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A Philosophy of life
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Melissa Mech & David Cooper, Ottawa Canada

During our latest visit to Borgo di Vagli (BDV) in May, Lee reminded us that we had just marked our fifth anniversary as owners. That news gave us pause to reflect on the past five years and what our purchase of a fractional ownership at BDV has meant in our lives.

At the time of our purchase, we knew that we would be availing ourselves of a beautiful property in the heart of one of Italy’s most scenic and enchanting regions. But it was the unexpected and unadvertised benefits that most surprised us and gave us the value-added dividend we never expected.

First and foremost, we never anticipated the truly wonderful friendships with other owners and the staff that we have made at Borgo di Vagli. Over the five years, we have developed strong relationships with a number of owners, and in fact now make a deliberate and concerted effort to schedule our weeks at BDV at the same time. Together we now enjoy visits to wineries, exploring new towns, and experiencing all the richness of Tuscany and Umbria has to offer.

But our single greatest love and source of enjoyment is long drawn out dinners together in the trattoria while eating Dina and Tiziana’s amazing food, drinking great wine, and concluding with one of their homemade digestifs.

The second group of friends that we have made at Borgo are with the staff themselves. From the reception staff to the gardeners, and the housekeepers, all of them feel like family. From the moment we arrive, we look forward to seeing the familiar faces and people we have grown close to during our various visits. During our stay last fall that happened to coincide with the olive harvest, we joined Dina and the gardeners in the groves and helped with the picking (very meditative) of the olives. But more importantly, it gave us the opportunity to connect with the regular Tuscans in a way we never would as normal tourists.

And who can forget Giuseppe – our “home away from home” Tuscan cat. As we drive in for the first time each trip we anxiously look forward to seeing him, and checking out whether he has grown even fatter from the previous visit. During each of our two week vacations we love playing with him and occasionally allowing him to sleep with us.

One of the other things we have remarked about over the five years is how well Borgo is maintained. Each year we return, the Hamlet looks remarkably well cared for, including a number of upgrades such as the owner’s herb garden, pavement on sections of the white road into Borgo, as well as critical additions such as smoke alarms and an emergency defibrillator.

Finally, we would say that what has surprised us most is how much we have come to love Borgo and how much value it represents in our lives. Borgo has become more than just a vacation destination for us. It represents friendships, a place to truly relax and unwind, and a place to share experiences. Five years in, we can already say that we have a vault full of wonderful memories. We can now look forward to our next five years and beyond.

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Brian Simmons and Betty, Toronto Canada

THE ITALIAN JOB. By Brian and Betty

1. In May of 2015 we attended a conference in Prato and were mesmerised by the food (surprisingly Gluten free), wine, history and culture… and then there were the croissants with Nutella. Upon returning to Canada I researched properties for our next holiday in Medici country. Every website I visited, this “thing” called Borgo Di Vagli popped up (good job Lee). Eventually I opened up the website and fell in love (sorry Betty).

2. We had a short list of possible properties -Buckingham Palace, The Taj Mahal, a 2 bedroom tent on Mt. Everest, but I guess the spectacular views, history, culture and friendliness won our hearts and Borgo was the winner (not to mention the really good wine, Dina’s famous Pizza and of course Lee’s winning smile!!!)

3. The discovery week was essential. Great weather, great views, the incredible helpfulness (nothing is too much trouble) attitude from the staff. Of course then we met Lee… but we still liked the place!! Betty even tried the pool at balmy November arctic temperatures (we are from Canada after all). We both felt that we were home. From Yoga on the pool deck, hiking the trails, visiting the neighbouring towns and cities, to relaxing in and around the hamlet, it was a unique experience. There is a glow and warmth at Borgo that comes from 700 years of history, with the peace and spirit of all that had passed thru the hamlet still present today. (Lee also bought the drinks… lots of them)

4. I was looking for an idea to honour my parents who both past away in the last few years. Owning a property that they would have liked using the monies they left me and to know I can share this with Betty and friends would be their legacy to me. I know that this would make them smile and that I have made a good lifestyle choice. I think they would have even liked Lee (someone has too).

5. The 4 weeks + is more than we could hope for and we intend to come as often as possible. We will be at the Perugia Jazz festival in July with our off days spent at Borgo, and then the sky’s the limit! I get a tingle all over (not now Betty) thinking of the friends I can introduce to the Hamlet.

Last but not least there is Lee. It is rare (all above joking aside) that you meet someone and instantly can call him a friend (even if he does support Fiorentina). His warmth and generosity is unbelievable. He is a perfect fit for Borgo because he embodies the philosophy of the place. Lee is the piece of the puzzle that makes it all work together. Honest, straight forward, and above all patient – which I’m sure is why over 90 owners trust him from all over the world. He compliments the team and they are BORGO.

Thanks Mate.

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Ed and Bryn Pinchin from Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

My husband and I have long been convinced of the advantages of fractional ownership as eight years ago we purchased a unit in Tuckers Point Golf Villas in Bermuda. Fractional Ownership in well run facilities combine adventure and a sense of belonging without the often onerous responsibilities of maintenance. They are an ideal vehicle for those of us lucky enough to be retired and healthy and who have the flexibility to travel. The greeting, “welcome back”, or “welcome home”, never fails to bring a smile of contentment and a sense of belonging upon arrival.

Our association with Tuckers Point has another advantage in the exchange program, The Elite Alliance, with which it (and Borgo) is associated. It was through the Elite Alliance that we first came to Borgo di Vagli in the fall of 2014. We arrived with friends in the middle of a cloudy and rather grey afternoon to be greeted warmly by Stephania. We enjoyed a lunch of bread, cheese and salami with a bottle of wine under the pergola and marvelled at the view of the castle. We hiked up the hill for a few hours and returned to our cozy and delightful apartments. Then, unfortunately we received a call informing us that my husband’s father was gravely ill. After only an afternoon, we had to rush away. We were grateful for the sympathy and help that Daria and Stephania provided especially since our sudden departure meant that our friends were left on their own. In the end, despite a week of rain and wind, they stayed content and cozy and were delighted with Borgo.

Again, through an Elite Alliance exchange we were able to return with the same friends last November and this time spend the entire week exploring Tuscany, which we didn’t know at all, while savouring the charm and unique delights of Borgo. We are based in the south of France for most of the fall and spring so we have the advantage that its pleasures are only a long day’s drive away. By the end of the week, both my husband and I, as well as our friends, had decided to purchase a unit. Did we make a financial or a life style choice in that quick week? Both I think. Having spent our first week here as owners this April, tucked in the sunshine behind the chestnut drying house, watching the spring green maturing the length of the valley to the castle, enjoying the slow progress of the wisteria blossoms over the pergolas, savouring the varied, international conversations in the evenings in the Trattoria, and the exuberant fun of pizza night, exploring the countryside in a few interesting day trips, falling in love with Cortona, we know that being part of Borgo will enrich our lives. However, at the same time we are confident that our investment is conscientiously monitored for the future. We are particularly pleased to have been able to include our adult daughters as owners in our contract. As well, because of the flexibility of the short notice provisions, efficiently and gracefully administered by Stephania, we have already been able to offer a week in Borgo to Canadian friends travelling in Europe. They were delighted by their experience.

Our first week has been peaceful and beautiful. It is the first of two we will spend here each year, fall and spring, We have felt no great desire to spend hours driving and exploring but I am sure that will come. Rather we have read and planned. I am a weaver and next time will bring a small loom to work with. My husband is a sculptor and carried with him a large piece of alabaster to work on during the week. The first step in any new piece is to spend hours considering the stone from all angles, trying to discern what waits inside to be revealed with his chisels. This step can’t be rushed. The process is rather like our commitment to this wonderful, unique place. There is no rush. It will reveal its riches in its own time.

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David Cooper and Melissa Mech – Ottawa, Canada

The “road” to Borgo di Vagli began with several trips to Tuscany. We fell in love with the stunning landscape, quaint towns, friendly people, the food, the wine, and the Italian lifestyle. After seeing an advertisement for Borgo in UK Country Life magazine, we decided to book an inspection visit. We instantly loved Borgo for its history, rustic authenticity, the tranquility and beauty of its natural surroundings, and the staff.
During our inspection visit, we had the opportunity to experience the beauty and magic of Borgo and to appreciate its ideal situation in the region: we took a long hike in the immediate area using one of Borgo’s many hiking maps; we made several daytrips into the surrounding countryside, including visits to the neighbouring towns of Mercatale and Cortona and of course, we had to try the Monday “pizza night” dinner. Our interest was certainly piqued, and to learn more about becoming owners of a one-bedroom unit at Borgo, we met with Lee who walked us through all aspects of the purchase process and patiently answered all our questions.

For us the decision to become owners was a weighty one: did we want to visit the same place again and again? We knew we loved Italy, and Tuscany specifically, but we weren’t certain we wanted to restrict our travel to just one place. In the end, four considerations convinced us that purchasing at Borgo was the right choice for us: First, was the happy realization that there were an infinite number of towns, historical sites and activities to explore within a short radius of Borgo, and if we did want to venture further afield, we would have a good base. Secondly, we liked the familiarity and intimacy of returning to places and friends that we knew and loved. Thirdly, we wanted a home in Tuscany that we could share with our friends and family without being enslaved with maintenance costs and chores, and BVD’s flexible reservation system fulfils that desire. And fourth….the trattoria, where the menus are seasonal, with authentic Tuscan food prepared by Dina and her daughters. The food, service and atmosphere are so exceptional that we often don’t want to go anywhere else for dinner!

The first time we returned as owners this past fall, the question of whether we had made the right decision hung over our heads as we flew across the Atlantic, but all doubts dissipated quickly. We instantly felt at home as soon as we arrived and were greeted with Stefania’s welcoming smile. One of the highlights of our last trip was getting to know many fellow owners while enjoying long, laughter-filled dinners together at the wonderful Trattoria.

Another highlight, for Melissa in particular, who loves to cook, was Dina’s private pasta making course, and the opportunity for her to ‘volunteer’ in the kitchen to learn Dina’s recipes firsthand.

During our fall visit, we had the pleasure of hosting several friends who came and stayed with us. It was a real thrill for us to take them around and show them parts of Tuscany and Umbria that we love, and to explore new places. Needless to say word has gone out about what a special place Borgo is, and this has generated a waiting list of people who want to visit with us! Our goal is to visit Borgo twice a year and to eventually experience Tuscany in all seasons. We are already counting the days until our next visit in the spring. We know that every day will bring happy discoveries and little surprises while we enjoy the comforting and the familiar: the mists rising over the Pierle fortress in the morning, the smell of Dina’s wood oven in the late afternoon, gazing at the Milky Way at bedtime… and hearing the snuffling of the wild boar late at night as they hunt for fallen nuts and figs … An authentic adventure in Tuscany!

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Lawrence and Sandi Thiessen, BC, Canada.

We had been considering a real estate investment in Tuscany for sometime and thought to research the area around Cortona after week’s cooking school last May. During the many hours searching for property on the Internet we auspiciously came across Borgo di Vagli Fractional Ownership Club.
Ownership in a 14th century medieval Hamlet intrigued us both and we agreed this opportunity needed further investigation. We were already excited about the prospect of a “Home in Tuscany” and booked an inspection discovery visit so we could experience the Hamlet, the team’s hospitality and get to know the area whilst making a decision.
Upon arrival, we realized immediately that Borgo was exactly what we were looking for and so our decision was made easy. We purchased the two bedroom residence category in June and returned in mid September and stayed at our “Home in Tuscany” for 4 consecutive weeks. During our stay we enjoyed many activities such as sightseeing, wine-tasting, golfing, and dinning out. One of the highlights of our stay was attending a contemporary music concert in Florence at Palazzo Pitti, arranged by Borgo’s architect and now friend Fulvio Di Rosa.
Borgo di Vagli is ideal for us, it suits our lifestyle, and the beauty of the setting is breathtaking. The hamlet has been authentically restored, the integrity of which has not been compromised, thanks to Fulvio Di Rosa’s keen eye to detail and respect for the rural architecture.
The silence is refreshing. The Hamlet offers owners and their guests an intimate getaway whereas day to day vacationing is as spontaneous with as much adventure as you desire. We have particularly enjoyed meeting other owners from the other parts of North America, the UK, and Norway in the hamlet’s trattoria and also marveled at wildlife sightings of wild boar, silver fox and deer.
The staff is passionate, dedicated and committed to assist and welcoming you. As owners, we feel part of a warm, loving, Italian family. We plan to make Borgo di Vagli our home away from home for many years to come. Oh, and in terms of an investment, we are seriously considering purchasing a second fractional.

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Carlos Ventin, Toronto, Canada.

Carlos is the founder of The Ventin Group, a well knows architectural firm in Toronto, which has become legendary for its restoration of historical and distinctive buildings.
“As a restoration architect, I get inspired when I come to Vagli. Beauty is contagious and I marvel at the quality of Fulvio’s restoration. Fulvio has been successful in stopping the clock – preserving yesterday’s stage for today’s players. And few people will ever get an opportunity to experience the restoration of an entire hamlet. I look forward to my next visit and sharing conversation with Fulvio about the great French architect, Le Corbusier. We both studied under architects who were associates of the French Master, with Fulvio’s being Oscar Niemeyer Brasilia.

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