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A Philosophy of life
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TESTIMONIALS

Michael, Susan and Natalie Farver, Plantation, Florida USA

 

We will never forget the moment we first pulled to a stop in front of the reception office of Borgo di Vagli on a glorious late-afternoon fall day for the beginning of our inspection visit. The valley below us was bathed in brilliant sunshine and shadows, the wind blew gently and I remember reaching across the roof of our car, grasping Susan’s hand and saying, “I think we’re home.” After a kind and loving welcome from the entire staff, we unpacked and settled in. Shortly, we ventured down to the Trattoria for a meal we will always remember. The room was full, and we were welcomed with genuine warmth and engagement by everyone already enjoying dinner. Looking back, I marvel now at how easily, and immediately, we were embraced as part of the Borgo family, even though we didn’t know a soul. That quickly changed as the night wore on, and conversations and connections were made.

Borgo is not for everyone. It is not a place or a destination where every moment is scripted or planned. Just like that first night of our inspection visit, you never know who you will be sharing dinner with in the trattoria on any given night, but I do know that you can be certain they will be interesting, adventurous and enlightening. We have made many life-long friends, including many we met that first night. We have shared laughter, tears and secrets that I know wouldn’t be shared in any other environment. The closeness among owners and guests alike is genuine, real, and incredibly rewarding.

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Greetings, fellow owners and lovers of all things Borgo di Vagli. I was thrilled when Lee asked me to write a bit about our family for the Vagli Echo. Susan and I were one of the first (actually, #10) purchasers of our 1/10th Fractional interest in the Hamlet, back on November 12, 2006. We signed the paperwork a bit before dinner, sitting at the dining room table in Unit #18, less than 20 hours after we had arrived for our inspection trip. Not that I kept notes …

I’ve always been somewhat dismissive of throwing around terms like “destiny” or “fate,” as I’ve always believed that I have some measure of control over my own life, but we both knew, as we stepped from the car on the day before, with complete and absolute certainty that we were exactly where we were supposed to be. It was for us a life-altering moment in ways that we would have never imagined, and now, 11 years later, I am humbled and amazed at the impact that our decision that day has had on each of us.

But why Borgo di Vagli? I’ll share the answer to that question that I gave to another group of dear friends who will be visiting the Hamlet as our guests in a few months. I told them that “Borgo is a chance to step back and experience a simpler time, to embrace a philosophy of life that no longer exists in all of our high-pressure lifestyles. It’s not a resort open to the public; there is no health club, spa, golf course, or over-priced gift shop. What Borgo does have are unique residences with original stone floors, open beam ceilings and slate roofs, surrounded by hills of wild rosemary and lavender, towering woods filled with deer, porcupine, wild boar and foxes, miles of hiking paths, and views of the surrounding mountains and the ruins of the 10th- century Pierle Castle that would put a postcard to shame. It is a magical place. Borgo inspires you and lifts your heart. It touches your soul and changes your life.”

Susan, Natalie and I know that it has changed ours.

Little did we know that back in 2006. We were at the time a family blessed to have been able to travel the world, and although Italy had always held a special place in our hearts, we had visited the country previously in embarrassingly stereotypical tourist style – too much luggage, too big of a car, and an “If today is Tuesday, it must be Lucca” mentality. We originally viewed our investment as an opportunity to find sanctuary, and peace, from the complex, high-pressure and stressful reality of two successful careers that consumed us. Borgo seemed a chance to turn inward – to unwind and breath deep, to languish at a pace that we alone determined. And Borgo does offer that in a unique way, different than any other place we have ever been, before or since.

On the more practical side, although it is a sanctuary in the truest sense of the word, we have found that Borgo’s central location is one of its greatest assets. It is only fifteen kilometres from Cortona; a couple hours away from Chianti, Montalcino and the all best wines and vineyards in Italy; less than two hours to Siena, a two-hour train ride to Rome, or a quick drive to unique and special places like Castiglione del Lago, or the jewel-box walled city of Montrone, the Pecorino cheeses of Pienza or Umbrian gems like Montefalco and Bevagna. The majority of Italy is open to us for exploration, although we have to admit that once settled into Borgo, one’s spirit does not want to leave. It is this unique combination of total seclusion, located right in the center of everything, which makes the hamlet so alluring.

But it is more, so much more than that. The Hamlet now truly is our home in Italy, and the entire staff has, from the moment we stepped out of our rental car in front of Reception in 2006, become our family. Not just our Italian family, but family in the truest sense of the word, whether it’s the awe and magic of meeting and holding, for the first time, Stefania and Daria’s newborn infants this past Easter, or rooting for Simone and “The Pines” in the annual festival and competition in Mercatale. Borgo has given us uncountable life-altering moments that seem to appear out of thin air: Sitting on one of the terraces watching from a wrought iron chair while Susan filled the stillness with laughter, picking olives with Dina as the sun sank over the side of the mountain. Or our daughter Natalie, who made her first trip to the hamlet in a stroller when she was just over two years-old, experiencing snow for the first time in her life, smiling and making snow angels after a sudden afternoon snow squall. Or Dina & Tiziana in the kitchen, lovingly teaching Natalie to roll out pasta and make her 1st pizza dough when she was four. Or standing together in total darkness, watching a full lunar eclipse while sipping Lemoncello with a dozen old, and new, friends after an amazing meal and night of fellowship in I’cche c’é c’é.

Borgo di Vagli is, to our family, comprised of three very distinct elements. First, there is the hamlet itself. The scope of the restoration is stunning and completely true to its roots and origins. Fulvio’s vision, passion for detail and imagination are on full display, and his philosophy of seamlessly blending architecture and environment to create balance and harmony is a joy to experience.

Second is the amazing, kind and loving staff. Our Borgo family has helped raise our daughter, teaching and sharing their lives with her. Thanks to technology, we stay in constant communication, and they share in everything from her piano recitals and theater performances to birthday parties to her latest 7th grade adventures. Everyone is like a surrogate parent to our precious little girl, and she has been enriched beyond measure by their engagement in her life. They are the bedrock of the close community that exists among owners and visitors. In addition to our visits several times a year, we have used the benefits of our fractional ownership to send dozens of dear friends and family to experience the magic themselves, and every single person confirms that they have never been treated with more kindness, respect and consideration, wherever they have traveled, than they receive at Borgo.

Third are the other owners and guests with whom we are privileged to share the unique experience that is Borgo di Vagli. You never know who you will be sharing dinner with in the trattoria on any given night, but you can be certain that they will be interesting, adventurous and enlightening. We have made many life-long friends; have shared laughter, tears and secrets that wouldn’t be shared in any other environment. The closeness is genuine, real, and incredibly rewarding.

One final thought: Borgo is not for everyone. It is not a place to see or be seen, or a destination where every moment is scripted or planned. But for people whose dreams it fulfils, like ours, it is a joy and treasure beyond measure.

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