London, England, United Kingdom

Mark Studer,

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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