North Warrandyte, Melbourne, Australia

Mibel Aguilar & Bill Farrugia

This is for me!!!!That was my email message to my husband and son after reading about Borgo di Vagli at the end of March and 3 months later we came for a Discovery Visit and signed up. I have been trying to understand why it was so easy to do so.We live in a quiet hidden valley with beautiful views of the Yarra Valley, on a dirt road (!!) with kangaroos, noisy morning bird choruses, ear-piercing cicadas during summer and frog serenades so loud in spring that you can’t hear yourself think, not to mention the soft blanket of mists in the valley on crisp autumn mornings. So, why am I so drawn to Borgo di Vagli and Tuscany when I have the Aussie equivalent at home?We both have European backgrounds, my first trip to Europe was in my early 20’s and I have been lucky enough to travel for work. I have always felt very connected to Europe and feel very much at home in Spain, Italy and France. For some reason though, I have always been especially drawn to Tuscany: as explained countless times by so many, it is the history, the people, the culture, the cuisine and the landscape.My first trip to Tuscany was in 2004 for a conference in Siena. From the moment I saw the rolling hills of southern Tuscany from my hotel window, I dreamt of living in this entrancing part of the world. I subscribed to Italia but my next visit was not until 5 years later when we stayed for a week in a beautiful Agriturismo just outside Buonconvento. Another amazing window moment – we looked out over vineyards and Montalcino in the distance. Since then I have visited Florence and Tuscany five times and felt more and more that I wanted to stay. Toscana was getting under my skin and while the richness of the history and architecture in Florence is mesmerizing and pulls me back again and again, I dream of retreating to live in a secluded rural village.So I came to Borgo di Vagli looking for reasons not to buy; basically, there were none. The sensual tranquility of the valley is overwhelming, the view of Pierle castle sends you into a dreamtime and the beauty of the restored 14th century buildings is exquisite. Yet the proximity to so many beautiful villages and countryside in Tuscany and Umbria means that one can be in permanent discovery mode from a real home base. I know Cortona will become a regular haunt, and I think extended trips to Abruzzo might be looming.I felt at home at Borgo di Vagli as soon as we arrived with the welcome we received from Stefania and Daria, and Lee was a wonderful host. I tried to keep Lee guessing whether he had to do any selling, but I think I made it too easy for him (thankfully, as they are now close to full subscription). And meeting some of the other owners during our visit really confirmed to me all the positives of being part of the Borgo di Vagli hamlet community. An hour after arriving on Saturday, we were warmly welcomed at the Trattoria l’cche c’è c’è (and inducted by the last-to-leave group of Jeremy, Pat, Carolyn and Colin) and Monday Pizza night/morning was ridiculously good fun! Dina’s cooking is wonderful and we feel privileged that we can share the experience of the hamlet’s history with Dina, Tiziana and their family.I aim to visit for a fortnight each June-July, which suits work commitments at this stage, but hope to be able to “drop in” at other times of the year if traveling for work. The seclusion and tranquility is like the softest pillow that lets you fully relax and recharge and I hope to come as often as possible. Buying into the hamlet is certainly a lifestyle investment, allowing me to realise a dream without all the hassles of home ownership in another country.We are currently in Florence, just five days after leaving Borgo di Vagli. Normally when I travel I feel I need to learn as much as I can and see as much as possible in a limited time. But as soon as we decided to purchase, everything felt much more relaxed, I feel I am home and visiting the local areas for an afternoon out. The urgency of making the most of ones time in a new area has evaporated and a new peace has settled.

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