make a 3 day visit) we decided to send an advance party (in May) of my parents who are both intrepid travelers, even in their early 70’s. They loved the place and spent a week travelling around the region to enable them to prepare a full resume for us of what was a available to do and see in the area. They particularly enjoyed the pizza night and chatting motorcycle stories with a number of other guests and my father too is still a motorcyclist in his 70’s. There only complain since we purchased is why didn’t we do it 10 years ago!

Our first impressions and ones which our son Ben enjoyed was the drive up to the hamlet along the gravel track, he though it was brilliant. Upon seeing the hamlet as you come around the final corner you enter a sense of calm and remoteness which was very appealing. Seeing inside the properties was everything I had expected and more as I had spent so much time reading articles and perusing the website that I had this picture in my mind already of a lovingly restored property completed in the way they had existed in the past but with all the conveniences of modern day living.

One of the things that we love about the hamlet is the feeling at one with nature and this was reinforced in my recent visit with our son Ben (unfortunately Mark had to stay and work in Mexico!) and my parents and we spend some great days walking in the woods and around the property. Ben was in heaven as living in one of the largest cities in the world, open space and nature are two things that can sometime be hard to find. We found porcupine quills in the woods, he followed dear and wild boar tracks, played in the streams, climbed on the diggers he found in the woods and thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor life we were able to experience for a week

Before making our purchase we considered if we ourselves, family and friends, would be interested in sharing our enjoyment in staying here and the answers were yes. For our stage in life we knew we would never be able to own outright and didn’t was the costs and hassle with maintaining a place 100% of the time so this seemed an ideal alternative. It could also be something that would remain in the family in the future for others to enjoy. So we were sold and even Mark had come around to my way of thinking 4 years after planting the original seed.

We considered the purchase a combination of both a lifestyle choice and an investment and we hope to be able to share this with our family and friends in the future. We hope to make as much use as possible of the hamlet over the coming years and look forward to exploring further areas and towns in the locality in more detail.

Whilst living in Mexico during the past year we have not been able to make full use of the hamlet but now we will be returning to the UK this summer to live we hope to have many more memorable weeks at Borgo. This summer we even have a Swedish family who we met in Mexico coming to join us for a week’s holiday and my parents again for a week also.

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Vicki Burton, North Lincolnshire, England

I first read about Borgo di Vagli’s fractional ownership concept in a Sunday Times supplement. I cut it out and put it in my handbag knowing that I would be spending time in Rome in a few weeks to meet up with some of my relatives who live in South Africa. I suggested to my mother that she might enjoy a 90 minute train ride up to Tuscany for the day as I was keen to visit a little hamlet that I was thinking about buying into.

The train from Rome Termini to Terontola was very scenic and followed by a short taxi ride to Borgo di Vagli where, Stefania, the resort director welcomed us with a cold glass of white wine as if we were old friends. We lunched under the shade of the Pergola on a hot sunny day, and it was there that I fell in love with the location and marveled at the high quality of the restoration of the hamlet – and although I had visited and soaked up the Hamlet for only a couple of hours, I knew I wanted to be part of it before I left.

I had some funds due from a maturing savings policy and I had been thinking to buy a Porsche! However after my trip to Vagli I decided to make a commitment to spending regular free time in Italy; try and learn the language, try to drive the Italian way, learn more about the local wines and try my hand at cooking local recipes with fresh local produce – and to do all this, I would buy my home in Tuscany and just go with the flow!

I didn’t really take much into account before deciding to buy – other than checking the purchase process with a lawyer.

My aim was to visit Vagli at least twice a year – I love the climate in June and September. I also hope my sons and friends can take advantage of visiting and enjoying such a beautiful part of the world. I would love to visit more, but my hectic business and social life coupled with animal ties in the UK and not to mention the stress of flying with Ryanair – unfortunately limits more frequent visits.

A dream of mine is to spend a few weeks driving down and staying at out of the way places en-route. It won’t be in 2014, but maybe the year after.

I perceive ownership as more of a lifestyle choice, but when my arthritis eventually prevents me from visiting, my hope is that I will see satisfactory financial return on my purchase, which would make my many happy memories even sweeter.

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Prof. John and Margaret Owens Colchester – England

We’ve spent our summer holidays in Tuscany and Umbria for over 15 years now. We love the wild and rolling countryside, the hill towns and, of course, the friendly Italians. We struck gold when we bought at Vagli! Whether it’s waking-up to the wonderful view from our bedroom window or simply eating breakfast or lunch under our Pergola or lazing on one of the beautiful terraces, the beauty and serenity of Vagli is almost overwhelming. We’ve taken lots of photos during our two weeks and will be poring over them all year. We really appreciated Dina and Roberta’s delicious cooking in the village’s Trattoria and the overall friendliness of the staff. We are already looking forward to returning next year.

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Mr & Mrs Shortland Kent – UK

On a grey day in April, the views from Borgo di Vagli were outstanding, and one can only imagine how spectacular they will be in the full bloom of an Italian summer.

Engineer Fulvio di Rosa and his team have created wonderful interiors to complement the views, with beautiful antique furniture along side fully modern kitchens and bathrooms. We were extremely impressed with the attention paid to even the smallest detail.

We were lucky enough to be the first to enjoy fresh bread cooked in the wood oven, and we look forward very much to savouring our first feast in the cosy trattoria, along with all the other treats Vagli has to offer, when we “claim” our little piece of Tuscany later in the year.

October
We returned to Vagli on a bright golden day in October. There was a gentle mellowness everywhere, which complemented the old stone buildings so well. Our residence was so cosy and inviting that even the little bird tapping at the window appeared to want to come in to share it with us. We were absolutely delighted with our purchase, which already feels like a second home even after one short week. It was fascinating to watch Fulvio’s team turning the old milking shed into the new alimentari, and we are looking forward with great anticipation to seeing the further changes to our little spot in Tuscany when we next return.

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Jeremy and Pat Bilham from Dorset, UK

We first came across Borgo di Vagli almost by chance. Having spent a long weekend in Tuscany it gave us the taste to spend some more time there.

After some research we discovered Borgo di Vagli on the web and booked an inspection visit, or so I thought! Flights booked and we turned up, but we were not expected. Our booking had not come through. However, the team could not have been more helpful and put us straight into an available residence overlooking the castle.
When Fractional Ownership came along we jumped at the chance. It was absolutely ideal for us and fitted in with the way we chose to use it.

We had never normally planned our holidays in advance and we had always expected to get a last minute bargain, but that never seemed to work for us, ending up with accommodation that nobody else wanted, under the flight path etc. They might have been last minute but they weren’t bargains.

With Borgo di Vagli it was reliably high quality with no worries and we could book well in advance or just a few days. We know we will be able to just totally relax from day one.

As for always going back to the same place, Borgo di Vagli is not a problem for us. We have stayed in most, if not all, of the residences and they all have their own unique charm so we are never disappointed. Also, having visited many times, we find there is no pressure to visit all the tourist areas. We have done that already, so we seek out those places off the beaten track and then reward ourselves with a day by the pool.

It was definitely a lifestyle investment for us and it has changed our lives. We visit 3 or 4 times every year; as much as our work allows. Our children, now grown up since we started, still want to come with us and bring their partners (maybe because there is no cost involved for them!). We have brought friends along and they have come back on their own. So it is very flexible from that point of view.

Another bonus is that we meet so many great people from the rest of Europe and from the States. Sharing Dina’s meals in I’ cche c’è c’è certainly breaks the ice and we always seem to be the last to leave the trattoria. Then a glass (or two) of Limoncello on the terrace afterwards can extend into the early hours.

We have never failed to look forward to our time in “Vagli” whether with family or friends or on our own and have never considered exchanging

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Mr Tim, Valerie and Victoria Sharp Godalming, Surrey, England

“Before I got here my parents tried to describe Vagli to me but it is indescribable. And, no matter how hard one tries, you just don’t appreciate it until you get here.

How many places can you go where you can look 360 degrees and see nothing but a magnificent view? Where can you go these days to truly calm down and relax? We came here thinking we would use it as a base for day trips, but became so wonderfully relaxed we haven’t gone anywhere. The Trattoria is a delight and the traditional Monday pizza night is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced!

Fulvio’s passion for meticulous and true-to-history restoration never ceases to amaze us. But perhaps it is the sense of family that he has created that is most appreciated. Everyone is so friendly, it’s as though you are coming home to a family estate. My parents own it in perpetuity, so our family will enjoy it for generations. It has become so much more than a holiday – it has become a part of the fabric of our family’s life.”

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Alistair and Barbara Webster from Rochdale UK

As you turn off the autostrada, Cortona, ancient city built into the side of the hill, dominating the plain, looks as though it has just grown out of the rock. Driving along the fertile valley through Pergo, it seems to be a different type of world from the crete and the Val di chiana: fertile, almost somnolent in the heat. And then over the pass, and down towards Pierle, and yet another world as you enter the timeless woodland which surrounds Vagli.
It’s easy to romanticise Tuscany and to dream of it as a landscape which has always been as tranquil as it seems today, stretched out luxuriously under the sun. But the very existence of the Rocca at Pierle and the watchtower at Vagli speak of a more threatening past.
No threats now, except the danger of not wanting to go home. At whatever time of year, Vagli is a haven: it’s not a place out of time – the internet and other modern developments see to that – but it is a place in which to reflect, to unwind and to give time to the many things which a busy professional life usually blots out.
Spending a few minutes watching the sun dappling the floor though the vine canopy; watching the boar families coming for their afternoon rooting on the terraces; listening to the chatter and clinking from the kitchen. No pressure from the clock.
Of course, you can find these things in many places, no doubt, but the combination of the place, the people and the care taken in restoring the old hamlet make it unique.
Any friends or relatives who have spent time with us out here always seem to leave with a wistful smile upon their faces.
There is, of course, a downside: when your guard is down and the wine and food in the trattoria have worked their magic, there is always the danger of a noisy evening doing ( in my unfortunate case ) Monty Python impressions.
For which this Queen’s Counsel can only apologise – in the words taken from the Monty Python Italian phrasebook: “My hovercraft is full of eels!”

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Bob, Amanda and Josh Wheatley from Cumbria UK

“For a few years we toyed with the idea of buying a holiday home in Tuscany, but were put off by the price tag and the hassle of a second home overseas, but when we discovered Borg di Vagli near the popular medieval town of Cortona in southern Tuscany, we new right away that we had found our Tuscan retreat” said Bob, a retired anaesthetist, who along with his wife Amanda are enjoying a new passion having founded a sailing school/charter company on Lake Windermere www.outrunsailing.co.uk.

“We all get so excited when we are going to Vagli, we love the heated swimming pool and the relaxing terraces, mountain biking and excursions into the area’s small historic towns.
Since buying late last year, we’ve already returned twice and have a family holiday reserved in August. Amanda and some of her girlfriends have a week reserved in September for spa treatments, shopping at the fashion outlet’s and wine tasting nearMontepulciano. Josh and I are returning in October for more of the outdoor activities. By the way, I really enjoyed taking a few Euros from Lee on the golf course. He did a great job of making arrangements for a golf outing on a beautiful course near Perugia.”

When asked if he was satisfied with his experiences Bob replied, “Absolutely, we have a friend who bought a second home in Umbria and he is always going on about how every time he visits he has to spend a lot of time opening up the property, taking care of it and closing it up when they leave. We love Vagli because we have purchased a no hassle form of second home ownership and every small detail is taken care for us prior to arrival. We simply arrive, pick up our key, spend the day relaxing by the pool and look forward to meeting other wners in the Trattoria. We can start relaxing the moment we arrive.”

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