Meet Your Owner

Sue Pukall and Rick Wilson, Wisconsin, US

To understand our decision to purchase a fractional ownership in Italy, it may help to know that I lived in Germany for 10 years and had enjoyed many holidays to various areas in Italy.

When I moved back to the States, I missed the European lifestyle and hoped I would someday be able to spend part of the year in Europe. Even then, I joked with friends about buying a house in Tuscany a la Frances Mayes! After Rick and I met in 1999, we took many international trips but we were drawn back to northern Italy the most times. The climate is so nice, the towns and countryside so appealing, the food and wine - delicious!

We first read about Borgo di Vagli in an article in the International Herald Tribune in 2008.

It sounded like such an interesting place and concept. We requested information right away, but couldn’t imagine being able to make use of a 1/10th fractional ownership (four planned vacation weeks a year), given that we can’t take a lot of vacation (we manage a family business, care for elderly parents, etc.) Still, I could never quite get the place out of my head, and checked the Hamlet’s website occasionally to dream. Lee, also kept in touch every few months.

When we learned that Borgo di Vagli had decided to also offer 1/15th and 1/20th ownerships, we began thinking more seriously about ownership. Even if we still can’t get away for two full weeks every year, surely we have family members and friends who would want to take advantage of our unused weeks.

Rick’s daughters are now in their 20’s; wouldn’t it be wonderful for them to have a safe base from which to explore Tuscany and Umbria with friends?

I have to admit it was probably the notification of a price increase effective mid-2013 that prompted us to take action. I decided we were going to buy this fractional ownership sight unseen! After looking at the photos on the website so many times and for so many years, I felt I “knew” Borgo di Vagli already.

As business owners, we analyze investments and crunch numbers all the time, but this decision was made more with the heart than with the head. I think I asked Rick “is this crazy?” and his response was “let’s go for it.”

We finally visited the property in October 2013, four months after purchasing. We were absolutely delighted, no regrets.

From the moment we arrived, we felt at home. Stefania and Daria in reception were so welcoming. We ate in Vagli’s trattoria the first night and were seated at a large table with other owners, all like us: people who enjoy traveling and finding special places.

The second night we were there, Mercatale, the tiny village down the road was celebrating its annual Chestnut Festival, and we went with a group that included the Hamlet’s architect, Fulvio; Lee; Stephania; Daria and her boyfriend; Dina, Vagli’s chef; and several owners.

It was a fun and cozy evening spent enjoying local food and wine and music amongst the local people, something it’s doubtful we would have experienced even if we had rented a house for a holiday.

Vagli’s setting suited us to a “t”: the restored 13th-Century buildings are authentic and upscale, but not flashy or pretentious. The hamlet isn’t “touristy”; it’s removed from the crowds without being remote. From our base at the Hamlet, we drove to Montepulciano and Pienza to sample wine; to Assisi to see how the town and Basilica have recovered from the earthquake in 1997; discovered Cortona for the first time; and reacquainted ourselves with Florence for a day. Daria assisted us with getting tickets to the Uffizi Gallery so we didn’t have to waste any time in line.

During our brief 5 days, we met other owners from the US, Canada, Norway and Wales, and were invited daily to join various activities. The highlight had to have been the evening Dina prepared a meal using Fulvio’s freshly-pressed olive oil. I have never tasted olive oil that flavorful. Dina even made gelato flavored with it and a liqueur that was out of this world!

Through our ownership in Borgo di Vagli, we joined the Elite Alliance exchange program, and will shortly be leaving on a ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.


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