Antwerpen, Belgium

Patrick and Marleen Van Engelen

The idea of having a holiday home in Tuscany has always been a dream of ours, but like many others, we struggled to justify the investment of a second home in Tuscany versus the amount of time we would actually be able to enjoy it, not to mention the maintenance issues! However, our interest was rekindled when we read an article in De Staandard a couple of years ago about this beautifully restored Tuscan Hamlet. So we read with interest of the fractional ownership private residence club concept and before long we had booked a long weekend discovery visit.We were not disappointed – on arrival we were welcomed like old friends and settled in and enjoyed a wonderful meal in the hamlet’s restaurant. And when we woke up the following morning and saw the view down the valley we were hooked and purchased into the one bedroom residence category.It is our “Casa in Toscana” and we thoroughly enjoy our holidays there and meeting other owners from around the world. We like the sense of owning in a community of like-minded people and as the grounds are extensive with many terraces to read and relax or hike or pic-nic, owners can choose to be as private or sociable as they please.We returned twice last year and on our second visit stayed for three consecutive weeks, our daughter also enjoyed herself at Borgo di Vagli when she stayed there with some friends in 2010.The reservations privileges are very flexible; we normally book three weeks in advance but have enjoyed space available weeks and a short notice stay too.There is so much to see and do in the surrounding area and I don’t think we will ever tire of exploring the area. Favourite half-day trips of ours are Cortona and Castiglion del Largo on Lake Trasimeno. And every first weekend of the month the antiques market in Arezzo. And our private secret is the little lingerie shop in Sienna near San Francesco: delicious! Owners can also take a train from Cortona/Camucia to Florence or Rome for day trips.We have become good friends with Stefania and her friendly team and of course other owners and look forward to seeing them each time we return. We are busy with short trips to other European destinations this year and will have booked a three week stay for later in the year.

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