North Warrandyte, Melbourne, Australia

Mibel Aguilar & Bill Farrugia

When one first learns about Borgo di Vagli, it seems too good to be true. The opportunity to purchase a Fractional Ownership in this exquisitely restored hamlet in iconic Tuscany seems like a fantasy proposition that can’t be possible in this modern world and might seem like some elaborate hoax. The best way to see first-hand that Borgo di Vagli is not a hoax is to experience a Discovery Visit.We first learned about Borgo di Vagli in March a couple of years ago and after email correspondence with Lee, we visited 3 months later in June for a week long Discovery Visit. What an amazing week – looking back, it was life-changing. Within hours of arriving, we were dining with owners in the hamlet’s Trattoria sampling Dina’s wonderful cooking and learning all about life at Borgo di Vagli – we instantly felt part of the family.The owners happily shared their experience of Fractional Ownership, and how after so many years they really feel it is their home in Tuscany. I remember sitting in our Residence soon after we arrived and staring at how beautiful the walls, the ceilings, the floors, the doors all appeared, all lovingly restored to their original condition, and realising that this is what I have been sub-consciously dreaming about owning one day. During the week it is possible to experience some of the nearby Tuscan and Umbrian towns (eg that trip we visited Radda on the way down from Florence, Cortona, Perugia, Assisi during the week and Lucignano and Asciano on the way back to Florence) and we also went on the wonderful Winery tour at Avignonesi. And Monday night was the famous Borgo di Vagli Pizza Night which in addition to the 7 delicious pizzas, it was a social extravaganza – in summer you have to pinch yourself that you are under the stars in a hidden paradise sharing stories jokes and wonderful food and wine with like-minded friends from all around the world.Before you visit the Hamlet, the practicalities of Fractional Ownership may be a concern, will you be able to take advantage of the 4 weeks, will you feel a negative pressure to return to the same place each time for a holiday, how does it compare to owning a property outright etc. A Discovery Visit allows you to immerse yourself in life at the Hamlet and surrounds, and decide whether this peaceful Tuscan haven is the opportunity you seek to retreat, regroup and discover at your own pace on your terms. It certainly is for us.——We wanted to highlight our wonderful owners Mibel and Bill, who recently increased their interest portfolio at Vagli so that they can spend more time at the Hamlet and invite family and friends to join them too.Our first stay at Borgo di Vagli was a Discovery Visit 3 months after seeing a notice in an Italian property newsletter. From the moment we picked up the car in Florence, the excitement built about visiting the beautiful hamlet that seemed too good to be true. But as anyone who has visited knows so well, the gorgeous 700-year-old beautifully restored cosy stone residences and the dreamlike surroundings were totally overwhelming – we had found our Tuscan paradise.While it was very easy to make the decision to become an owner (and I would have loved to own 10 x 1/10ths), we weren’t sure how practical it might be to visit often enough to make full use of our share living 24 hours away in Australia!!!So we became proud owners of a 1/15th interest (which gave us 14 planned vacation days a year plus unlimited space available vacations) of a one-bedroom residence category. However, after about 15 months (and two more stays) we decided to increase our share to a 1/10th interest (which gave us 28 planned vacation days a year plus unlimited space available vacations), not only to spend more time at our Home in Tuscany but to also allow us to invite family and friends to join us. The larger interest gives us that flexibility and we are looking forward to our first extended family visit later this year.And now, two years on, physically I live over here, but I constantly daydream about being over there. I have collected every book about living and travelling in Tuscany and even several crime novels set in Tuscany. I pore over maps of Tuscany, Umbria, Le Marche and Abruzzo, planning several years holidays in advance – and then extend the horizons to different other regions of Italy and France and family visits back to Spain and Belgium.Looking back at various holiday destinations, my warmest memories (apart from family catch-ups) are where we stayed for an extended time and got to know the locals and felt like we were part of the community. The Borgo di Vagli owners and staff are a very special community and they all make our home in Tuscany a very special place.Phil Doran described it perfectly in his book “The Reluctant Tuscan” (what is the opposite of reluctant??, that’s me). From the moment you land or when the Frecciarossa crosses into the region, “Tuscany begins to work its magic. Its alluring charms and inexhaustible natural beauty seduce you and if you are not careful, you find yourself feeling happy for absolutely no reason at all”. Actually, you can never tell which of the million reasons has weaved its magic on you!

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