Washington, USA

Enrico Capraro and Josephine Baiamonte

A woman once told me that having now reached adulthood, I should put my dreams in a drawer and every once in a while, when I grew melancholic, I could open up that drawer to sort through all my dreams before turning my attention to reality. And so, following the advice of this sage woman, I kept one rather persistent dream in my small drawer - as a matter of fact, it was the only dream that occupied the drawer- to own a home in Italy! Although to some her advice may appear at first glance to be rather negative and pessimistic, as it turned out, for me this became a battle cry! Please indulge me as I share our story with you….My husband and I could have written our own saga of “North and South.” You see, he hails from the top of the Italian boot - the northern region of Veneto, Italy and I am from the south - specifically, the island of Sicily - a much smaller territory seemingly being kicked by the boot. Enrico and I met in Washington D.C. 23 years ago. He ventured to D.C., after graduating from college, driven by the curiosity of a country in which he was born and lived with his parents until the age of 7. I on the other hand, was born in Sicily and remained there with my parents, until I was also seven, when we moved to the United States.To make a long story short, we met one sunny Sunday at the Holy Rosary Church in Washington, D.C. (did I also mention this was the very Church where Enrico was christened as a baby and where his parents had also wed? But I digress…). Much to our mutual delight, we soon realized we had many things in common - not only broad topics of interest but the very fact that we shared a common heritage and love of Italy. He expressed his interest to learn more about America while I expressed my heart’s desire to return to Italy.After a whirlwind week of dating, I realized the relationship was doomed to end because I was moving to NY to accept a job, before leaving for Italy again, where another job was waiting for me. Although Enrico promised to visit, the thought of a long distance relationship was far from palatable… Surprisingly enough, Enrico proposed and I accepted! Insane as this all sounds, I am glad to say things worked out rather well for us (although I shudder to think what I would do if my daughter would attempt a similar scenario!).We have been blessed with four wonderful children. The oldest, Gianluca, is graduating from the University of Michigan this Spring and we are happy to report, is also fully employed. Our second son Alessandro is a sophomore at the University of Maryland, our third son is a junior in high school, and our daughter is in her second year of middle school. We all still vacation together every year as a family, and very often the kids bring a friend or two along to join us in our travels.Despite all the years that have gone by, there has always been a consistency in our lives accentuated by the simple fact that we are both Italian and have a yearning for the simplicity that we cannot seem to find in our busy lives in the United States. Our lives are similar to those of so many - we both have jobs we love but which bring stresses of decisions; we live in a fast paced city where there never seems to be any time for leisure, compounded by the fact that our activities have multiplied with each of our very active children. Add to this the ever growing traffic of incoming emails, other social media and community obligations and the results are pretty overpowering. To disengage is impossible.With each passing year, and ever increasing financial obligations, it seemed more impossible that we could ever entertain the possibility of owning a home in Italy. The specific location in Italy also presented its own dilemma. Enrico being from Venice, envisioned our home to be in Venice; inasmuch as I had grown to love Venice, dreams of Tuscany still haunted me ever since I studied there as a college student.One day, quite by accident, I stumbled on an article in the New York Times that addressed the benefits of fractional ownership - at the top of their list was the investment opportunity offered by Borgo di Vagli. The article addressed every hesitation that had always proven to be an obstacle when considering purchasing our own property in Italy. How could we handle the expense on our own with other competing priorities? Who would take care of the home while we were away? One by one, the article provided clear answers to questions that seemed so complex. I quickly accessed the weblink they provided and found a portal into my dream. I scoured every inch of the Borgo di Vagli website, not once but countless times - so much so, that it soon became a habit. I visited this website so often that I committed it to memory. For seven years I did nothing but entertain the dream of one day owning my own piece of a much treasured dream that crystallized into Tuscany and Borgo di Vagli. I remember quite vividly the day that Lee Cogher called me. He had obviously noted my “tenured” position on the Borgo di Vagli distribution and had called to ask whether I would be interested in a visit. I can’t explain how befuddled I reacted when Lee called me. I had visited that website so often that Lee and Fulvio had both become celebrities in my mind (and I am happy to report that upon meeting them they met my “celebrity” status).And so, seven years went by. Borgo di Vagli remained a favorite topic of my conversation. Anyone close to me knew that I had fallen in love with this hamlet despite never having had the occasion to visit. This all changed in October 2015. My husband surprised me for my milestone birthday by booking a discovery visit at Borgo. He was astutely aware of how much I loved Tuscany - he had also had the pleasure of my guided tours through the Borgo website. I was beside myself. Once we boarded the plane, however, Enrico started lecturing… reminding me this was only a visit and that this was not going to result in a purchase. Fine. I knew that would be the case but again, a girl could dream.We spent our first starlit night at Borgo enchanted by everything that surrounded us. Stefania couldn’t have been more welcoming and we can both still taste Dina’s impeccable dinner on our palates. Over the next several days we were allowed to roam the hamlet and soak in the quiet to our hearts’ content. Most notably we appreciated that that no one chased after us to discuss purchasing. As the week progressed, to my amazement, I watched my husband fall in love with Borgo di Vagli. My love affair with the website was nothing compared to what we were experiencing. Finally, during one of our last dinners at Borgo, we were invited to sit at the main table, along with several other home owners, Lee and Fulvio. The chemistry at the table was palpable. It was quite incredible to me that all of us, unique in our own respects with regard to language, country of birth and country of residence, had one very critical element in common - an adoration for the simplicity of life we had all found in Tuscany. That dinner will remain for us, one of our fondest memories during our stay - we entered as strangers but departed as friends. Soon thereafter Enrico realized that we could not let this opportunity pass us by and that we had to own our own piece of this dream.We see our purchase of Borgo di Vagli not just as an investment opportunity - it is much deeper than that - it is an investment in a way of life. This will be something that will continue to nurture our souls and restore our physical and mental energies. It is also something that we will lovingly share with our children (and yes, one day our future grandchildren). We will be coming to Borgo di Vagli this July with our entire family and are looking forward to taking advantage of every opportunity to return as often as possible - even just the two of us. We purchased a two bedroom with the added benefit of unlimited space available. We are extremely excited about the added flexibility this will afford us.Borgo di Vagli represents for us a reminder that despite the frenzy of our lives and whatever technological advances push us forward, there is a deep seated human need to return to a simpler existence that brings us back to the basics we ultimately crave and require - the tranquility of rolling hills, the beauty of a mountain landscape, good food, good wine, family and friends. This is a dream that was never meant to be hidden in a drawer.

[ go back ]